Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to share this guest blog post from our favorite identical twins – Hannah and Mary Ladesic. Glenbard West graduates, Hannah and Mary were dishwashers and culinary assistants at Marcel’s. They have just completed their sophomore year at Boston College and have embarked on a blogging journey at Two Spoonfuls, which is filled with inspiring cooking and baking recipes, tips and beautiful photography!
While the temperature may be heating up, this refreshing orzo salad made with watermelon, arugula, basil and feta is an easy way to help stay cool on a hot summer’s day. It mixes sweet and savory flavors as well as fresh herbs and summer produce for a satisfying and healthy side dish perfect for any party or cookout.
Here are a few tips we use to create stunning summer salads:
-Engage the senses! Combine colors, textures and flavors for the perfect eye-catching and palate-pleasing salad. With the abundance of summer fruits and vegetables, it is easy to bring pops of color to your plate, from the vibrant pink of a watermelon to the deep purple of an eggplant. Play with adding something creamy, something crunchy and something crispy by mixing in your favorite cheese, nuts and seeds, and a variety of greens.
-Make your own dressings! It is so simple to toss together a light lemon olive oil drizzle or a balsamic vinaigrette. Use natural sweeteners like honey to reduce the sugar content, and throw in chopped fresh herbs like parsley, oregano and thyme for a boost of flavor.
-Go with a grain! To add variety to a traditional green salad, add in a healthy grain to help make your salad more filling and nutrient dense. Stir in cooked quinoa, whole wheat orzo, farro or wheat berries.
-Mix up your greens! Move beyond the classic head of iceberg and experiment with vibrant, nutritious greens such as kale, watercress, arugula, and spinach. These greens will bring both a flavor and nutrient boost to your salad.
One of our favorite things about cooking is incorporating fresh, seasonal produce and herbs from our backyard garden. We also love experimenting with putting healthier twists on traditional recipes. This recipe allows us to accomplish both, creating a dish that is perfect to beat the heat and enjoy your summer days.
- 1 1/2 cups dry orzo (either whole wheat or white)
- 1 T. fresh lemon zest
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 t. honey
- 5 cups cubed watermelon (diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes)
- 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup arugula
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in salted water according to directions listed on package. Drain well (do not rinse) then pour into a large bowl.
- While pasta boils, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Pour half of mixture over drained pasta in bowl and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool.
- Add watermelon, feta, basil and arugula to the orzo. Add remaining lemon juice mixture and toss to evenly coat.