Friday, November 13, 2009

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 T extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces orzo
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup diced red onion
4 T minced Italian parsley
2 T red wine vinegar
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped into small 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
3 T capers
2 T chopped sundried tomatoes (1/4-inch pieces)
16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts (1/2-inch pieces)
2 T liquid from marinated artichoke hearts
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 to 5 Romaine lettuce leaves

Preparing the eggplant:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, toss cubed eggplant with the garlic and oil. Spread on sheet pan and place in preheated oven. Roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning.

Preparing the salad:
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and drain. Remove eggplant to a large non-metallic bowl. Add pasta and stir in 1/2 cup of feta while pasta and eggplant are still warm. Set aside to cool while preparing other ingredients.

Add in the rest of the ingredients except the romaine and gently stir to combine, adding remaining feta cheese last. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour and serve on a bed of romaine on a large platter.


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