This is quite possibly one of the easiest BBQ sides I have ever put together. I knew a few things: I wanted grilled vegetables, and I didn’t want them on a salad, and I didn’t want them plain. While I love grilled vegetables plain I wanted to spice it up. When you put grilled vegetables on a big salad they all sink to the bottom and end up making the lettuce soggy. While a grilled vegetable salad can be plated nicely individually, it’s not as successful as a big dish.
This salad was also met with rave reviews; it’s been awhile since I had such a rush of requests for a recipe. A few other great things about this recipe: it can be made ahead, and I can attest to this because I ate every last bit of the leftovers. It can also be eaten warm or cold (versatility at its finest). It’s a GREAT summer salad because there is no mayo in it or anything to get all nasty when you leave it out in the sun while you are distracted playing bags (I know I’m not the only one). You can feel completely safe about eating round two hours after this salad has been sitting out. Feta cheese is one of those great cheeses that never really melts and never gets the greasy sweat that other cheeses sometimes do. Perfect for something like this.
By far- the best part of this recipe is how damn easy it is. Cook some orzo, skewer some vegetables, and crumble some feta…delicious amazing salad complete.
Grilled Vegetable and Orzo salad
1 cup orzo pasta, cooked and drained
¾ to 1 cup block feta cheese, crumbled
1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow squash, cubed
10 asparagus spears
15 (or so) cherry tomatoes
1 medium Vidalia (or sweet) onion chopped in large pieces.
Salt and pepper
Skewer the zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, and onion. Skewer only one kind of vegetable together. The onions will take a little longer, and the tomatoes will take the least amount of time which is why I keep like vegetables together. For the asparagus, prepare a foil packet for the grill and toss the asparagus with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before sealing up. Drizzle the skewers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a healthy grind of pepper. Over medium heat grill each of the skewers until each of the vegetables has a nice light char. Onions first; asparagus, zucchini, and squash at the same time, and tomatoes a quick turn last. While the vegetables cook (or before) cook the orzo according the the directions on the box.
In a large bowl top the orzo with the vegetables and the feta cheese and toss.
Add a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper (no salt is necessary, the cheese has plenty) and serve.
A few notes:
You could use any kind of vegetable here. Bell peppers would be lovely (if I liked them) along with eggplant, or any other vegetable (I can’t think of any other vegetables you grill, but maybe you can).
I love grilled (or roasted) tomatoes, but this salad could also be served with them fresh.
I highly recommend trying this as is first, but a bit of fresh basil, or other fresh herbs, would be wonderful.