This Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chicken is one very filling salad that I like to make when I want something more than just a starter. More so, I like Mediterranean dishes, be it something meaty or something simple like this. I used orzo for this pasta salad but it will also work with penne pasta or any big shell pasta. For the vegetables, I used tomato, cucumber and kalamata olives and then I added low of feta cheese. Feta cheese is always a must for me whenever I am making a Mediterranean or Greek style pasta salad. Although can be eaten on its own, I always find it better if I have some protein to go with it. Chicken is my favorite, and it goes pretty well with this salad. You can definitely use leftover chicken, turkey, steak or any meat that you like.
If you are not familiar with Orzo, it is just another kind of short cut pasta that is shaped like a big grain rice, but with a texture of a pasta. There are plenty of ways that you can use orzo, and using it in a salad is just one of them. You can add it in stew, or in a soup you can have it baked like casserole. For me, using it in a salad is a way to go.
This is another easy dinner idea that you can make in less than 1 hour. Let me show you how I made it. Let’s get started!
- 1/2 cup dry Orzo – If you cannot find Orzo, substitute it with any Shell Pasta or Penne Pasta
- 1/4 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
- 1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup Grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup sliced kalamata or black olives
- 1 tbsp chopped red onion, rinsed under water to removed harsh bite
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used between 1/4 – 1/2 tsp fine salt, then 1/8 tsp black pepper)
- 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
Note : You can also use store-bought Balsamic dressing, but I do encourage you to try this one first. It really taste nice with this pasta.
- In a jar or small glass, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Do not add too much salt because the feta and kalamata olives are pretty salty. Set aside.
- Cook orzo pasta according package instructions. (I cooked mine for 10 minutes in a 3 cups of boiling water). Transfer and drain and set aside to completely cool before adding other ingredients.
- If you intend to use it for later time, drizzle it with olive oil and toss just enough to coat the pasta. Cover and set aside.
- Add all of the salad ingredients to the cooked orzo. Pour dressing over top and toss to evenly coat. Taste again and adjust seasoning as needed. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving this will allow the pasta to absorb the dressing better.
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