Guest Blog x Xia
Are you a “go by the recipe” kind of person or do you like to wing it when you cook? I’m definitely the latter which is why it’s so hard to share recipes. Y’all have been hitting my mom up for the orzo pasta salad recipe I made a few weeks ago. It’s taken me a minute to get that for you because the truth is, there really wasn’t one to share. It’s kind of a kitchen sink recipe – I just throw in whatever fresh ingredients are in the fridge and hope that it tastes good LOL.
But you asked for it, and what kind of influencer would my mom be if she didn’t convince me to share? So here’s just one of the many variations you can do with this recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 box of Orzo Pasta (can use any pasta you’d like, but I prefer Orzo for the rice shape)
- 1 Red Onion
- 2 Lemons
- Handful of Parsley
- Handful of Cilantro
- 3⁄4 Red Bell pepper
- 1⁄4 cup Feta cheese
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup Olive oil
- Pinch of Salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. Garlic salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. Onion salt
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Any other desired seasonings
Optional Add-ins when Serving:
- Chopped Spinach
- Baby Tomatoes
Now for the steps of how I actually make this dish:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. When water is at a boil, salt the water, add the pasta, and let it boil for at least 7 minutes. At this step you can also squeeze lemon juice from 1 lemon into the boiling water. This is optional, but I find it gives the pasta a nice citrus taste.
- While the pasta is boiling, begin the chopping of your fresh ingredients. I prefer to finely chop about a 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 of an onion. It really just depends on how onion-y you want it to taste. I prefer more onion, but my mom prefers less, so I think about 1⁄4 of the onion is a good place to start. I also finely chop about 3⁄4 of a red-bell pepper. Honestly any bell pepper would work, it just depends on your preference or what you have available. I also finely chop a handful of parsley and cilantro.
- At this point the pasta should be done, and what I do next might seem weird but just bear with me. I strain the pasta and then run it under cold water to stop them from cooking more, as well as to make it easier to work with. Add pasta to a large bowl and stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to further cool the pasta. I don’t know if this does anything, but since I’m making a pasta salad, I want the pasta and ingredients to be cold when I’m combining them.
- Pro Tip: This step is also optional, but while I wait for the pasta to cool, I clean up anything that I can clean up to that point. My mommy taught me right!
- Once I’m done cleaning I take the pasta out of the freezer and I add olive oil to the pasta. I have never measured exactly how much I use, but if I had to guess, it probably be about a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of oil. Next, I season with a lot of pepper, a pinch of salt, garlic powder and onion powder. The garlic and onion salt is a must for me, but honestly season it however you like. I always add a ton of different seasonings, all from Trader Joe’s, so if you have any of those you like, definitely add them!
- Once I’m done seasoning, I add my fresh chopped ingredients and mix together. This is where I begin to taste and see if my pasta needs anything more. I also add another whole lemon’s juice into the pasta at this step, so I can have even more citrus taste.
- After everything is combined I taste again, and once everything tastes yummy, I add my feta. Again I never measure LOL but I use about a 1⁄4 cup of this as well. I then add some red pepper flakes, give it a final mix, and it’s done!
- The final step is to put a lid on the bowl and stick it in the fridge, until you’re ready to eat it!
I find that this is an easy and quick lunch, that’ll last a whole work week for lunch, and I can just put some aside for myself in a container before work, and voila stress-free lunch! I want to also note that this is a very low effort pasta, so have fun with it and add more ingredients that you find delicious! For example, since I make the base recipe in advance, it’s easy to jazz it up and reinvent it each day. Last week my mom added baby tomatoes, chopped spinach and avocado. Olives are another yummy addition! I wouldn’t add these ingredients until you’re ready to eat it as they probably won’t keep well in the fridge.
Don’t forget to tag @thetennillelife_ in your pasta pics, so I can see what you come up with!