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Warm Orzo and Walnut Salad

With Garden Vegetables, Chevre & Herbs


Mary Hawkes of Prescott, Ariz. created this winning recipe with her garden's abundant harvest, including fresh herbs.
Makes about 4 cups salad.

1 C uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 C chopped California Walnuts,toasted
1/2 C halved small red grape tomatoes
1/3 C diced red bell pepper
1/3 C diced English cucumber, unpeeled
1/4 C chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbls chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbls chopped fresh mint leaves
1 Tbls chopped fresh chives
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
3 oz goat cheese or chevre, crumbled (or plain, or garlic & herb flavored cheese)
Additional chopped chives for garnish

DIRECTIONS: Spray 6 (6-8 oz) ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Cook orzo in boiling salted water 9 to 10 min­utes, or according to directions, until just tender. Drain. (If cook­ing orzo ahead of time, toss with 2 tablespoons additional olive oil, to keep from sticking). In large bowl, combine walnuts, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, olive oil, pars­ley, mint, chives and lemon juice; mix well. Add hot orzo, to other ingredients. Toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese. Divide orzo salad among ramekins, packing it tightly. Invert onto serving plates, then gently remove ramekins. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or cold.

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