Have I mentioned that I have an abundance of mint in my little herb garden? (And by garden, I mean three pots, and by abundance I mean more mint than I can possibly think of using.) I mentioned this in passing over the weekend and my mom suggested tabouli. Traditionally, tabouli is a lebanese parsley salad made with fine bulgur wheat and mint, diced tomatoes, onion and a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil.
I didn't have any bulgur, but when I went to the store this afternoon I came across the orzo first and thought it might make for an interesting pasta salad. I grabbed some cherry tomatoes (because I can't sort out the whole salmonella mess I'm sticking with the tiny ones), parsley and a bunch of green onions. When I took the above picture, the salad was frankly a little boring. About a third through my dinner bowl I added a few crumbles of feta cheese and I think it provided that 'something missing.' I also think I'll use less pasta next time (maybe half a cup?), but here is the oh-so-basic recipe for my orzo riff on tabouli.
Orzo salad, tabouli style
inspired by the overzealous mint plant on my porch
1 cup orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2-3/4 cup fresh parsley, stems discarded
1/2 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes
1 green onion or 2 scallions
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese (optional)
Cook and drain the orzo; rinse with cold water to cool it down to room temp.
Meanwhile, chop the mint and parsley together, slice the green onion (ditch the root end and very top of the dark green), and halve the tomatoes.
In a bowl mix the orzo, chopped mint and parsley, sliced green onion and halved tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper, juice the lemon over the top and give it a few glugs (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) of good olive oil. Stir to mix thoroughly and taste. If you think it needs feta, add the cheese, and enjoy.
Yields 4 side-dish servings or one dinner + one take-to-work lunch.