Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Use Your Zucchini (or other summer squash) in a Mediterranean Orzo Salad

You probably are wondering what to do with your surplus summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, and/or spaghetti squash).

For zucchini, you can grate the squash, freeze in baggies by the right amount for zucchini bread and have zucchini bread year round (or add to soups/pancakes/cookies/etc., saute as a side dish, put in lasagna, and much more.

For a side dish, you can grate (or chop) any summer squash, saute it in garlic and olive oil, and top it with some freshly grated Romano cheese (or parmasiano reggiano) and a little salt and pepper.

TIP:  Small to medium sized zucchinis are the most tasty. The larger ones are still ok to eat, but have larger seeds, and are usually best for making zucchini bread or grating and putting in things (like lasagna, pancakes, cookies, muffins, etc.).

Here's the recipe for the Orzo, Cous Cous, or Quinoa Salad:

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Serves 6

2 1/4 cups orzo (cous cous and quinoa work as well)
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
15 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, seeded and cubed
1 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and chopped

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)

Prepare orzo (cous cous or quinoa) according to package directions. Drain and rinse orzo under cold water to stop cooking process and keep the pasta from being too sticky. Drain again very thoroughly. (No need to rinse & drain cous cous or quinoa.)

Place in a large bowl. Stir in the zucchini, olives, green onions, celery, tomato, and green bell pepper. In a small bowl, beat together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to coat well. Sprinkle on the feta cheese and toss again. Optionally, add the mayonnaise and toss gently. Chill at least for 2 hours and bring to room temperature before serving.

Per Serving: 546 Calories; 30g Fat; 14g Protein; 57g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 28mg Cholesterol; 553mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 5 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates. Points: 15

SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve with a simple caprese salad: sliced ripe tomatoes, layered with fresh basil leaves, sliced mozzarella and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Fresh ground pepper over the top finishes it beautifully.

Adapted from:
Leanne Ely, Saving Dinner Newsletter

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