Orzo Eggplant and Feta Salad

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Orzo Eggplant and Feta Salad

Yield:  4-6 servings

Time: 45 minutes

The roasted eggplant feta orzo salad is an unassuming dish, that surprises with the deep flavor of the roasted eggplants contrasting with the tangy feta cheese and lemony olive oil dressing. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to prepare this light and rewarding vegetarian dish. It’s rather a main course than a salad on the side and I get the same reaction from anyone who tries it – more, please! Tip: Do not cut the eggplant into too smaller cubes, they shrink a lot during roasting!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (225 g) orzo pasta
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups eggplant diced 1 inch (about 2.5 cm cubes)
  • 2-3 Tbsp black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) roasted red peppers diced, use good quality from a jar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) finely sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 Tbsp shredded basil
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) cubed feta cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra olive oil, optional

Preparation:

Sprinkle salt all over the eggplant cubes and let them drain in a colander for 30 minutes. In the meantime cook orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain, and place it into a bowl. Toss orzo with one tablespoon of olive oil and let it cool. Once the 30 minutes have elapsed, run eggplant quickly under water to remove salt. Blot eggplant cubes dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven at 400ºF/200ºC.

Spread eggplant cubes on a baking sheet and brush it with  2 tablespoons of olive oil on all sides. Salt and pepper eggplant. Bake for 15 minutes or until they start getting golden on the top. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

While the eggplant is roasting mix orzo, olives, scallions, roasted peppers, dill, mint, basil, and feta in a large serving bowl. Make a dressing of the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Just before serving add the diced eggplant and adjust seasonings if necessary.

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