Raise your hand if it’s hotter than Hades where you live right now. Oooh, me! Me! (Although let it be known that it doesn’t take very high numbers on the thermometer to put this Seattle wimp girl out of her element.) It’s been in the high 90′s here and that’s hot enough for me to hide out in my air-conditioned house and avoid even (gasp!) the bbq- which you all know is my go-to summer cooking method. So it’s at times like these where I turn to easy meals that require minimal cooking, yet are still satisfying. One way to do that is to sneak a little pasta in there. I say “sneak” because this salad is full of lean protein and fresh veggies and the orzo pasta adds substance and bulk without giving you the feeling that you just ate a big bowl of noodles. Similar in principle to this great noodle salad.
This salad tastes so fresh and light, yet it’s filling at the same time. If you’ve never cooked with Orzo before, it’s a pasta that you can find in the regular pasta aisle. It usually comes in a small box.
The actual pasta pieces look like large grains of rice.
So start by boiling some of that up. While your orzo is cooking, slice up a red pepper, some cucumber, green onions and a quick dressing that’s as bright and fresh as the lemons that go in it.
Toss it all together and top with a little feta cheese. The tangy feta really compliments the fresh lemon juice.
This makes a great light dinner or lunch and a terrific pot-luck salad since it lasts a while and won’t wilt like other types of salads.
Lemon-Orzo Salad with Veggies and Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light
3/4 C uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp honey
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 C cooked shredded or diced boneless, skinless chicken
1/2 C diced cucumber
1/2 C diced red bell pepper
1/3 C sliced green onions
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. Drain and place in a large salad bowl.
While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
Add chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, and dill to pasta. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Divide onto 4 plates and sprinkle with feta.
Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 1/4 C)
Protein 18.2 g
Weight Watchers Points: 6