Orzo Pasta Salad and It Takes A Village

We spent our 4th of July holiday with HealthyMamma Kimmy and her wonderful family…each of them I consider family of ours!  It was an absolute GREAT Independence Day!  We relaxed by the pool, watched the kiddos swim and play, enjoyed a yummy frozen drink (or two, but who’s counting?!) that Kimmy made with her crazy cool Vitamix, and grilled out some great food!  We grilled shrimp skewers and veggies with a chimichurri sauce.

Grilled Yumminess with Chimichurri sauce

If you’ve never tried chimichurri, it’s an Argentinean sauce similar to pesto.  The basic version uses fresh parsley, garlic, oil, oregano, vinegar and red chili pepper, though the variations are endless.  In Argentina it is used both as a marinade and as a sauce for grilled steak, but we love it on grilled vegetables…especially portobello mushrooms…it is CRAZY good!  We marinate our veggies in it and then serve the left over marinade as a sauce.  Here is our version of a delicious chimichurri sauce:

Chimichurri Sauce ~ Combine:1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped, trimmed of thick stems), 4 Tbsps minced garlic, 2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves chopped (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano), 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes **Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses).  Place in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Use immediately or refrigerate.  If chilled, return to room temperature before serving.  Will keep for a day or two refrigerated.

We also enjoyed an orzo pasta salad made with a greek style vinegar dressing…very earthy & flavorful.  This was a make-as-you-go recipe.  I simply added olives, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts until it looked yummy and colorful.  I let it sit overnight to really bring out the flavors and then I added more sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  It’s a really simple but yummy recipe that can easily be adapted according to your taste.  The recipe is posted below.  :)

Orzo Pasta Salad

My two little people had so much fun!  They have both been asking me all day “Momma, when do we get to go see Miss Kimmy again?!?”  And, as if it was not already apparent, it’s definitely now safe to say that HealthyMamma Kimmy has a couple of pint-sized fans around here!  :)

seriously...could she be any happier?! :)

healthy happy faces!

As the kiddos played we HealthyMammas & HealthyDaddys sat on the patio…and even though we were often interrupted with a “Mamma, where are my swim goggles?” or “Daddy, can I please have a juice box?”…we still managed to have an insightful conversation about life~kids~marriage.  It was prompted by an article in the paper that my husband mentioned.  The article talks about how spending time with friends can help strengthen a marriage and all four of us agreed.  We can all get caught up in the day to day struggles of raising children, marriage, and work.  Unfortunately, sometimes we get so busy potty training one kiddo and practicing reading skills with the other…or trying to respond to all of those darn work emails…that the last thing we remember to do is gaze lovingly into our spouse’s eyes or take the time to really appreciate each other.  But, being with friends…especially ones that you practically consider family…can help you relax a bit and see things from another perspective.  First of all…there are suddenly many more capable hands who can help refill a sippy cup or bandage a boo-boo…it simply takes some of the pressure off and allows you to relax.  Plus, this adult interaction and conversation allow you to see your spouse as not just an amazing father and husband but also simply for the intelligent, entertaining, multifaceted person that he is…and that is really refreshing.  Last, but definitely not least…even though my hubby is my soul mate…he can not be my sole confidant at all times…just as I can not be his.  My friends are my go-to-girls who have stood by my side and helped me through so many ups and downs!  I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Kimmy and my Jenny Jenn!  They mean the world to me and have gotten me through some of my most challenging times.  Friends like these hold you up when times are difficult…so that you can get back to being a good mom and a good wife amid all of the chaos…and there is nothing more supportive than that!  So, while it has often been wisely said that it “takes a village to raise a child”…maybe it should also be said that it “takes a village to nurture a marriage”  :)

an oldie but goodie...one of the best actually. :)

Have a happy & healthy day!  :)  HealthyMamma Melissa

Orzo Pasta Salad
5.0 from 1 reviews
Author: Melissa
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • to taste sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters)
  • 12oz jar artichoke hearts (cut in quarters)
  • 3/4 can black olives (14oz) (cut in quarters)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Cook Pasta according to directions, rinse with cold water, drain well ~ set aside
  2. Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, & olive oil ~ set aside
  3. Combine pasta, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and black olives in a large bowl.
  4. Pour dressing over pasta and mix well.
  5. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving
  6. Taste and adjust salt & pepper to taste (I used quite a bit of sea salt)
  7. Add feta and toss just before serving

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About Melissa

I've been blessed with an amazing husband, Tyler and two amazing children, Mia who is 5yrs old and Luke who is 3yrs old. Our entire family has a passion for food. We see food as a means of nutrition, something wonderful to enjoy and indulge in, and meals...if we are doing them right...serve as a fun social experience too! Food definitely brings this family together!
Our family, as a whole, eats a mostly vegetarian diet...although we do consume meat and fish, on occasion. So, I'm always looking for and trying out new vegetarian and vegan recipes that hopefully all of us will enjoy.
Besides food, we are passionate about gardening. We have an organic veggie garden in our backyard that provides a good portion of the veggies that we consume. The kids love to jump in and get their hands dirty and it's crazy how much they already know about gardening! It makes my husband and me so happy to think that they will (hopefully) carry this experience and lifestyle into their futures.
I'm also passionate about learning new ways to lead a healthy lifestyle and provide one for my family...and, I love sharing these ideas with anyone who is interested in hearing about them! So, as I discover recipes and other healthy happy things I will share them...and when you discover some yourself...I'd love for you to share them with me! :)


  1. Jennifer says:

    Great article sooo true ! Chimichurri sounds delish !!

  2. Kim says:

    Just so ya know… I made the Orzo pasta on Saturday – YUM, YUM, it was a total hit. Today I made a version of the chimichurri sauce. I made it as your recipe describes above, but without the parsley (I didn’t have any) – I stuck it all in the Vitamix and blended away. It was FABULOUS on our portabella mushys and zucchini! :)


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