Warm Orzo and Walnut Salad with Garden Vegetables, Chevre and Herbs

Warm Orzo and Walnut Salad with Garden Vegetables, Chevre and Herbs
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Recipe for Warm Orzo and Walnut Salad with Garden Vegetables, Chevre and Herbs. Rice shaped orzo pasta pairs with vegetables in the Mediterranean style salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup halved small red grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced English (European) cucumber, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, or chèvre, crumbled (plain, or a garlic and herb flavored cheese)
  • additional chopped or whole chives for garnish

Directions

  1. Spray 6 (6 - 8 ounce) ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Have all the measured ingredients at hand when you are ready to prepare the salad.
  2. Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 9 - 10 minutes, or according to package directions, until just tender. Drain well. (If you are cooking the orzo well ahead of time, after Draining toss it with 2 tablespoons additional olive oil, to keep it from sticking, then reheat in a microwave before assembling the salad.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, olive oil, parsley, mint, chives and lemon juice; mix well. Reheat the orzo in microwave if necessary, until it is hot, and add to the other ingredients. Stir and toss to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese.
  4. Divide the orzo salad evenly among the prepared ramekins, packing it tightly. Invert onto individual serving plates, then gently remove ramekins. Garnish with chives as desired. Serve warm.
  5. Makes about 4 1/2 cups salad.
  6. *Note: The salad can also be served cold, or at room temperature. For a simpler presentation, omit the ramekins and spoon the salad onto plates.
  7. Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 270, Fat: 20 g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Protein: 4g, Carbohydrate: 20g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 75 mg, Fiber: 3g

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