[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]
Before actually participating in one, I thought potlucks were kind of old-fashioned. I always pictured 1960s-era Knights of Columbus halls, packed with Jell-O molds, limp crudite, and men in ornamental antler hats. Needless to say, was I off base.
To put it bluntly, potlucks are the best. They're a no-pressure, inexpensive way to hang out with loved ones, especially when folks start havin' babies. And of course, you get to stuff your face.
Every few weeks, I get together with a bunch of friends for a potluck. Saturday's dinner yielded Spicy Brisket, Potato Leek Focaccia, Bacon-topped Macaroni and Cheese, and the tastiest vegan cupcakes you've ever had, all homemade. My own contribution was this Greek Orzo Salad. It wasn't meant to be a particularly light dish, but after I ran the numbers, it turned out to be much leaner than I thought.
Comprised largely of fresh veggies, briny olives, and feta cheese, the salad feels substantial without being heavy. A subtle lemon dressing keeps everything pleasingly moist (without pooling at the bottom), and imparts a light, refreshing citrus flavor to the whole shebang. Also, artichokes. I loves me some artichokes.
In conclusion, I will be making this again, over and over, probably for additional potlucks. I don't know if you've heard, but they're pretty sweet.
Greek Orzo Salad
- makes about 12 servings of 3/4 cup each =
- 5 cups cooked orzo
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 medium red onion, small diced
- 20 pitted kalamata olives, cut into quarters
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (give or take), cut into eighths
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large lemon, halved
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 or 4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
To a large mixing bowl, add orzo, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, artichoke hearts, and parsley. Stir to combine.
Pour olive oil into orzo mixture. Juice the entire lemon into the same bowl. Add salt and grind pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine. Add feta. Stir again. Serve cold or at room temperature.