Sunday, April 26, 2009


You might think that I'm jumping the gun as we are barely into Spring and I'm posting a summer salad but here in South Florida, we only have two seasons: A nine month Summer and three months of a season that can only be described as Not Summer. Temperatures here are in the high 80s and tip-toeing into the 90s.

This salad is a family favorite and both of my daughters request it when they are home. Daughter #1 recently called me for the recipe so she could take it to a carry-in luncheon at work. We had a little problem because I never measure anything and do most things by taste. She isn't crazy about cooking and prefers precise direction. She didn't get precise directions but guess what! Her salad was a hit anyway. I knew it would be.

This salad is refreshing in warm weather and perfect for potluck gatherings because there is no mayonnaise and it can sit out without fear of sending party guests home with food poisoning. Remember that my measurements are not exact and in fact, I will substitute ingredients depending upon what's available or on sale at the time.

Please note the cutting board. It is a prized possession made for me by MHS.


1 lb box orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 small red pepper chopped (I have substituted quartered grape tomatoes and it was great)
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
I also like to use an English cucumber. No seeding or peeling required.
1/2 red onion chopped
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
rice wine vinegar to taste (of course you can use the vinegar of your choice but I prefer rice wine for this dish.)
extra virgin olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
8 large leaves of basil rolled and cut into strips (chiffenade)

Cook orzo according to instructions. Be sure not to overcook. You want the pasta to be al dente. Drain and cool.

While water is coming to boil and pasta is cooking, chop the vegetables. You can see by the picture that I try to keep the pieces small to match the orzo. The size doesn't change the flavor but makes the texture of the salad more consistent.

Combine the pasta and the vegetables. Add the cubed mozzarella cheese and the basil. Add the basil last as it bruises easily. You can combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together in a bowl to get the flavor you want before adding or wing it like I do and just add each ingredient directly to the salad. I've never screwed it up so badly that we didn't eat it. :-)

Try it. I think you'll like it.

And as my grandmother used to say, "If you like it, tell others. If not, tell me!"


steppinthru said...

Looks wonderful! I love pasta salads and this one has all my favorites. Rice Wine Vinegar is my new kitchen staple. I hadn't tried it until a friend made a salad with it and I am now loving it. Thanks for the recipe.

Sharkbytes said...

I may have to try this. I have a half box of orzo in the cupboard! You made me hungry.

Wunderwoman said...

Can you just cook it and send me some? I hate cooking! LOL

only a movie said...

Yummy. I'm making this one.

Beth said...

This sounds amazing! I love summer foods. I just wish they didn't love my rear end so much.

Jan said...

Oh. My. Gawd.

Now I want it for breakfast (here I am, starving). But, since I have everything for it in my kitchen, I do believe I'll be having me some Orzo Summer Salad for dinner tonight. The Young One won't touch it with a 10-foot pole - rotten picky eater - but he can have a damn corny dog.

JOE TODD said...

Made me hungry this am.. Thanks for the Bella award. I passed it on to Sharkbytes and I see she has visited your blog.Will be checking out who she passed it onto.Thanks for the addition to my recipe box

Just MeMe said...

This looks yummy!!!

Living in South Florida also, I know those seasons first hand.

I am glad you didn't mention the other season that we have...hurricane season....oh crap, now I mentioned it.

Oh well. I am def going to try this recipe. Thanks.

Dee-Zigns Handcrafted Jewelry said...

This sounds yummy and right up my alley! Thanks for the recipe, I will be making it.
P.S. Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked Perpetualkids.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Looks great! One that both Hubby and I will enjoy I'm sure. I generally have all the ingredients at hand, except for the orzo which I will have to get. THANKS!

The Blue Ridge Gal

Linda said...

I'm with Daughter #1; not into cooking but this looks like something I can do and not screw up too bad:) I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks!
BTW: IMO it's never too early for summer salad.

goodbadandugly2 said...

That salad looks AMAZING. I am starving just staring at it!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love orzo salad, and now I have a recipe. Thanks SMB! Your photos are making me hungry.

Gaston Studio said...

I LOVE summer salads! My daughter, who does most of the cooking for us, has a cookbook on salads alone and we've gone thru our favorites a couple of times. Will give her this one for sure. Thanks!

Auntie, aka Dog Girl said...

Hey girl,
What a great non-meat dish to enjoy this week...remember our diet? *wink*
TutTut unfortunately tweeted something about Prime Rib and I almost fainted.

midlifeslices said...

HBL will love this salad.......when we finally get to come visit you. *wink*

thyme said...

Blogger is eating my comments!

It must have grown hungry seeing your salad.

Michel said...

OMG now I'm seriously sad I am not in america!

Tricia said...

Yum! Yum! Yum! I love summer salads and since we've apparently skipped spring and headed right into hot weather, this sounds perfect.

Mrs. K said...

This looked so good I went out and bought the ingredients to make this salad on Wednesday. :) Let's hope I remember to make it!

And I didn't know you were my neighbor! I live in PB County...from your site meter you can tell from where! :)

Erin @ T5M said...

This looks great! My mouth is literally watering!!


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I can already tell, I'm going to LOVE this salad. I will make this the next time we have a family gathering. This is the sort of salad my family would love. New thing! I can't wait to try it!!
NOT waiting for family. Going to make this on the weekend. YUM!
It's been over a hundred here already but now back to normal..but it will decend on us shortly ..with a vengence! Thanks for the recipe!! Something new and different is always SO welcome!

By the way...hardly ANY of my links worked and I followed the wasn't the directions. For some reason I get the addresses wrong even though I go directly to that blog address thingy. Dang, learning all of this is such a PAIN!!

♥ Braja said...

Right, that's it: I'm officially following you cos you did a salad with no meat in it!! :))) Although,'s post? I'm pretending I didn't hear your sexting....


Debra said...

Looks wonderful! I will definitely be trying this! Thanks for sharing!

A Cheap Chick said...

YUM! Living in Hell (Phoenix), I'm ready for summer food too. This looks awesome!