By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

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Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Pasta salad is a picnic staple, but the classic combination of pasta and vegetables tossed in vinaigrette can get a little humdrum. Here’s a Greek-inspired version that packs a punch with crumbled feta cheese, fresh basil vinaigrette and smoky grilled shrimp. Take the salad along at your next tailgate gathering or serve it at home as a side dish with grilled halibut fillets.

  • 1 pound orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces crumbled regular or reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 metal or bamboo skewers (soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Combine orzo, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions in a large serving bowl.

Place vinegar, basil, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend to puree the basil. Slowly add the oil and blend to emulsify. Pour vinaigrette over pasta and fold lightly to coat. Fold in the cheese.

Heat grill to high. Place shrimp on skewers, brush with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Add the shrimp to the salad and serve. (Salad can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.)

Makes 6 servings.