Summer squash comes in all shapes and sizes, and this recipe from Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce (Wiley) by Cathy Thomas is a "handy reference" when it comes to using it up.

Summer Squash Orzo Salad

Serves 6

Olives make a great garnish for this colorful salad. Their salty brininess adds an appealing contrast. Olives with their pits still in place taste better than pitted, but if using the unpitted beauties, be sure to put them off to the side rather than atop each serving so guests have a better visual clue that they aren’t pitted.


8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
2 medium yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, diced
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, diced
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Minced zest of 1 lemon (colored portion of peel)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 cups baby spinach or mixed baby greens
1 ounce salami, cut into 1/8-inch dice (see Meatless Tip)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Garnish: 1/2 cup unpitted olives, such as kalamata or Niçoise
Optional garnish: microgreens


Bring large pot of salted water to boil on high heat. Add orzo and cook according to package directions until al dente (tender but with a little bite). Drain, refresh with cold water. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon oil. Set aside.

Place zucchini, crookneck squash, onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes in large bowl. Gently toss. In small bowl or glass measuring cup with handle, combine zest, juice, 3 tablespoons oil, salt, black pepper to taste, and parsley. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour on vegetables and toss. Add orzo and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Divide spinach between 6 small plates. Top with vegetable-orzo mixture. Sprinkle each serving with diced salami and crumble cheese on top. Place a small pile of olives off to the side of each salad. If desired, scatter some microgreens (tiny immature greens) on top of salad.

Meatless Tip: Omit salami. If desired, use 1 cup pitted olives in the salad instead of 1/2 cup as a garnish.

Nutritional information (per serving without salami): Calories 310, fat calories 120; total fat 13 grams, sat fat 4 grams, cholesterol 15 milligrams; sodium 1100 milligrams; total carbohydrates 39 grams, fiber 4 grams, sugars 7 grams; protein 11 grams; vitamin A IUs 45%; vitamin C 120%; calcium 10%; iron 15%.

From Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas; reprinted with permission from Wiley Publishing.

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