Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta

This Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta has all the flavors of summer! This salad is low-glycemic and South Beach Diet friendly; use brown rice for a gluten-free version of this tasty meatless salad or cauliflower rice for a low-carb version. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

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Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe with Feta, Olives, and Herbs (Meatless) found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’ve always been a huge fan of orzo, so I was thrilled when I discovered whole wheat orzo. I first tried it in a very tasty salad with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and feta, and I’ve already made the Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta featured in this post three times and gobbled it up each time.If you’re not familiar with orzo, it’s a tiny pasta shaped similar to rice but slightly bigger. It’s often used in soups and pilafs, but it’s also a perfect pasta salad ingredient because it lets the pasta take a supporting role and puts the spotlight on the other ingredients. Orzo is made with wheat, but for a gluten-free alternative I think brown rice would also be great in any salad that uses whole wheat orzo.

I loved orzo long before knew about the South Beach Diet, but I only discovered whole wheat orzo last year.  In Salt Lake I can find both DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Orzo and Rice Select Whole Wheat Orzo at Whole Foods.  If any readers have seen whole wheat orzo in other stores, let us know in the comments where you’ve found it.

Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives, and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

Cook the orzo until it’s barely al dente (follow package directions for cooking time) and then drain and let cool. Cut the zucchini and red bell peppers into fourths and brush with olive oil and Italian seasoning.  (I used Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle, which has sweet basil, Turkish oregano, thyme, and garlic.) Grill the vegetables on high until they are cooked, but still slightly crisp, about 10-15 minutes.  Turn several times to get lots of grill marks.  Let vegetables cool for a few minutes.

While veggies cool, slice the green onions and chop the herbs.  (I used a combination or oregano and basil and increased the amount of herbs.) Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, and dried oregano to make the dressing. When the vegetables are cool, you should be able to pull the skins right off the red bell peppers.  Cut peppers and zucchini into bite-sized pieces.

Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives, and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

Put the zucchini and peppers into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad, add about 1/3 of the dressing, and stir so the vegetables are all coated with dressing. Let the vegetables marinate in the dressing while you slice the olives in half and crumble the Feta. Stir in the orzo, green onions, and herbs and add just enough dressing to moisten the salad. Then gently stir in the olives and crumbled feta.  Season salad to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve room temperature or slightly chilled.

More Salads to Make with Whole Wheat Orzo:

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cold Curried Orzo Salad from The Perfect Pantry
Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Kale, Chickpeas, Lemon, and Feta from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta

This Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta has all the flavors of summer!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo, cooked according to package directions (or less if you want even lower carbs)
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • olive oil, for brushing vegetables
  • Italian seasoning or other dried herb seasoning
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 T chopped fresh basil
  • 2 T chopped fresh oregano
  • (or use 4 T chopped fresh herbs of your choice such as parsley, mint, thyme, or chives)
  • 1 can  black olives, drained and cut in half  (6 oz. drained)
    1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Cook orzo according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.  Drain and let cool while you prep other ingredients.
  3. Cut the zucchini and red bell pepper lengthwise into fourths and remove seeds and stem from pepper.  Brush the vegetables on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with dried herb mix.
  4. Turn the grill down to medium-high, then grill vegetables until they are cooked, but still slightly crisp, about 10-15 minutes.  I turned them several times so I had grill marks on all the sides.  Remove vegetables and let them cool.
  5. Thinly slice green onions and chop fresh herbs.
  6. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, and dried oregano to make the dressing.
  7. When vegetables are cool enough to handle easily, pull the skins off red peppers.  (They should come off fairly easily, but no worries if some of the skin stays on.  You can put the peppers in a bowl and cover it with cling-wrap to “steam” them if you want to be sure you get all the skin off, but I didn’t have any trouble removing it without doing that.)
  8. Cut the zucchini and pepper into bite-sized pieces and put into a plastic bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients.
  9. Add about 1/3 of dressing and stir so all the vegetable pieces are coated with dressing.
  10. Let the vegetables marinate while you drain olives, cut them into half, and crumble the feta.
  11. Add the cooked orzo, green onions, and herbs to the vegetables and add enough dressing to moisten all ingredients.  (You may not need all the dressing.)
  12. Gently stir in the olives and crumbled feta.
  13. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.  This salad will stay good in the fridge for several days, but only if you’re able to stop eating it!

Notes:

Adapted from a recipe by Pamela Anderson for Fine Cooking.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Whole Wheat Orzo and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives, and Herbs is loaded with low-glycemic ingredients, but to make it more suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet I used whole wheat orzo and decreased the amount of pasta in proportion to the other ingredients.  To make the salad even lower in carbs, you could use even less orzo, or replace it with cauliflower rice for a low-carb salad.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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