Lemony Orzo Salad

I am always afraid that mayonnaise-based summer pasta and potato salads will spoil when left out during summer barbecues. After taking a Food Safety course at the Nanny Institute I probably won’t be using mayonnaise for picnics and school lunches ever again. So, I tried to make an olive oil based summer salad instead. Here is how I made this lemony orzo salad that I served chilled and is also safe to eat at room temperature.

You Will Need:

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound (2 1/2 cups) orzo
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 shallot, diced
1/2 cup green or black olives, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup red and yellow bell peppers, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

What to Do:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring until golden for 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add 4 cups water and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until the orzo is al dente and liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes (if orzo is cooked but liquid remains, cook uncovered to evaporate).

4. Remove from heat. Stir in the olives, red pepper, shallots, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and lemon juice. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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