English Pea and Orzo Salad

Margie Bruner - Glory Kitchen

by: Margie Bruner, owner of Glory Kitchen
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This English Pea and Orzo Salad is the perfect way to ring in summer flavors .  Adding small shrimp or chopped hard boiled egg could easily turn it into a full meal or it would also work well as a side dish for a barbeque or picnic.  I love all the pretty little round ingredients: peas, capers, cherry tomatoes, and tiny little orzo pasta.  Prepping and chopping the ingredients for the salad was almost as enjoyable as eating it, so enjoy the entire process!

When rounding up my ingredients at the grocery store, I tried to focus on yellow and green colorations.  Remember, we eat with our eyes first, so the presentation of your meal can be the first step in truly enjoying a dish. I’ve added the Italian flavors of our Umbria nut & spice mix into this dish which gave it a subtle crunch of almonds and the robust taste of sun dried tomatoes.  This salad is dressed with simple ingredients – olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and fresh herbs, giving it a bright and clean flavor.  I hope you enjoy this delightful salad as much as we did.

English Pea and Orzo Salad

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

    for the dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon Umbria nut & spice mix
  • 1 lemon, fresh (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 pinches sugar
  • for the salad:
  • Umbria nut & spice mix
  • 3 cups orzo pasta, cooked
  • 1 ½ cups english peas, fresh
  • 2-3 yellow bell peppers (or 20 mini bell peppers)
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons capers, drained
  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, fresh
  • 5-7 basil, fresh
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, fresh

Instructions

    for the dressing:
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. (One fresh squeezed lemon should be equivalent to about 2 tablespoons)
  2. for the salad:
  3. Preheat the oven to 400-425°. If you are using full sized yellow bell peppers, slice each one in half. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and rub all over. Sprinkle with salt and a generous amount of Umbria nut & spice mix. Instead of large yellow bell peppers, I used 20 mini yellow bell peppers and roasted them whole. Roast the peppers in the oven until they are, soft, brown and a bit caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Take the cooled peppers and remove stems & seeds (the minis did not need seed removal), slice them into small pieces (see photo) and set these aside in a bowl.
  4. Boil the orzo pasta until it is al dente. Drain & rinse, then pour into a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the small pasta from sticking together. (1 ¼ cup of uncooked orzo pasta yielded me about 3 cups of cooked orzo)
  5. Pour the fresh peas into a pot of boiling water and boil for only 1 minute, or until it is bright green. Remove from heat quickly, rinse with cool water, drain and set the peas aside to cool completely.
  6. Slice the tomatoes in half if they are very small. If a bit larger, slice into quarters then set aside in a bowl.
  7. Slice the shallots very thin. Chop the parsley, basil and thyme, place all the herbs into a bowl and set aside. Set aside a few whole leaves of herbs to use for garnish on top of each serving.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled orzo pasta, peas, yellow bell peppers, yellow tomatoes, shallots, herbs and the drained capers. Pour the lemon dressing into the salad and toss it gently but thoroughly. Pour into bowls or plates to serve individually, or if serving buffet style, arrange the salad onto a large platter. Top the salad with crumbles of feta cheese, sprinkles of Umbria nut blend, and finally fresh herb leaves for garnish.

English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen
English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen
English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen
English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen
English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen
English Pea and Orzo Salad - Glory Kitchen