Lemon Orzo Salad
By Chef Lippe
Now that the kids are on summer vacation we spend a lot of time at the beach and need some good picnic food. This salad is fun and easy to make and you can make it with any vegetables and server it warm or cold. It travels well without spoiling because it has olive oil instead of heavy mayonnaise. The kids love it because I let them pick out the color of the orzo (red, white, green) and the vegetables that we use. One time we had spinach orzo with yellow corn and red tomatoes. Today we are having white orzo with green peas, artichoke and white beans with lemon flavored olive oil. You can add chicken or shrimp to either dish if you have some way to keep it cold until you serve it at the beach.
Enjoy the water!
1/2 pound orzo pasta
1 cup cooked fresh peas (or frozen peas if you are in a hurry to get to the beach)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
2 cups arugula
sea salt (try lemon or garlic flavored sea salt)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil lemon flavored
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season the water with some salt, then cook the orzo pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes). Drain well and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Add the peas, artichokes, white beans, and arugula on top of the orzo and season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Add the lemon olive oil. Toss with a spoon until all the ingredients are well combined. It’s ready to serve, but tastes best if made a few hours or even the night before so flavors can really develop. Add some crumbled feta cheese or shaved parmesan if you like just before you serve it.
Here is another version that is good on its own or as a bed for a nice piece of grilled salmon.
1 cup orzo
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly flavored Lemon Olive Oil
8 asparagus spears, chopped
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1/3 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges or slices, to garnish (optional)
Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Stir in orzo. Cook until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Sauté garlic in 1 teaspoon Lemon Olive Oil over medium heat. Add asparagus pieces and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in spinach. Continue cooking until the asparagus is tender and the spinach wilts.
Stir together orzo and vegetables in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining teaspoon of Lemon Olive Oil. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top of the salad.