keeping it cool: lemon-basil orzo salad

My posting while listening to New Music Monday habit had a 24-hour delay this week.  Monday night with the Lulu girls at Studio 49 Fitness for a tough, but fun TRX class put the posting on hold.  Dinner was a two-part event with prep before class and finish and enjoy after class and lots of water.  The  WTTS playlist is posted online so tonight I sampled and downloaded and now I'm playing the songs I deemed worthy of addition to my iTunes library.  Currently enjoying My Morning Jacket's "You Wanna Freak Out".  If you know me, you can guess that I started with "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" from Coldplay.  I really did get up at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning to listen to it's first airplay on Absolute Radio UK on my iPad.  That's true love there.

Vegetable grilling on New Grill is improving dramatically.  Much to Sara's chagrin since she is unusually fond of all things burnt.  For the lemon-basil orzo salad I grilled zucchini and red pepper to add to whole wheat orzo (half of a package in my pantry), fresh basil (half of a box in my refrigerator until my plants get a little bigger than micro-basil although that's what they'd use in California), baby spinach (for nutritional punch) and fresh mozzarella (half a tub in the refrigerator, which is crowded if you couldn't tell).  I tossed everything with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette after class.   Very light and just the thing after a hot class.  An improvised dish to be sure.  Serve it with fresh fruit and crusty whole grain bread.

lemon-basil orzo salad

1 C dry whole wheat orzo
2 zucchini, sliced in planks
1 red pepper, cored
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 C loosely packed baby spinach
1/2 -1 C fresh mozzarella (I had some cute bocconcini from Whole Foods), cut in bite-size pieces
juice of one lemon
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the orzo according to the directions on the package.  Drain.  Brush the zucchini and red pepper with a little olive oil and lightly sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Grill 5-10 minutes over medium heat, turning once.  Chop to bite-size pieces.  Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and garlic in your serving bowl.  Add warm orzo, zucchini and red pepper.  Toss with basil, baby spinach and mozzarella.

Finishing up my post with "Sita Ram" from Girish, which is only new to me.  He's a favorite on the hot yoga playlists.  Now I feel like a few downward dogs and sun salutations to end my day.  Namaste.


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