Refreshing Orzo Salad

Refreshing Orzo Salad

Orzo salad is a vibrant Mediterranean dish, perfect for a light lunch or side. Packed with fresh veggies, herbs, and hearty orzo pasta, it’s both nutritious and satisfying. Featuring kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, feta, chickpeas, mint, and spinach, this salad bursts with flavor. The lemon-dill dressing ties it all together for a refreshing and protein-rich meal. Enjoy this easy and delicious recipe for any occasion!

Yield: serves 6-8 as a side dish or 4-6 as a main dish
Prep Time: approximately 30 minutes, including cooking the orzo and preparing the ingredients

 

Ingredients:

  • Salad:

    • 1 cup orzo pasta
    • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 1 cup artichoke hearts cut in halves or fours (depends on size)
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 cup feta cheese (or vegan alternative), crumbled
    • 1 cup chickpeas or lentils, cooked
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
    • 1 cup spinach, thinly chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Dressing:

    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Orzo:

    • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package instructions, usually about 8-10 minutes, until al dente.
    • Drain and rinse the orzo under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Dressing:

    • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, minced red onion, ground black pepper, and chopped dill.
  3. Assemble the Salad:

    • In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, kalamata olives, cucumber, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, chickpeas or lentils, mint, spinach, bell pepper, and fennel.
    • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine all ingredients evenly.
  4. Serve:

    • Let the salad sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Crunchy Mama Tip:

For an added boost of flavor and nutrients, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds on top of your orzo salad. They add a lovely crunch and make the salad even more satisfying. Enjoy!

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