Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad


Early readers will remember that, Mii amo Cafe’, located in the Mii amo Spa and Resort in Sedona, AZ, was first to grant Easy Recipes and Stuff permission to publish recipes.  To learn more about their resort, and Mii amo Cafe’ cookbook go to  .

Kacy recently commented that Easy Recipes and Stuff should present a vegi recipe sometime.  No problem.  I was waiting for the right time to fire off another great Mii amo Cafe’ recipe, and the one I wanted to do just happens to be vegi in nature.       

Get ready to make Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad, it presents beautifully, tastes marevlous, and is an easy meal idea.        

Orzo Pasta

2 Cups cooked Orzo Pasta

1 Cup Tomato Wedges (roasted) (tip from Mii amo Cafe’ chef was to cut them a little smaller then a wedge)   

1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives

8 Artichoke Hearts (each quartered)

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

1/2 Cup Pepperocini Peppers (de-stemmed)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Reserve for dressing.

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

10 to 15 leaves Fresh Basil

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Dry Mustard

2 Cups Thickened Veggie Stock    [rather than going through the many steps to  thicken veggie stock with a starch (can be lumpy), I simply cook the stock down at a high simmer until it coats a spoon]   

2 cloves Garlic

Dash of Salt and Pepper

Combine all Vinaigrette ingredients except oil in a blender.  Blend till smooth.  Next slowly add oil while blending to emulsify.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add Vinaigrette to reserved bowl of Orzo, gently stir (fold) to finish.

This fantastic salad will refrigerate while you wait for family or guests to arrive.

You could serve this meal with a side of BBQ shrimp, or you could blanch some asparagus in boiling water for a minute or two, place in ice water to stop the cooking.  If you’re a meat eater like me, dry and wrap the asparagus in prosciutto if you desire a meat component. 

No matter what you choose to serve with your Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad, you and your dinner guests are in for a wonderful meal.  


For much of my life I held the view that it’s not a vacation unless a jet is involved. I love to fly, so for me, the flight itself was part of the vacation experience.

However nowadays, except for one or two domestic carriers (Hello to my Flight Crew friends at Virgin America!!), and certain international carriers, air travel has devolved to the point where rather than being part of the vacation experience it is the last hurdle one must get over to enjoy their vacation.

Still though, because you need to cram as much resort time as possible into your accrued vacation, travel by plane is necessary for destinations beyond a certain distance. But, what if your destination is say 500 miles? Which method of travel is faster, a jet or a car?

Let’s take a 510 mile trip from LA to Sedona, AZ.

For our comparison let’s assume that there are no storms or issues which delay or cancel the flight, and no freeway issues that slow down traffic. We will figure time based on optimal estimates.

The cruising speed of a Boeing 737 at 35,000 feet is around 500 mph. The highway speed of a vehicle is limited by posted speed limits to a rate far below the car’s maximum cruising speed. But, let’s assume traffic is moving at an average of 7o mph (remember, AZ has a higher freeway speed limit than CA).

My rough calculation for the total flight time includes: 20 minutes freeway travel time to airport; 20 minutes to park, unload car, and catch shuttle from parking lot to terminal; arrive 70 minutes early to allow for checking bags and getting through security; 80 minutes air time to touch down in Phoenix; 20 minutes for plane to taxi to terminal gate, and for you to disembark plane; 30 minutes to hit restroom, walk and take tram to baggage carousal, and wait for baggage; 30 minutes to get to car rental counter and fill out rental forms, 15 minutes to load luggage and get off airport property.

Total elapsed time for the flight from LA to Phoenix is 4 hours and 45 minutes. 

For the Phoenix to Sedona roadtrip, add 20 minutes for lunch, 2 hours and 10 minutes to travel the 116 miles from Phoenix to Sedona (lower speed limit road).  Total time of trip including flight time is 7 hours and 15 minutes.  

My rough calculation for the same trip in a car includes: 10 minutes to load baggage into the car; 5 hours and 30 minutes at the average flow of traffic speed (est. 70 mph, remember AZ has higher speed limit than CA); 20 minutes for a gas/rest stop.

Total elapsed time for drive from LA to Phoenix is 6 hours. 

For the drive from Phoenix to Sedona we will use the same 20 minutes for lunch in Phoenix, and 2 hours and 10 minutes estimate for the drive from Phoenix to Sedona which was allotted to the rental car. 

The total time to drive from LA to Sedona is  8 hours and 30 minutes.  

Well there you go, the car loses the race by about 1 hour and 15 minutes. But, speed is not everything.  I think I could endure  those extra 75 minutes to avoid the security and car rental scene.  Picture instead, cruising done the highway, nice leather seats, climate controlled temp perfect, blasting satellite radio, and eating Easy Recipes and Stuff home cooked snacks (someday I’ll add snacks!).  

If Virgin American flew from LA to Phoenix I would fly, but until then, the race is too close for me to call, I’ll leave the decision to you.  While enjoying your Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad, why not compare notes on your travel preferences, and plan your next weekend trip with friends.  

Good Eating and Table Talk,


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