Orzo & Vegetable Summer Salad

Hey, y’all.  I’m sorry but I’m over here grumbling about the sheer stupidity of people and this situation called the ‘rona virus.  I can’t go into details because the person I’m irritated with is supposed to be a friend.  And, frankly, I’m tired of all this shut-in business.  I don’t want to watch anymore animal or little kid videos.  Not even baby goats and y’all know, I’m a fool for a baby goat video.  My hair’s a mess.  I took to cutting my own bangs the other night and now I look like some little Asian girl with these bangs except I’m not cute.  And my nails… oh, Lord!  I feel like I’m sportin’ the remnants of my last manicure from winter of ’72 and I’m here to tell you, it’s NOT a good look for me an’ my farmer hands.  I worked out this morning so that’s good but I can’t tell you what day it is.  I’m sick and tired of pajamas and work out outfits.  I told my bestie, Andrea, I look like a man.  A tired, beat down, squinty eyed, old man.  I miss my girlfriends and our shopping trips.  I really miss our girl’s weekends.  Like Goldie Hawn hollered at the end of her rant in “Private Benjamin”, “… I want to wear sandals.  I want to go to lunch!”  But, clearly, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon so I guess we all need to take a collective deep breath, slap a smile on our unwashed faces and make the best of of this life intermission.  So put down whatever weapon you’re slinging and hang tough.  Meantime, here’s a quick little recipe for a pasta salad that calls for ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.  I typically keep these ingredients on hand because these are some of my pantry staples.  Pretty much everything in this recipe can be swapped out and substituted with another component.  Use any shape pasta you like or have on hand but I try to stay with a small shape keeping with the bite-size dimensions of the vegetables.  But, listen, if all you have is spaghetti, simply break it up into small pieces prior to cooking.  Green olives, even cocktail olives, may be used in place of Greek or Kalamata olives.  Bell pepper chunks, bottled roasted peppers or thinly sliced fresh fennel are fine if there are no cucumbers and if you are without parsley, well, this is the perfect time to chop up that baby spinach or mint leaves.  I love the little cans of garbanzo beans and usually have those on hand but any canned bean, rinsed and drained, is delicious.  All fresh onions are fine, from scallions to Vidalias,  I simply happen to feel red onion is pretty and I had it on hand.  Either sheep feta cheese or goat cheese works, as well as does finely shredded parmesan cheese.  I’ve sprinkled all kinds of vinegar over this salad, even fresh lemon juice, and they’re all delicious.  If all I have is balsamic vinegar, I thin it with a tiny bit of water.  This is the time to be creative and do whatever the heck it is you feel like doing in the kitchen.  Trust me, it’ll keep you out of a regulation, orange jumpsuit the federal penitentiary system would like to assign you.  Stay safe.

Orzo & Vegetable Summer Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound orzo or other pasta shape, cooked according to package directions and maintained warm
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 7.75-ounce can garbanzo beans or other beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 mini cucumbers or 2 regular cucumbers
  • 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley or other green, washed, dried and leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted Greek olives or other olive but pitted
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 1 cup hand crumbled sheep feta or goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook orzo in well salted water according to package directions.  Drain well and transfer to large mixing bowl.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over pasta and stir well until pasta is coated with oil.
  2. Cut tomatoes horizontally and add to pasta bowl along with garbanzo beans.
  3. Cut cucumbers into bitesize pieces and, with parsley, add to pasta mixture.
  4. Roughly chop olives and add them with all the remaining ingredients to pasta.
  5. Toss well and serve.

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