Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

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by Amy Flanigan on July 14, 2011 · 18 comments

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream about Drew Carey. Girthy Drew Carey, not emaciated Drew Carey. He was babysitting the kids and trying to teach them how to rhyme. They rolled their eyes and scoffed as if to say, “Um, Drew, we could teach you a thing or two.” Then he dumped a gigantic bag of sunflower seeds on the floor and set the timer – whoever had gathered the most at the end of five minutes won a big basket of cherry tomatoes.

End dream.

I tried to digest that for a minute but decided there was absolutely no explanation.

(What’s interesting, actually, is that I’m a horrible sleeper and rarely even reach that magnificent REM period where you’re able to dream. So I finally do, and this is what I get? WTH?)

Anyway, fifteen minutes later I opened Google Reader to find this recipe.

Apparently someone needs me to eat some cherry tomatoes. I wasn’t going to tempt fate. Especially with how weird the weather’s been…couldn’t take a chance of being struck by lightening or something. So I made this stat.

It was wonderful. A smooth textured salad, sweet/salty combo, with a little crunch from the cucumber. As Elise points out, do not refrigerate the tomatoes ahead of time. I would also recommend eating this fairly soon after combining. I wasn’t as crazy about it after being refrigerated overnight.

I’m considering getting up at 4am now so I’m dead tired enough at night to hit the REM. See what other foods channel me.

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad
Serves 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

• 8 ounces orzo pasta
• 1 pint red cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
• 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• Black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and orzo and stir so that it doesn’t stick. Cook, uncovered, at a high boil until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain with a fine mesh sieve (so the pasta doesn’t fall through the holes) and rinse under cold water.

(While the water is boiling and the orzo is cooking, you can prep your ingredients.)

In a large bowl, toss the orzo with the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, feta, cucumber, green onions, oregano, lemon juice, and black pepper. Gently fold to combine.

Note: Do not refrigerate the tomatoes ahead of time.  Also I enjoyed this immensely at room temperature, but not nearly as much once cooled in the refrigerator.

(slightly adapted from Simply Recipes)

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny August 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

Aaaannnd bookmarked. Love the combination, can’t wait to try, need to throw a shin-dig to keep from eating all myself. Ok, so thanks, and I look adding this to my recipe arsenal!


Stephanie July 19, 2011 at 7:37 am

I’m not a huge feta fan (I know, shun me now), but this salad looks quite delish. And since Drew Carey himself channeled you to make it, it must be worth every ounce.


Meister @ The Nervous Cook July 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

For some reason, I’ve had Drew Carey on the brain lately, too. Must be time to pick up a pint of cherry tomatoes…


Prerna@IndianSimmer July 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm

haha.. you are so funny I just wanna meet you someday and talk about all such stupid and strange things that happen to me :-)
Lovely recipe!


Amy July 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

That would be a hoot Prerna. Hope for that some day, as well!


Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary July 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I like the chunky Drew better. He just doesn’t look right skinny so I’m glad he was girthy in your dream. Think if I try really hard I can dream about George Clooney and Nutella???? :)

My Nonna’s tomato rule is the same as Elise’s….Never serve cold tomatoes…no flavor!


Amy July 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm

The chunky Drew was funnier too. I’ve also been known to dream about Bill Maher and James Earl Jones. What the??


Jenna July 14, 2011 at 10:15 am

I love that your dream gave birth to this dish. I’m the opposite of you in terms of dreams though–I have pretty vivid ones almost every night and always talk the socks off of my husband recounting every last detail during our morning get-out-the-door routine. Dreaming is one of the reasons I like sleeping so much–it’s always so entertaining.
Anyway, great looking salad!


Amy July 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I love it. Dreaming is fun! I used to dream heavily years ago. But ever since having kids and sleeping with one ear open, I don’t anymore :(


Joanne July 14, 2011 at 9:35 am

I promise you’re REM-ing even if you don’t realize it. There’s some weird iPhone app that somehow senses your sleep cycle and if you could figure out how to actually deprive yourself of REM, then your body would try to go into REM almost immediately to compensate. Either way. I’d agree that the powers that be wanted you to make this. And they want me to make it also. By virtue of me knowing you.


Amy July 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

Ah, Joanne…or should I say Dr. Joanne – I can always count on you to explain the oddities of the body. Can’t tell you how many readers you made happy after explaining why asparagus makes our pee stink.


denise July 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

this looks delightful! and yet again, you post something that i have just about all the ingredients on hand for!!!! can’t wait to try this!!!


Amy July 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

Awesome! Hope you enjoy it, Denise :D


Melissa July 14, 2011 at 8:44 am

Oh heck yes. My kind of meal. You know it.

Ya weirdo.


Amy July 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

LOL. *mwah*


lo July 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

Simple summer salads are some of my favorite food — but I really need to make them more often. Can’t get enough of orzo, quinoa… even bulger makes its way into my kitchen every now and again!

Can’t wait until my cherry tomatoes in my backyard are ripe!


Amy July 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

I can’t wait until I have a garden again! Lucky you!!


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