A Mediterranean inspired orzo pasta salad with fresh cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, sweet corn, parsley, feta cheese, and a delicious lemon dressing.
DRESSING: start with the dressing so the flavors have time to meld and intensify. Zest a lemon to get 2 teaspoons zest. Juice the lemon to get 3 tablespoons juice. Place zest and juice in a large mason jar. Add the olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Put the lid on the jar. Shake to combine. Place in the fridge while preparing the salad.
SALAD: Bring a pot of water to a boil, generously salt the water, and cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and let cool. Rinse under cold water and then allow to dry thoroughly.
VEGGIES: Meanwhile, prep the veggies. Halve the tomatoes, halve the olives, finely dice the red onion (Note 1), finely dice the parsley. Add all the veggies to a large bowl. Add in the feta cheese. IF desired, grill corn (Note 2). Cut the kernels from the cob (you don't have to cook the corn, you can add it in raw too for a nice crunch!). Pour dressing over salad and toss. Taste and season as needed with additional salt and/or pepper. Store in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Toss right before serving. Salad best enjoyed the same day it is made.
Note 1: to take away the "bite" of the red onion, soak the diced onions in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly before adding.
Note 2: Preheat a grill to medium high heat, around 400 degrees F. Once hot, clean the grill grates. Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Pour about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on each corn cob and rub that oil into all the sides. Very lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the corn. Place corn on grill grates (nothing needs to go down first/don't wrap in foil) and close grill. Allow to cook (temps remaining at 400F) for about 3 minutes per side undisturbed. Using tongs, rotate and continue cooking, for about 12 minutes total. When all sides are browned, remove from the grill onto a plate.