Mediterranean Whole Wheat Orzo Salad
A big bowl of yummmm.
Ugh. Why are baby mozzarella balls SO CUTE?!!!!!!
You know what else is cute? An actual baby. I went to a Sip & See party this weekend for a friend. That term was new to me, but it’s a party where you sip mimosas and see the new born baby (or could also be a sip champagne and see an engagement ring party).
Speaking of sipping drinks and seeing cute things, have you seen this buzzfeed video on surprising drunk girls with puppies. This is how I react every time I see a puppy. Every time. Gosh I love that video. I just rewatched it for the 4th time and I can’t stop laughing. AHHH.
Butttttt at that party, the host served this ahhhmazing mediterranean pasta salad.
It had eggplant.
And I have a lot of hatred towards eggplant. To me, it’s kinda more nasty than those styrofoam-y grocery store mushrooms. And those mushrooms are nasty. Mushrooms were meant to be bought from a farmers market. And they are supposed to be bursting with flavor. They should not taste like styrofoam.
So I got a scoop of the pasta salad (then took a picture of my plate on gorgeous countertops) and was suspiciously eyeing the eggplant as I took a bite and the verdict was if was completely…delicious. So then everyone at the party had a discussion on exactly how the pasta salad was made.
And the key to making eggplant taste yum is to roast the daylights out of it, until it’s golden brown and crispy. Then you put it in this salad!
The other brilliant thing this salad taught me is that I should be buying marinated baby mozzarella balls. Because instead of having to make a dressing to pour over the pasta salad, you just have to dump in the marinade that the baby mozzarellas are swimming in. IT’S GREAT NEWS!
Oh gosh. Justin Beiber is on the Today show right now and it’s painful. Also painful. Andrew painted our front door black. He says it’s a statement piece, but it kinda makes me feel like a mean person. It’s just so…black.
But back to holiday food. This orzo salad is what you should bring to your holiday partying. If you happen to be wearing an ugly Christmas sweater while eating this…even better. This dish is completely acceptable for an appetizer or main dish. Probably wouldn’t pass as a dessert unless you like really, really love olives. More power to you if you do.
And speaking of desserts. Next week I’m putting cookies in salad and I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT.
Mediterranean Whole Wheat Orzo Salad
Yield: 5 cups of pasta salad (serves 5 as a main dish or 10 as an appetizer)
Prep Time: 15 minutes (+1 hour inactive marinade time)
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes (+1 hour inactive prep time)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat orzo
1 large eggplant
8oz baby mozzarella balls in marinade
1/2 cup pitted calamata olives (I used DeLallo)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used Delallo), sliced into strips
1/3 cup basil, chiffonade (chiffonaded?)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut eggplant into 1" cubes. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, until eggplant pieces are golden and crispy.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Use a colander to drain water from cooked orzo. Pour warm orzo into a large bowl. Add in mozzarella balls + marinade, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, roasted eggplant and basil. Stir everything together. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour for all the flavors to meld together.
Andrew is the type that says if it doesn't have meat it's a side dish. But he actually said he liked this enough to eat it sans meat for a meal. What?! I win.