Citrus Orzo Salad With Olives and Sundried Tomatoes--And a Cookbook Giveaway!

This striking pasta salad recipe can be made in under 20 minutes. The unusual combination of citrus flavors with sun-dried tomatoes and olives works perfectly, and it seems like a much fancier and more complex dish than it really is.

Of course, like nearly every recipe here at Casual Kitchen, this recipe is affordable, healthy and really easy to make. And, in today's post I have an extra bonus: a cookbook giveaway! See below for the details.

Citrus Orzo Salad With Olives and Sundried Tomatoes
(modified from The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up Cookbook)

1 cup dried orzo pasta
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup medium black olives
4-6 Tablespoons coarsely chopped sundried tomatoes

1) Cook orzo according to directions.

2) Meanwhile, mix olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

3) Once the orzo is cooked, drain, and then combine the orzo in a large bowl with olives and sundried tomatoes. Pour citrus dressing over everything and combine well. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4. Can be easily doubled.

Recipe Notes:
1) You'll want to slightly undercook the orzo. There are few things worse than a slippery, soggy overcooked orzo pasta salad. This the only risk that exists with this otherwise ridiculously easy recipe.

2) Forget about using orange juice poured from a carton. Just squeeze it directly from the orange you used for the orange zest. I'll be writing in the next few weeks about the illusory freshness of purchased orange juice.

3) A final few words about the cookbook that was the source of this recipe: The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: First of all, okay, we're talking about the sons of Paula Deen. And that's why, at first, I was expecting hilariously fattening, butter-laden recipes on every page. In reality, however, the exact opposite is true: there's a great range of healthy, highly creative and original recipes in this book, and lots of great tips on how to make your tailgating, grilling and outdoor picnic experiences easy and fun. I was really positively surprised by this cookbook, and at a relatively reasonable $14.00 at Amazon, I highly recommend it to readers.

4) Last but not least: The giveaway! I've been given an extra review copy of today's cookbook, and I'll give it away to a lucky reader. Leave a comment below with your favorite, simple cooking tip (hey, we have to make the contest add value to other readers too, right?), and I'll choose a winner, randomly, from the tips below. The contest will end at 5pm ET on Friday, October 21. Good luck, and get those tips ready!

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Emmy said...

My favorite, simple cooking tip? Wow, Daniel, you're not asking much, LOL! I think it's something I picked up from an America's Test Kitchen cookbook - microwave your aromatics in fat before cooking with them. I (ab)use the heck out of my crockpot year-round, and there have been one-too-many stews with undercooked onions. ATK's advice has been a lifesaver - diced onions, carrots, and celery nuked in a bit of oil/bacon grease/butter brings out the flavor quickly and gives me peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

My favorite cooking tip is one that saves me a headache. I love cooking but clean up is a pain! I make sure that the dishwasher is ready to take on any prep dishes. If the dishwasher is too full to take all of the dishes, I put hot water with dish soap in the sink. When I'm done with an item, it goes straight in the sink to be washed. This method works especially well when you are dealing with a meal for a large number of people. Thanks for the giveaway and the blog!


K said...

Best tip? Grow fresh herbs. Even a pot or three on a window sill, with your favourite herbs, will give you year-round flavour in your food.

And if you can grow herbs outside in season, harvest and freeze or dry them for winter use. MUCH better than store-bought!

edj3 said...

My tip (which I got from Poor Girl Gourmet) is for cooking pasta. Bring the water to the boil, put in your pasta and cover. Turn off the heat but leave it on the burner and let sit for 20-25 minutes. It will be done and you won't have the extra humidity in the house.

Samantha said...

My tip is to freeze when in doubt! I always throw my things that will go bad before we eat them up in the house. Half a loaf of bread? Makes breadcrumbs with a zap! Want fresh ginger root but only use a bit up at a time! Freeze! And then you can always throw away your scrap veggies for when you want to make stock. I only wish my freezer was bigger! Happy cooking :)

Stuart Carter said...

thank you Emmy for that aromatics tip - had never thought of that!

Get a slow cooker (crockpot). It works in the summer when you don't want to heat up the whole house, it works in the winter for rich, comforting soups and stews. It works when you are short of time - a couple of minutes to toss in a few ingredients and you come home to good, healthy food.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I've been cooking a long time so probably have a lot of tips but something new to me that might not just be a great tip but save a lot of pain. Yes, pain!

I love using hot peppers in foods but have too often rubbed my eye(s) hours later and remembered only then that I should not...that the capsaicin in peppers stays on skin for a long period after contact.

Using gloves helps but is a pain, washing with soap helps but not as much as rubbing your hands with oil after cutting raw peppers.

Since oil and capsaicin are both hydrophobic hydrocarbons, the capsaicin which has not already been absorbed into tissues will be picked up into solution and easily removed. I did a test after reading this and it's true.

I had cut some serrano pepper with my bare hands. Once completed, I rub my hands with plain vegetable oil and then washed the oil off with soap and water. The hardest part of the test was rubbing my eye on purpose but it worked. Nothing, not one bit of sting. One of the best things I've learned in a long time!

Cynthia said...

Mine is a clean up tip.
I coat the inside of plastic ware with olive or vegetable oil before putting a tomato based sauce in it. It keeps the sauce from staining the the plastic, even after being microwaved.

Daniel said...

Exceptional tips so far.

And if I might make a quick explanation, this is exactly why when I do a giveaway I like to add a minor hurdle like this. It simply creates far more value for readers--even if it might result in fewer comments.

I'd much rather have that than to have a zillion comments that say "Great post!" and add no value whatsoever.

Thanks as always to my readers, who never fail to impress me. Keep the great tips coming!


Marnely Rodriguez-Murray said...

When grocery shopping, get home and separate meats into smaller, individual packages that way you don't ever need to defrost 15 pork chops when you only need 3 or 4!

Braden said...

I might've even picked up this tip here, but my favorite cooking tip is: Buy a wok!

I frequently cook entire meals with only one pot by building my ingredients on each other at different stages in the wok. Emptier kitchen, less cleanup, delicious meals!

Sadie said...

My number one cooking tip is to feed someone you don't know very well! Okay, so this tip isn't directly related to actual food preparation. But every time I have invited a new friend over for a simple pasta dinner, or shared cookies at a meeting, I have gotten the effort back in the form of new recipes, cooking tips, delicious treats, and stronger friendships. Last week I invited a casual acquaintance over for dinner, and next week she's teaching me to make dahl!

edie said...

Hi Daniel,
I always have an aged balsamic vinegar in my kitchen now. 18 years aged is , I think , the oldest that is exported from Italy. It brings greens to a whole new level...delish!
I just started posting regular quick food tips on my blog.Would love if you visited!

Anthea said...

It takes a recipe to get this to work, but if you freeze the lemon rinds from a recipe where you squeeze them for juice, it is so easy to take them out later when you just need grated lemon rind. Easier to grate too when they are hard vs soft!

sarah said...

Using fresh ingredients as much as possible has really improved my cooking. For example, switching from lemon juice to fresh lemons to squeeze on salads, in guacamole, etc.. there is just no going back to the bottled stuff. Also, using fresh herbs as much as possible. Our favorite is cilantro which we can find cheaply and put soups and salads.

Aleria said...

My favourite cooking tip is a time saving one: cook one meal that you eat for most of the week. This eliminates eating out for lunch and last minute dinners of instant ramen. As a student, avoiding both is very important for my health and wallet!

TinaW said...

My favorite tip - save some pasta cooking water. It will help with whatever sauces/cheese you're using with your pasta.

ShaneHolden said...

The simplest one I know is to not doubt your abilities in the kitchen! I used to follow all cooking directions to the letter for fear that I'd screw up the recipe, and I always did screw it up because I was convinced I would. A self-fulfilling prophecy.
Have confidence! A bad dish in the kitchen is a learning experience, not a sign of inability.

Marcia said...

That salad looks amazing!!

My favorite simple cooking tip ...if you are going to make a pureed/smooth soup, cook up the vegetables ahead of time (like carrots, or whatever), and throw the whole pot (broth, veggies, and all) into the fridge for a few hours to let it cool before putting in your blender. I've let it stay in the fridge for a whole day this way too.

It is so hard for me to time making my soup right if I try to get cool enough to blend before dinner.

Daniel said...

Once again, let me thank readers for so many excellent tips.

At this point the contest is over and the winner, by random selection is...


Samantha, contact me at dan1529[at]yahoo[dot]com with your mailing address and I'll mail the book to you right away. Congrats!


Jackie said...

I love recipes that can be simple and easy to make, especially during the busy week. I can't wait to give this salad a try.