If you thought pasta salad was kind of boring, think again. This one is really good. I will be making this in future any time I’m called upon to take a side dish to a potluck or party.
Although I haven’t used my grill for a couple of months, I do like to use it year-round, not just when the weather is warmer. It’s never really cold here, so we don’t have to scrape the snow off it, although I’m sure that wouldn’t stop me if I lived in a colder climate.
There’s something really satisfying about grillling, not just the unique flavor of the food, but the ‘back to basics’ feel of cooking your food over an open flame, outside. We probably all have it in our genes from many generations back when most foods were cooked that way.
I got the recipe from a wonderful Light and Healthy magazine from America’s Test Kitchen, which is out now and has lots of classic recipes lightened-up. The testing team have put a lot of thought into the flavor of the dish and how to get the best results and it really shows.
You could serve it as a main meal on its own or with grilled meat. Or to make it even lighter, you could omit the feta cheese as the veggies and dressing stand up to being eaten on their own and still taste great.
This has, with cheese, 390 calories per serving, 15g of fat of which 4g is saturated, 15 mg cholesterol, 12g protein per serving and 53g of carbs. 4g fiber and 40mg of sodium.
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (around 12-15 leaves)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (optional, I preferred not to use onion)
1 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
2 zucchini (courgettes), halved lenthwise
1 cup (4oz, 113g) orzo
1/2 cup (2 oz, 56g) feta cheese, crumbled.
Heat your grill to a medium heat. Brush the vegetables lightly with oil and grill for around 20 mins, until lightly charred and tender.
Cook the orzo according to instructions. In my case, I boiled 4 quarts of slightly salted water, added the orzo and boiled for 8-10 minutes until tender.
While the veggies are grilling and the orzo is boiling, make the dressing. Whisk the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and salt and pepper in a jug.
When the orzo is cooked, drain and cool slightly, then pour over the dressing. Add the chopped basil.
When the veggies are grilled, cool slightly then chop into small pieces and mix with the rest of the salad. Serve warm or chilled.