Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad

by | Appetizers & Tapas, Salads and Veggies

The delicate Orzo pasta lends itself to blend well with a salad of black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh herbs. 

Orzo Black Olive Salad
Orzo Black Olive Salad

What Is Orzo?

Pasta! Orzo is basically pasta, just as couscous is pasta. But the beautiful thing about it, is that it is not a dominant, in your face pasta. 

Most pasta is the center of attention in every pasta dish. Not orzo. It is tiny, like rice, and delicate. It lends itself to be used in so many ways.

Orzo
Orzo

It is just as delicious in a cold salad with lots of other ingredients cut to a similar size, as it is used to stuff inside of tomatoes, peppers and any other dish you might use as a rice stuffing. 

Mediterranean Salad

What is the basis for a Mediterranean salad? Tomatoes and Fresh herbs! Cheeses, other fresh veggies, such as peppers or cucumbers and of course OLIVES!

tomatoes
Tomatoes

For my very authentic Mediterranean salad, I chose sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes for two specific reasons; the flavor of a sun-dried tomato is more intense because the liquid has been dried from it, leaving the taste of the tomato concentrated. The liquid of the tomato can make for a sloppy, runny salad. 

Mediterranean salad is not a huge heap of lettuce with a few other things on top, it is a marriage of many flavors, salty, sweet and always fresh herbs.

Mediterranean salad can be enjoyed alone, as a side or pile a few favorite proteins on top for a one-bowl meal. 

black olives
Black Olives

Black Olives

Why would you want to eat an ‘unripe’ olive over a full flavored, ripe, juicy plump black olive!

Olives are a fruit. Fruit should be fully ripened at its source to obtain the most flavor from them. Olives are no different. 

Black olives are fully ripened olives. Green olives are picked while unripened and the flavor is not yet mature. And no, green olives don’t grow with a pimento inside for your martini. 

Salt brine is what is used to ferment the olives we buy in the store. Much like pickling your own cucumbers, olives need to ‘marinate’ I like to say, rather than ferment, until the flavor has been attained. 

Black olives are one of my favorite ingredients to put into a loaf of bread to be eaten on a tapas spread, along with soups, or a summer salad. Rosemary Olive Bread is a must try loaf of bread to be made at home!

Rosemary olive bread
Rosemary Olive Bread

Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad

With a few simple ingredients, many of which are dry shelf products, this salad can be ready in under 30-minutes. 

Summer grilling is the perfect time to make this salad as a side dish, simply because is doesn’t need to be warmed or kept refrigerated and can sit out for several hours. 

The salty flavor from the feta cheese and brined black olives, paired with the sweet flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes and creamy texture of the pasta is ideal on hot summer days. 

Squid Over Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Squid Over Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Having made a large bowl of orzo olive salad in the winter to place sautéed squid on top of, I had plenty left over to add to a chicken soup the next day, I made from a few chicken thighs. So flavorful. Nothing needed to be added except the orzo salad. 

Ingredients Needed

  • Orzo
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pitted Black olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Olive oil
Ingredients for Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad
Ingredients For Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad

Equipment Needed

  • 4-quart pot
  • Strainer
  • Slotted spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Stovetop or burner

Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad

Recipe by Robin DaumitCourse: Appetizers u0026amp; Tapas, Salads and VeggiesCuisine: Mediterranean
Servings

6

servings

Delicate orzo pasta with black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh herbs.

Ingredients

  • Orzo – 1 cup, dry

  • Butter – 1 tbsp

  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed

  • Water – 2 1/2 cups, boiling

  • Salt – 1 tsp

  • Sun-dried tomatoes – 1/4 cup

  • Pitted Black olives – 1/4 cup

  • Feta cheese – 1/2 cup

  • Fresh parsley – small bundle, chopped

  • Lemon juice and zest – 1 tbsp

  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp

Directions

  • Boil water in a kettle or sauce pan and have it ready.
  • In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt the butter, add the garlic, salt and dry orzo and saute for 1 minute on medium low.
  • Add the boiling water, stir, simmer on medium low, stirring occasionally for 10 – 12 minutes or until done. Strain the cooked orzo running cold water over it to stop the orzo from cooking, drain completely and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, zest and olive oil and toss gently.
  • Add the feta cheese and parsley and toss again, gently. Serve.

Notes

  • Will last in the fridge for several days.
Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad
Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad
 

My Muffin Madness

 

In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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