This salad was inspired by one I saw Giada De Laurentiis do on Food Network. She, of course, used large shavings of Parmesan and some fancy-schmancy vinegar I'd never heard of.
That's OK, I've made this so many times now, I'm sure it doesn't resemble her recipe any more, I still like to say I got it from Giada though, sorta sounds impressive... At any rate, it's a refreshing summer lunch salad and a great way to use up tomatoes and zucchini; feel free to add whatever sounds good, it's so easy to throw together!!
Summer Orzo and Vegetable Salad
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Sherry (or White Wine) Vinegar
- 1 Shallot, chopped (or 2 Tbsp. white onion, chopped)
- 1 clove Garlic, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Mint
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Lots of fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 (or three or four!!) medium zucchini (or yellow summer squash), diced into small (1/4-inch) pieces
- 1 cup drained, rinsed chick-peas/garbanzos, canned or cooked from dry
- 1 1/2 cups dry orzo, cooked as directed and drained well
- 1 container (or 1 1/2 cups) tiny grape tomatoes, halved or quartered (if you have the time and patience)
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced, rinsed (or diced small, the rings just look really pretty)
- (optional, but yummy!) 1/4 cup coarsely chopped (pitted, obviously) kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup finely minced FRESH Italian flat-leaf parsley, or parsley and basil or whatever you have...
- (optional) toasted pine nuts
For the Vinaigrette: Puree ingredients and set aside.
For the Salad: Place the orzo, garbanzo beans, zucchini, tomato, red onion, olives and parsley in a large salad bowl.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and more chopped parsley if desired. Chill and serve.
This keeps well for several days in the fridge, if you can manage to stay out of it!