Saturday, July 11, 2015

Orzo salad for a summer lunch

By VICTORIA ABBOTT aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini

We are in love with orzo in all its forms. This little gem looks like rice and behaves like pasta. It’s small enough to let pasta sauce or cheese cling to every little morsel. What’s more, everyone in our family seems to love it no matter what we do to it. 

Then last week due to a miscalculation, we ended up with nearly four cups of leftover orzo.  No doubt this is how the first pasta salad recipe came about.   We had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

This is what we did:


3 ½ cups orzo, cooked and cooled (another way of saying leftover)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 green onions, finely sliced (plus one for decorating the top)
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise (or half mayo and half sour cream)
1 ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped
S & P to taste, but feta is salty so take that into consideration
Optional: ¼ cup crumbled feta
Optional – 1 cup of cooked, cubed chicken

The tomato and the green onion add a nice punch of color. 


If no leftover orzo, cook orzo in boiling salted water about 8 minutes. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil and pepper.  Set aside.

Make the dressing by combining oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper. Shake together in a jar until creamy. 

Toss orzo with peppers, tomato, green onions, and dressing.  Add feta and chicken if using and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour for the best flavor. 

This will make a great lunch by itself, although we put it on a bed of lettuce.
In case you are wondering, that’s a SALAD plate. It does look like we’re feeding gorillas, but someone,
and we will not name him, was hungry,

This salad is great left over too and tastes even better when the flavors marry. 


That shadowy body known as Victoria Abbott is actually artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother Mary Jane.  Together they write the book collector mysteries.  They are very happy to announce that THE MARSH MADNESS, the fourth in the series, is now available for pre-order by clicking the links below or through your favorite source of books!


Or  Pre-order Kindle

They'd love it if you would friend them on Facebook where there's a lot going on.

Friend Mary Jane

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  1. This salad sounds delicious! I like orzo in soup, but couldn't tell if it was pasta or plump rice. I'm guessing it's pasta. I have your latest book pre-ordered. The cover art is gorgeous! I know the writing is great.

  2. Thanks so much, Nancy. It's a rice-shaped pasta and because it's so small it captures a lot of whatever delicious sauce or dressing is added. We love it.

    We're so glad you pre-ordered the book That makes our hearts sing! XOXO

  3. Necessity is the mother of invention.
    Add cooks to the equation and you get yummy treats!

    Looking forward to Marsh Madness.

    1. Thanks so much, Libby! I think some of our favorite foods came about because of either a surplus of one ingredient or a substitution,.


  4. Do you think, since I can't have pasta, that I could substitute with rice?? Orzo is so beautiful! So is your salad.


    1. Rice makes a great salad, Daryl! I can't eat much of it, but would love to. I think you could use the same ingredients. Thanks!


  5. Ah, summer! That looks so bright and cheerful. Hmm, what have I got in the fridge...?

  6. That's the fun of it, Sheila, Although we can also find 'science projects' in the fridge.