You will absolutely love this versatile and nutritious salad from the very first bite. Packed with tons of healthy veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, olives, red bell peppers and shallots, it is as good for you as it is flavorful.
I chop a full cup of fresh herbs like dill, parsley and mint to enhance the colors and taste. Roast a pound of shrimp, cook a cup of orzo, toss in toasted pine nuts and a fantastic lemony vinaigrette- dinner done early in the day. Enjoy tonight for dinner and the next day for lunch.
It’ll taste even better tomorrow.
Don’t have shrimp. Shred up some cooked chicken. Make it your own- try artichokes, avocado, peas, black olives or pruple onion. This will soon become a regular in your dinner rotation. Perfect for a picnic, potluck or a pick me up for a friend.
- For the shrimp
1 Lb medium shrimp- peeled and deviened, uncooked
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
- For the lemon vinaigrette
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lemon- about 1/4 cup
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry oregano
1/4 red pepper flakes
- FOR THE SALAD
1 cup dry orzo, cooked al dente
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, seeed and cubed
2 cups green olives, drained
1 shallot, cut into rings
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/8 cup mint leaves, torn into pieces
8 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
*1 small can chick peas, drained
* If desired, see chef’s notes about roasting chick peas
Method- Prep Time 1 hour. Cooking time 15 minutes
- Cook orzo until al dente. Drain, place in a large bowl.
- Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Place prepared shrimp on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 TBSP olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Roast at 425 for 5-7 minutes. Do not over cook. Cut in half and add to orzo.
- Add cucumber, red bell peppers, olives, shallots and cherry tomatoes and chopped herbs to the orzo. Add chickpeas, if not roasting them. If roasting chickpeas see step number 6.
- In a large jar wide mouth add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, fennel seed, garlic salt, kosher salt, coriander and red pepper flakes and oregano. With an immersion blender process the mixture in the jar until fully emulsified. You can also make this dressing in a blender.
Test for flavor add more olive oil or lemon juice if desired.
Pour vinaigrette over orzo and vegetables. Toss well. Chill until serving time.
- Just before serving, toss in feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and roasted chickpeas.
Salad last three to four days in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
- To roast chickpeas. Drain and rinse them well. Pat dry. Place chickpeas on a large baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 2 TBSP olive oil and 1/2 tsp cumin. Roast at 425 for 10 minutes for slightly toasted result or 20 minutes for crunchy chickpeas- they are almost as crunchy as Corn Nuts ( remember those- by much healthier).
Store roasted chickpeas in an dry air tight container. They last 1-2 days.