Roasted Vegetable, Feta and Olive Orzo Salad

Every settlement has its own benefits particular to that specific area. However, As Newton’s Third Law of Motion tells us, every object that exerts a force on another object, itself experiences an equal, but opposite, reaction. This quote may appear a little tangential at first, but it is a general law that can be applied to where one is situated. For instance, though one may say that it is a great benefit that Aberystwyth is, to all intents and purposes, relatively isolated from any British metropolis since it means that one may lead a peaceful and stress-free existence, it also ensures that travelling is problematic and that holiday-makers flock to the town in the summer. Still, you must be wondering what on earth this has to do with food – fear not for I am about to make an incredibly important point. As you might imagine, Aberystwyth is surrounded by a rural landscape, most of which is owned by farmers, as a result local food isn’t particularly difficult to come by (except seafood, ironically). This is great, but it means that more interesting and exciting items of food can be extremely difficult to find, the orzo pictured below being just one such example. It is sold nowhere – that particular jar of pasta was purchased just outside of London.

For those of you who have similar problems, orzo is a type of pasta shaped very much like long-grain rice. Indeed, the word ‘orzo’ means ‘barley’ in Italian and, as such, is extremely accurately named. Similar varieties of pasta are used in both Greece and Turkey and are generally found lurking in soups and casseroles – something with which I shall soon experiment. However, since the weather is so frustratingly warm at the moment, it seemed like a jolly good idea to prepare a Greek-themed salad. Fortunately, orzo is extremely light and pleasant to ingest in such uncomfortable conditions, so it worked perfectly.

I anticipate that the smart-arsed among you will read the recipe below and immediately challenge the title given to this recipe; the only vegetable present in this dish is the onion. As it happens, since I too have a smart-arse, I agree. However, it is named as such because most would refer to them as vegetables. Just thought I’d cover my smart-arse.

Roasted Vegetable, Feta and Olive Orzo Salad

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

• 200g orzo

• 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

• 1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped

• 1 small courgette, diced

• 1 small red onion, roughly chopped

• Olive oil

• Salt

• A handful of kalamata olives

• A handful of feta cubes

• The juice of ½ a lemon

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the peppers, courgette and onion in a little olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, until soft and sweet.

2. After 20 minutes, boil the orzo until soft. Drain the pasta and set aside. Once the veg is done tip it into the orzo in the saucepan and mix. Drizzle over the lemon juice and a little olive oil before mixing in half the olives and feta. Serve at any temperature and finish off with a little more olives and cheese.

Cost: The orzo was surprisingly cheap, at 99p for 500g (which will go far). This, added to the fact that this dish doesn’t make use of any outrageously priced ingredients, means that the entire salad can be yours for only £1.60. I think I’d make a cracking salesman.

 

85 thoughts on “Roasted Vegetable, Feta and Olive Orzo Salad

  1. Juls

    I’ve had the same problem obtaining orzo here. Now I make my own with a basic pasta dough, pushing it through a strainer into boiling water to cook – not quite as predictably sized with any regularity though, but a useful technique!

  2. spree

    This is the sort of deliciousness I grew up eating, Nick (my father being Greek.) And still, very little satisfies me in quite the same way as a dish like this. (We throw a little fresh basil and mint over ours too.) Without regard to any laws of physics, this is a very good dish!

  3. Karen

    I love orzo in a nice vegetable salad like this. I think it is a very underused pasta but I never thought about it being hard to find…that’s interesting.

  4. lorrielorrieb

    Oddly we have the same problem with the orzo. I CAN find it from time to time in the “specialty” pasta section next to the quinoa, spelt or gluten free stuff and it usually always costs a lot! What isn’t it just in the bulk section of the grocer next to the rice or whatever?? Is there something we don’t know about orzo? Is it hand rolled in sweat shops by under age workers?? The dish looks wonderful….and well worth the search for the elusive orzo!

  5. baconbiscuit212

    Looks wonderful! I am also surprised that it is not easy to find orzo in Aber. Isn’t there an Italian deli? Or maybe they don’t sell dried pasta . . . or it’s too expensive from them? I never went, I just heard that they opened one . . .

    1. frugalfeeding

      There are two now, but one definitely doesn’t have it and perhaps I didn’t have a proper look in other other – either way it would have been overpriced. It’s funny how you hear of goings on in Aber :D

  6. Promenade Claire

    I think living in a any smaller town has it’s ‘joys’ and getting certain kinds of food certainly presents challenges – fish we have plenty, Orzo I’m certain we will have nil, Love the simplicity of this recipe though !

  7. ournewlifeinthecountry

    I love the look and sound of this. I have had Orzo before but always with a cheesey sauce, so this is one dish I will be making, if I can find some Orzo, it’s ALWAYS a hit and miss affair whether I can get hold of any.

    And I would call them veggies, I make Mediteranean Vegetables as our favourite dish all the time, but if I named it ‘officially’ I guess it would be Mediteranean Fruit and Vegetables!!

    You can’t please all the folk all the time!

    Sue xx

  8. petitedecadence

    that looks delicious!! I think I’ll try it for dinner if I get a chance to buy orzo today (the advantage of living in one the largest cities in the world is you can get pretty much anything you heart desires. That is of course, if you’re prepared to drive an hour and a half in horrible traffic to get it :/ ) Maybe I’ll toss in some beans! orzo e fagiole?

  9. egg me on

    Onions *are* veggies, and I’m not being a smart ass/arse. Looks great. I was just thinking that need more orzo recipes in my arsenal.

  10. Jessica Thompson

    Interesting to read a blog from Britain and to see what types of foods you prepare. This dish is popular in the United States. Orzo is very inexpensive here (as is couscous and Israeli couscous although a little more difficult to find for those in rural areas). I didn’t realize how lucky we are to have it.

  11. theplumpalate

    Mm. So colorful! I forget to buy orzo – have you ever seen a whole-grain version? Also, olives. Why do I allow them to run out and then not replace them? Lovely post, as always.

  12. VogueVegetarian

    I’ve kept this page open on my browser for several days now because I want to remind myself to shop for it. It looks so delish! I’ll have to go grab the stuff tomorrow so I can stop drooling all over my keyboard.

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  17. Tiffany

    Looks scrummy! The weather may have changed for the worse but, if we’re doomed to be sparse on sunshine, we’d better start stocking up on vitamins for Winter….bring on the ‘veg’! ;-D
    I do love Greek-style salads, and I’ll definitely be sourcing the Orzo (as I live near London!)….what a great way to eat a relatively light but satisfying, healthy meal….thanks for all the enticing photos to help motivate me to cook!!!

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