Fresh Orzo Pasta Side Dish!

I love the flexibility of orzo pasta, but my favorite version still remains Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Capture the Coast. I make it different almost every time depending on the crowd and how well I know them. Earlier this month I made it for my sister’s baby shower, but opted to leave out a few items since I knew one guest was allergic to nuts and not everyone (including myself) cares for olives or raisins. The salad still tasted amazing even though I usually like to include the pine nuts! It’s a nice, fresh side that I’ve received compliments on at every event I served it at! Feel free to try it out and mix and match ingredients yourself!


Mediterranean Orzo Salad

¼ cup good-quality olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ cup sugar

2 cups orzo

½ cup golden raisins

6 tablespoons finely chopped pitted black olives (optional)

6 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion

½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil

4 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the sugar in a small bowl. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.

Place the pine nuts in a dry small skillet. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until evenly toasted, shaking the skillet constantly.

Combine the pasta and dressing in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add the pine nuts, raisins, olives, shallots and basil and mix well. Add the cheese and toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper.

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