Monday, July 20, 2009

Cucumber-Orzo Salad

I must say, this was a pretty delicious pasta salad. I love pasta salads with lots of crunchy veggies, so this version definitely had that going for it, and I really liked the tangy-sweet dressing. Joe didn't like this quite as much as I did, but I think it was just a little too "different" for him. He's a pasta salad purist, that one.

I served this as a side dish, so if I were serving it that way again I'd definitely halve the recipe. This made a lot of pasta salad, more than we could eat even as leftovers. It'd be a great dish for a barbecue, though, in which case I'd definitely make the full amount. Feta cheese and/or halved grape tomatoes would make great additions to this salad.

Cucumber-Orzo Salad
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

1 cup dried orzo pasta
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper (I used yellow; it was all I had on hand)

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (I used regular balsamic, which tasted fine)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

2. In a large bowl combine orzo, cucumber, sweet pepper, and red onion. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, lemon peel, salt, and black pepper; add to orzo mixture. Stir gently to combine. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Just before serving, stir in parsley.

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