Marinated Cauliflower Greek Orzo Salad. Because spring is here, it’s getting warmer each day, and summer is just around the corner! Ok, so we still have a couple months to go until the official summer weather kicks in, but I am already gearing up for the warm months and fresh veggies that are on the way! Here in the Columbia River Gorge, early spring is waterfall exploring season. Since it is spring break here for the kids, we are off on a family hike! And I’ve got just the perfect lunch to bring along.
This morning, I packed up this Marinated Cauliflower Orzo Salad, along with some crackers, cheese and fruit to snack on. Now, just to wait for the sleeping teen to finally get out of bed, and we will be off on our adventure! While I’m excited to see some gorgeous rushing waterfalls today, I am equally excited to dig into this salad!
The mix of fresh veggies, lemon herb dressing, Greek olives, feta, and orzo pasta make a great combo, for sure. I may throw in a few pepperoncinis in my bowl, too!
The marinated cauliflower is wonderful in this salad, but you may want to make an extra batch for snacking or antipasto trays, too. They only get better with time; the longer you marinate, the better!
Hope you all have a wonderful spring break, and get a chance to get outside and enjoy all the wonders Mother Nature has to offer this time of year. Waterfalls, here we come!!
Marinated Cauliflower Greek Orzo Salad
- 1 small head cauliflower (or enough to fit in a quart jar) stem removed and flowerettes broken into small pieces
- 1/2 shallot thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh
- 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
- 1 cucumber chopped
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives chopped
- 3/4 cup feta cheese
- 1 quart jar marinated cauliflower and marinade see recipe above
- salt and pepper to taste
To make the marinated cauliflower: Fill a quart jar with the cauliflower, sliced shallot, garlic clove, and bay leaf.
In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano.
Pour the lemon-olive oil marinate over the cauliflower mixture, secure the lid on the jar, and give it a shake. Lay the jar on it's side in the door of the refrigerator, and rotate every couple hours (or whenever you happen to open the fridge and remember). Marinate for at least 24 hours.
To make the orzo salad: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and the orzo pasta. Cook according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, and run cold water over the orzo to stop the cooking process. Add the cooked orzo to a large serving bowl.
Add the cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, olives, and feta cheese to the bowl. Add the marinated cauliflower and shallot, and pour the lemon-olive oil marinade over the top of the salad (Discard the bay leaf and whole garlic clove). Mix well. Taste, then add salt and pepper, if needed.
Mix well, and chill until ready to serve.
Garnish with more feta, olives, and parsley, if desired.
The olive oil may congeal a bit in the refrigerator when marinating the cauliflower. If this happens, no worries-just set it out somewhere on the counter, and bring it back to room temperature.