Greek food? Lately I’ve been obsessed with it. Could it be all those gorgeous tomatoes sitting on the window sill? So today’s Aegean-inspired recipe is a Greek Pasta Salad bearing the last of fall’s tomatoes and cucumbers.
But before I start, I must confess a deep dark secret (shhh). I am a die hard pasta salad hater, one of a tiny minority. I’d sooner eat store bought white bread. Plain.
But since I was thinking Greek, the thought crossed my mind—what if I tried a pasta salad using the Greek pasta orzo? Orzo is small, almost rice-like—and could be engulfed in flavor in the right mix, right?
I mixed a combo of tomato, feta, cucumber, Kalamata olives, plus a homemade Greek salad dressing to liven things up. My tomatoes were orange because the orange tomatoes I had were scarred and going fast.
No orange heirlooms? Feel free to use any tomato you like–or to mix in other ingredients. I forgot to add red onion and was this close to adding julienned spinach. So go wild.
The one crazy thing I did was to add a bit of anchovy paste. The salad seemed to need a little more punch—and the Greek salads I grew up eating had anchovies, so I
unami-ed it up a bit. I was pretty sure I could sneak this in and no one would be the wiser (just happier). If anchovies aren’t your thing, you might achieve the same with a spoonful of miso paste.
Of course this salad did set my mind wandering. Fall is beautiful and I love the harvest. But a friend recently posted Facebook pictures of her vacation (currently in Greece)—and the combo carried my thoughts off to clear blue seas and warm sandy beaches. Perhaps I’ll have to curl up in bed with a nice episode of New Scandinavian Cooking as a counterpoint!
- • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh garlic)
- • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- • juice from 1 large lemon, about 3 tablespoons
- • 1/2 teaspoon salt
- • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (Greek if you have it)
- • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 mashed anchovy fillet (or white miso to taste, or omit)
- • 1/2 cup orzo pasta (whole wheat if you can find it)
- • 2 large tomatoes, cubed and drained (about 2 cups)
- • 1 cup cucumber cubes (about ½ English cucumber or 1 large regular)
- • 4 ounces feta cheese, cubed
- • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. When done drain and rinse to cool.
- Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
- Combine chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and orzo in a salad bowl and toss with dressing. Top with olives and feta.