Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garden Orzo Salad with Herb Dressing

After our long vacation of eating out nightly, we decided that this week we'd eat a little lighter. I think while we were away we gained about 5 pounds from all the yummy food, so I'm sure our waistlines will thank us for taking it easy this week.

I saw this recipe on the food network show Rescue Chef on Sunday morning and decided it would be perfect. On the show, it was slotted as a side dish, but it more than filled us as a main course. You could probably even add some chicken to it if you want to make it a little more filling. I wanted something quick and relatively free of mess, so I stayed away from the chicken option.

Garden Orzo Salad with Herb Dressing
adapted from Food Network chef Danny Boome

NOTE - I halved the entire recipe because it said it served 20 on the website. The amount I ended up with will be more than enough for the two of us to eat for three nights.

For the herb dressing:
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 oranges, zested and juiced 1 tbsp orange juice, no pulp
1 cup cider white wine vinegar
2 cups 1 tbsp fresh parsley dried cilantro leaves
2 cups 1 tbsp fresh basil dried basil leaves
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the salad:
4 cups orzo
Salt, for water
5 ears corn, kernels removed
5 stalks celery, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 pints cherry tomatoes

In a food processor add lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, cider vinegar, parsley, basil. Turn on the processor and slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is blended together. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To a large mixing bowl add the raw corn kernels (I cooked my corn - on the cob - before I added it to the salad at the recc of some of those who commented on the original recipe posted on food network's website), diced celery, seeded and diced cucumber and whole cherry tomatoes.

Once orzo is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water; drain well. Add cooled orzo to bowl and toss. Add dressing to salad and toss again. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.

I thought the salad was very good, but was a little worried about the dressing. Many people commented on the original recipe that it was too tart. When I tasted it after mixing it up, they were right. After it was added to the salad, however, some of the tartness went away, countered by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the corn. The amount of dressing the recipe makes is more than enough. I would add about 1/4 of what you made and taste it to be sure before adding more. You can always offer the rest on the side in case your guests want to add more. All in all, this was a super simple and refreshing salad. I will take this over your regular lettuce, tomato and cucumber any day!


  1. What a delicious salad, I love orzo, and hasn't been making it for quite sometimes. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I love the use of the herb dressing to impart flavor on the orzo - looks fantastic!