Brown Bag It: Zesty Zucchini & Orzo Salad

I made this pasta salad for the first time a few weeks ago. I suggested a last-minute after-work picnic with some friends on our favorite smack-dab-in-the-city-tiny-island. An hour before I was supposed to leave I remembered that I should actually bring some food and that's how this salad was born.

It was a quick endeavor requiring just a few standard ingredients - zucchini, orzo (tiny rice-shaped pasta), onions, garlic & some cider vinegar. Thankfully it made for the most perfect picnic salad. My friends raved and even my husband who isn't the biggest zucchini fan, gobbled it up and fought me for the last bite.

The thing that's great about this pasta salad is that it actually tastes better the longer it sits out at room temperature (well, within reason, that is). There's no cheese or dairy to get things funky so it makes an idea brown bag lunch.

Zesty Zucchini & Orzo Salad
1 cup orzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 small zucchini or summer squash, quartered & thinly sliced

1 large handful each of fresh basil & parsley, torn

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Cook orzo in a pot of salted water. Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan and add in onion and garlic. Stir around until it's soft and fragrant - about 4 minutes. Add in zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes or so until cooked but still with a bit of bite.

In a large bowl, toss the orzo with the zucchini mixture and fresh herbs. In a small jar, shake up the remaining ingredients and pour over the orzo/zucchini mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serves 4.

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

Jan Halvarson


Treadgold said...

I'm adding this to my healthy lunch menu thanks, sounds delicious!

O. said...

looks great and i'm going to have to give it a shot

Ann said...

mmm, this sounds right up my alley - thanks for the recipe.

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag said...

Lovely and light! Can't wait to try!

Bijoux said...

Love this orzo salad...and picnics!

shopgirl said...

I love the take on this recipe. Thanks Jan!