Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Orzo Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil

Last summer, I made a tasty orzo salad, but wished it had been more summery, lamenting the lack of basil and tomatoes. I'm taking my own advice tonight for this main dish salad. If you don't have orzo, another small pasta like small shells or ditalini would also work.

For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
For the salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups fresh yellow corn kernels
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and garlic in a jar.  Cover tightly and shake.  Set aside.

2. To prepare the salad, cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  Spoon half of the dressing over the pasta, tossing to coat, and let cool to room temperature (about half an hour).

3. Add the remaining dressing, the corn, tomatoes, red onion, and basil.  Toss to coat and let stand for 30 minutes. Like the very best summer salads, this one only gets better with a little time, so you can even make it a day in advance.

To round out a summer evening, try homemade vegan goat cheese on a baguette.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (about 1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 312

Tasting Notes:
Exactly as I hoped in terms of fresh summer flavors - sweet raw corn, juicy tomatoes, and vibrant green basil. I would add a touch more dressing for brighter lemon and vinegar flavor, and decrease the red onion to 1/4 cup. Instead of serving the vegan goat cheese on the side, it would be excellent dolloped right on top of the orzo mixture, especially to add a touch of saltiness.  Good as is, but those tweaks would make this salad great.


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