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Orzo & Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives & Oregano

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Serves four to six as a side dish or two to three as a vegetarian main dish.

  • by Pamela Anderson from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. orzo (1-1/4 cups)
  • Vegetable oil for the grill
  • 2 small Italian eggplants (about 3/4 lb. total), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, quartered, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into small dice (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (2-1/2 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano

In a 4-qt. saucepan, bring about 2 qt. water and 1 Tbs. salt to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 8 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain but don’t rinse the pasta and pour it onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool evenly and quickly.

Heat a gas grill with all burners on high. Clean and oil the grate. Toss the eggplant and bell pepper with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Lay the vegetables on the grill and cook, with the grill covered, turning once, until cooked through and grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly and then cut them into small dice.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the vinegar with the mustard and a generous pinch of salt. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil.

When ready to serve, combine the orzo, grilled vegetables, onion, feta, olives, and oregano in a medium bowl. Pour on the dressing, toss well, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 380; Fat (g): 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 36; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 450; Cholesterol (mg): 10; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love this salad! Make it the day before to let the flavours meld. We will sometimes add heirloom cherry tomatoes for some additional colour and flavour, not that this dish lacks either! This dish is a crowd pleaser, we cooked it this evening for 207 people, many came back for seconds!

This is now my new favorite pasta salad recipe! I loved the texture of the eggplant and flavor of the red peppers and olives combined. This was exceptional, both on the day it was made and as leftovers the next day. Can't wait to bring it to my next BBQ.

This turned out really well. It comes together fairly quickly and doesn't require too much prep work. It's perfect for a hot summer day and makes an excellent addition to any buffet. I used graffiti eggplant as Italian wasn't available. Wonderful flavors!

Served this while camping with 18 people, it was a hit with everyone!!

This is a little different and REALLY good! It was even good on the second day.

Fantastic side dish for a summer barbeque! I added fresh mint- was delicious.

It is a great recipe and so tasty. You can also make it a day ahead, maybe just add a little bit olive oil the next day. Great salad as side dish for bbq days.

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