This salad became a fast favorite when I dug into the first batch a couple of years ago, and it remains a fave – especially this time of year when tomatoes are in season, sweet onions are plentiful, and the garden overflows with basil and mint.
Protein-rich chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and hearty orzo pasta provide the basis for this delicious meal-in-a-bowl. Sprinkle in fresh halved cherry tomatoes, sweet onion, chopped mint and basil, then dress with a lemon vinaigrette and you’ve got a simple – and simply winning – salad.
(Wow. The word “winning” just really doesn’t work anymore, does it? Thanks a lot, Charlie!)
This recipe is another from the archives of my previous blog.
Monday, August 16, 2010
It’s frickin’ hot here in Seattle right now. I know that for some, temps into the mid-90s is small potatoes. But for us tender Pacific Northwest folk, 95 is nothing to sneeze at. Especially because most of us around here don’t have air conditioning in our homes (I got two hours of restless sleep last night! Sigh.)
But I’m not complaining! Really! After all, our summers are short-lived (this year in particular, summer didn’t arrive until about a month ago), and our tomatoes and basil are loving it.
It’s just, you know, really hot. Too hot to do much cooking – and so, this weekend, I whipped up this orzo salad for dinner. This salad has been one of our go-to dishes this summer – it’s an easy, totally delicious and refreshing lunch or dinner, perfect for hot summer weather. It’s a terrific way to use up some of the herbs that are probably overflowing in your garden right now – the combo of basil and mint are especially sublime.
Here’s the recipe!
- 2 cups orzo
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup finely chopped sweet onion (like Walla Walla)
- ¾ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook the orzo according to package directions. I strongly suggest adding a couple teaspoons of salt or so to the water for extra flavor.
- Throw the orzo into a large bowl with the tomatoes, onion, drained garbanzo beans, basil, and mint.
- In a small bowl, make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and olive oil.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo, veggies, and herbs, and toss gently until well incorporated.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Great when served at room temperature, but also refreshing served chilled.