Greek orzo salad for your next picnic

Pasta salads are a summer staple, but can become boring with white flour pasta and store-bought dressings. If you’re looking for something a little healthier this year, try using orzo. Orzo looks like a grain, but is actually pasta shaped like a grain. It can be made out of white flour, whole wheat flour or even rice flour.  Whole wheat flour digests slower than white flour and causes less of a spike in blood sugar. Whole wheat is also good for heart health.

Making a homemade dressing instead of buying one from the store means you know you’re getting healthy oils and quality ingredients. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory, while some other oils included in many store-bought dressings are not nearly as beneficial. Lutein from grape tomatoes in this recipe helps keep healthy function in eyes, and the vitamin C helps support immune function.  Zucchini also supports eye health and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Bringing down inflammation with healthy oils, garlic and vegetables can help reduce neck and back pain.

Take this orzo salad on a picnic or bring it to a potluck and you’ll get rave reviews.

Greek orzo salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of pressed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Greek Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme

Directions

Prepare orzo according to package instructions and let cool. In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic and mustard together. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired.

Add remaining ingredients and cooled orzo to bowl and mix. Cover and put in the refrigerator to let the flavors combine for at least an hour. Enjoy!

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