So I have a thing for pasta salads. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel too guilty eating pasta all the time – since GlutenFree tends to be brown rice, whole grain, or maybe it’s because…they’re awesome! I don’t know. But recently I’ve been experimenting with different types of health salads, and I came across an orzo salad. Now, because my types of pasta are limited to what Whole Foods has on their shelves, they don’t seem to carry orzo. So I’ve substituted fusilli pasta, which my friends tell me actually works better than orzo – so we all win!
This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make, start to finish, with GF pasta, so I only assume it’s less with normal pasta cooking times. There’s been some disagreement about whether it’s better cold or room-temperature, but this salad is definitely best freshly made, although it’s so good I will literally eat it for days straight!
You can use a food processor to cut up all the vegetables, but it tends to taste better with slightly bigger pieces than the processor allows for – but if you’re in a time crunch, just toss all the ingredients in the processor, pulse for a few seconds, and voila! The olives and sun-dried tomatoes give the salad a little salty taste – using the amount in the recipe tends to be just perfect, although I personally like a little more – the tomatoes make me feel like I’m eating bacon-bits!
- 12oz. uncooked fusilli pasta (or rotini works as well)
- 1 yellow, red, and orange bell pepper (chopped)
- 3 ½ oz. diced olives
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- About 10-12 sun-dried tomatoes NOT in olive oil (can soak them to soften if needed)
- 1 cup to ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 3 tbsp. dried, although fresh is much better)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup red onion
Dressing (to taste, but I’ve estimated amounts that work for me to keep from drying out the next day):
- 3 tbsp. olive oil (cold pressed organic is incredibly good for you, the more the better!)
- 2-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Poppy seeds
Mix all ingredients (except dressing and pasta) in one bowl. Cook pasta last and add to remainder of ingredients – add salt to taste. Add liberal amounts of olive oil and vinegar. Put in serving bowl and sprinkle with poppy seeds as garnish.
Note: you can also substitute golden Yukon potatoes (or other small ones) for feta cheese.
Typically I eat vegan, but feta cheese is so crucial to so many recipes, and SO yummy, that I usually convince myself it isn’t cheese 🙂