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Orzo Salad w/ Heirloom Tomatoes & Herbs

2012 October 1
by Mrs. FoodieLawyer

Although it is officially Fall (hooray!) and the first day of October (already?), you may still be able to find heirloom tomatoes at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.  But if you can’t find any, regular tomatoes will still work — heirlooms just taste better, and this recipe is a great way to showcase them, in addition to end-of-summer fresh herbs.  This easy side dish is a fresh and fitting way to appreciate the conclusion of a bountiful growing season before temperatures drop and gardens go dormant.

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Cook the orzo according to the package directions.  If you’re not familiar with it, orzo is pasta that is shaped like big grains of rice.  We used whole wheat orzo and didn’t notice any difference in taste between it and white orzo.  As with most wheat pasta, the texture is a little tougher than white pasta and may require a few extra minutes of cooking time to get it as tender as you like it.

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Drain the pasta, rinse it with cold water and transfer it to a large bowl to cool.

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To make the dressing, whisk together the Sherry wine vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl, then slowly add the olive oil while whisking until well-blended.

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Add a large spoonful of the dressing to the orzo and stir until the pasta is lightly coated.

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Dice the tomatoes, chop the olives and green onions and finely chop the basil, mint and parsley.  Add the veggies and herbs to the bowl with the orzo and toss it all together.  Add more dressing as needed until the salad is dressed to your liking.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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We served the orzo with grilled shrimp for a light summer meal.  Although we won’t miss the 100+ degree temperatures of summer any time soon, we’re sure to crave sweet, garden-fresh tomatoes (and this dish in particular) in the coming winter months.

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