This Lemon Orzo Salad is made with risoni / orzo, tossed through with the fixings of a Greek salad then drizzled with a bright zesty lemon vinaigrette. Serve it with a simple piece of grilled protein – or go all out and use a Greek yoghurt marinated chicken or Souvlaki!
I was going to post a cozy recipe today but it’s a stinking hot day here in Sydney (sorry to rub it in if you’re suffering through winter! 😉 ) and I literally can’t look at a big steaming pot of comfort food to even write up a recipe. So I’m saving it for next week when the weather cools down!
I know it was only last Monday when I posted One Pot Italian Chicken with Risoni (PS Risoni in Australia = Orzo in much of the rest of the world) but I wanted to use up the leftover risoni. I had planned to make a Greek Salad and on a whim, decided to change it up a bit by adding risoni and switching to a slightly thicker dressing. Liked it so much that I went and got another packet of risoni so I could make it again to photograph it.
Now I have more leftover risoni. 🙄 The vicious cycle of life as a food blogger. #FirstWorldProblems
Risoni is little rice shaped pasta which I adore because a) there is such a high dressing / sauce to pasta ratio compared to other larger pastas and b) it can be eaten with a spoon. What is it about non-soup food that can be eaten with a spoon that makes it so enjoyable? Oh wait – is it just me?
I do note that despite this chatter about you can shovel this down with a spoon, I’ve shot this with a fork. 😜 Because I added a side of chicken. And in all honesty, 2 seconds after I took this shot, I shoved the chicken to the side, took a small unsatisfying scoop with the fork, then switched straight over to a spoon so I could get a proper mouthful. 😁
This Lemon Orzo Salad is sort of a Greek Salad with orzo added. I say “sort of” because Greek Salad is dressed with a simple dressing made with just red wine vinegar and olive oil. No thickener – you don’t need it when you have chunks of tomato to soak up the dressing.
However, in this case, I decided to use a lemon vinaigrette thickened slightly with mustard so it clings to the little pieces of risoni better. Also, the bright zesty flavour of lemon adds so much to the flavour.
I served this with Greek Yoghurt marinated chicken using my Gyros recipe. If you’ve never tried yoghurt marinated chicken before, you’re missing out! Yoghurt is a sensational secret for flavour and tenderising meat. It’s safer than acids like lemon and vinegar (which can turn meat to mush if over marinated), infuses with more flavour and the chicken comes out beautifully tender.
I have to stop talking about chicken. This post is about the SALAD! And if you try it, tell me what you toss into it! – Nagi x
PPS Rather than making a separate marinade for the chicken, a time saving tip is to double the dressing recipe and use half to marinate the chicken. If you cut into strips or pound to make it thin, then it only needs 20 minutes or so. 👍🏻
- 1 cup / 200g risoni / orzo pasta
- 350g / 12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 large tomatoes)
- 2 Lebanese / Persian cucumbers, diced
- 150g / 5 oz firm feta, cut into ½cm/ ½" cubes
- ¼ - ½ red onion, cut into wedges and sliced thinly
- 1 green capsicum/bell pepper, cut into 3 cm / 2.25" strips (Note 1)
- 150g/5oz whole black olives, seed in (adjust qty to taste)
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or other mild mustard)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Place Dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Set aside for 10+ minutes.
- Cook orzo / risoni per packet directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking further. Drain well.
- Place orzo and remaining Salad ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve!
2. This makes enough to serve 3 as a meal or 6-8 as a side.
3. This would also be spectacular dressed with Honey Mustard Dressing, French Vinaigrette or Italian Dressing. Especially the Honey Mustard because it's so thick, it will make this really indulgent!
4. I served this with yoghurt marinated chicken from my Chicken Gyros recipe. It would also be fantastic with Souvlaki. Otherwise, rather than making a separate marinade for the chicken, a time saving tip is to double the dressing recipe and use half to marinate the chicken. If you cut into strips or pound to make it thin, then it only needs 20 minutes or so.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings.
Lemon Orzo Salad nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings.
LIFE OF DOZER
Attempt to keep him cool…. He hasn’t quite figured out this whole baby pool thing yet…..