Artichoke Orzo Salad

November 8th, 2008

As a last hurrah before the summers end, we gathered our good friends for a weekend camping trip to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  As all of you loyal readers of Wasabi Bratwurst will know, we take camping very seriously and typically start preparing our food a couple days in advance.  There are a few signature dishes that are regularly in rotation, like; caramelized onions, for the honey ham and blue bagel sandwich, also great as an accompaniment to cheese and wine.  Larb, a Thai lettuce wrap that can be eaten warm or cold, best after a couple of drinks :)  We also love the one-pot dishes like, Japanese curry or a recent favorite, the Guinness stew - always enough for everyone!  Taking the time to prepare food ahead of time simplifies our camping life and gives us more time to enjoy nature and, of course, party.  Plus, we get to indulge in one our greatest pleasures, turning our friends on to some of our favorite dishes.

This recipe is something that should have been shared weeks ago, but following this historic election and every other excuse in the book, blogging has taken a backseat yet again. But now that people of America has shown the will to fundamentally change things, we are also ready to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding  - starting with the blog.  We hope you enjoy!

One thing that I can assure you today is that this orzo salad is very easy to prepare, only 4 simple steps.  It starts with preparing a homemade red wine vinaigrette, chopping vegetables, boiling pasta (in chicken stock to assure proper seasoning), and leaving the salad to sit and soak it all up.  Heck, if you want to use the store bought vinaigrette, its down to a whopping 3 steps!

So with no further adieu, the Artichoke Orzo Salad recipe that you have been waiting for.

Red Wine Vinaigrette Ingredients

¼  cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or a food processor.  While the machine is running, slowly drizzle the in olive oil.  Once fully incorporated, if necessary, adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper lemon juice.

Artichoke Orzo Salad Ingredients

4 cups chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) box orzo pasta
½  small red onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
½ green pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 (16-ounce can) artichoke hearts, in water
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Artichoke Orzo Salad Recipe

  1. Bring broth to a full boil over high heat, stir in orzo. Cover with lid and cook until the orzo is al dente (cooked so as to be firm but not hard), stirring frequently during the cooking process. Cooking time will vary, but you should be somewhere around 7~8 minutes.  Do not over cook the pasta.
  2. Drain the orzo through a mesh strainer.  Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl (a cookie sheet will speed up the cooling process) and cool completely.  We use the refrigerator.
  3. Once cooled, toss the orzo with all other ingredients in a large bowl.  Slowly begin adding the vinaigrette until orzo salad is covered, you do not want so much vinaigrette that it begins to pool in the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Cover and rest the orzo salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  The idea here is to let the orzo soak up the goodness of the vinaigrette, a couple hours is best.  Make sure to adjust the flavor the salad before serving.  It tastes great served at room temperature, which makes it ideal for a potluck or picnic!  A fresh squeeze of lemon juice right before serving with bring it to life.

What is your favorite camping foods/ideas for dishes to make? Share us your favorite camping recipe in the comment field below.

22 Responses to “Artichoke Orzo Salad”

  1. jancdNo Gravatar Says:

    Oh, this salad looks delicious–with basil and mint–so refreshing. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @jancd It is very refreshing and the best part about it – it’s so easy to make! Let us know how it goes for ya.

  3. GeraNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Gretchen!

    I love camping in parks or when is possible, near the beach in summer. The orzo salad is super yummy and easy-as for a camping- with a correct and fresh balance between the ingredients!!

    This salad match perfectly well, with a typical tradition in my country of beef barbecued in campings with chimichurri sauce (parsley, onion, garlic, red pepper, touch of paprika and black pepper with some olive or corn oil)

  4. MeganNo Gravatar Says:

    This is fabulous! I have some orzo in my pantry and will be making this soon!

  5. Cathy-wheresmydamnanswerNo Gravatar Says:

    This really looks great – A secret I have never made orzo but will add these ingredients to the shopping list this week to try!!

  6. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @Gera I personally can’t get enough camping, and the great thing about Southern Cali is that you can camp all year round! I have yet to venture into South American cooking, but my favorite restaurant is this great little Peruvian/South American joint. I’ll have work up to making some of their dishes at home so I can incorporate them into my camping menus :)

  7. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @ Cathy-wheresmydamnanswer Feel free to add an fresh veggies you have in the fridge. That is actually how this recipe was adapted. Frozen organic peas or corn would be great as well. If you end up experimenting let us know how it turns out.

  8. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @Megan Since making this salad I have made a habit of keeping some extra orzo in the pantry. In fact, last night I breaded some leftover pork cutlets, added some swiss cheese and homemade tomato sauce and served the whole thing over a bed of orzo. Dee-lish!

  9. Kristy - Where's My Damn AnswerNo Gravatar Says:

    I will certainly have to try this one. I used to make something similar with rice-a-roni years before I really started cooking from scratch. It had broccoli, red onion and olives though. I like this MUCH better.

    Thanks for sounding off on our time machine post. We’ll be sure to give you a shout out on the radio today :-D

  10. RowellNo Gravatar Says:

    I should have read this article closer to lunch because now I’m craving some food at 9am! Looks absolutely delicious and also easy to make. Definitely a recipe I’ll need to try.

  11. Fumi MatsubaraNo Gravatar Says:

    @Kristy – Thank you for spreading our gospel on the radio. I did not realize you have a radio show on top of your blog? Tell me more about it.

    @Rowell – What’s up brother man. Will you be coming out for the San Diego Bloggers meetup next week? We are meeting in Carlsbad for change to seek out the North County Bloggers and tweet-heads. Hope to see you there.

  12. RowellNo Gravatar Says:

    I should be able to make it up! Looking forward to it.

  13. JudeNo Gravatar Says:

    Nice recipe.. Your instructions are so easy to follow and a pleasure to read.

  14. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @Jude Thank you Jude! That means a lot coming from you, instructions on your recipes are the best!

  15. OlgaNo Gravatar Says:

    Orzo is so versatile! I love it for the summer salads. Yours looks lovely.

  16. Gretchen WilliamsNo Gravatar Says:

    @Olga
    I have to agree on the versatility. I’m just sad I only recently discovered it. As they say, better late than never.

  17. Home With MandyNo Gravatar Says:

    Just found your blog while looking for an orzo side dish. Love this post. My fiance and I are big campers in Texas (yes, even in the heat) and my favorite thing to make while camping is homemade doughnuts. It’s a real treat!

  18. Fumi MatsubaraNo Gravatar Says:

    @Mandy – homemade doughnuts while camping, sounds wonderfully delicious. Need to go camping with you!

  19. matt mcinvaleNo Gravatar Says:

    we made this last night, it’s tasty for sure. looking forward to trying a little at lunch to see how the flavors have integrated. :)

  20. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @matt mcinvale – So how was it the next day?

  21. Mel ChriscoeNo Gravatar Says:

    Thanks for that. We’re having a little potluck party this week, kind of for Xmas I guess and I’ve been trying to find something special to take.. found some awesome ideas at this potluck recipe site. You know, someone should invent a website where you can write what you’ll be taking, and it would check no one brings the same thing!

  22. Andy @ governmentconsolidationloans.comNo Gravatar Says:

    The combination of basil and mint is amazing!

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