Well folks we are smack dab in the middle of summer and I have just the dish for you to take to your next picnic or party. It is light, delicious and beautiful. So some of you know I like to make soup and I have this one soup Greek Lemon Chicken that is by far the favorite and most requested. It is a twist on the tradition chicken noodle and it is amazing. Maybe this winter I will teach you how to make it but now it is just too hot outside for soup.
I wanted to see if I could get all the flavors of that beloved soup into a cold dish. I CANNOT wait for you to try it. Once again I am not the best at measuring or writing my recipes down but writing this blog for you has helped me with that.
Just look at these amazing ingredients. How could it be bad right? Oh and I forgot to add the spinach in the main picture so here it is also.
The best part of making this dish is it is quick and easy. In the time it takes the orzo pasta (orzo is rice shaped pasta but you could easily substitute and shape you would like) to boil you can chop all the veggies and make the dressing. This is a 10-minute dish.
I like to try and chop all the veggies in approximately equal sized pieces. It will add continuity to the dish. I halved the grape tomatoes and diced the cucumber and pepper. I did use the entire bag of spinach and just did a rough chop on it.
I also like to use a block of feta and not the pre-crumbled stuff. It is creamier and I like to have large chunks, but that is just me.
If you like pine nuts (which you would be crazy if you didn’t unless you are allergic. I won’t judge your allergies. You can’t help it. Like you can’t help being short or too tall) You will want to toast them in a dry skillet for a few minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY from this pan. I swear if you turn your head to check your phone or yell at your kids all these little nuts will in unison burn to a crisp and be ruined. If you do burn them just toss them in the trash. They will taste awful.
Next drain the roasted red peppers and olives and toss them in the bowl with the veggies. Chop a good handful of fresh dill and add to bowl. Wow look how pretty this looks already.
I like to zest a few lemons into the bowl. It really adds well a zest of flavor. It is called that for a reason.
Next comes to dressing. You can whisk or use a blender or an immersion blender. Toss in some garlic (I like the one in the tube for dressing since it is mashed up. Never the stuff in the jar. Yuck) then a good-sized teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I only had some spicy German mustard on hand so I used that. The mustard helps the acid and oil in dressing emulsify (fancy work for coming together). Then squeeze a ton of lemons. I used about 6 or so. I like a lot of dressing. Add a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar some salt and pepper then olive oil.
Blend it all together and it will look like this. Okay I may have made too much but it is so good you will want to use it on salads, as a marinade for chicken or shrimp or just take shots of it. Well maybe not that. Geez
Ok, now toss the drained orzo in with the veggies and pour in the dressing. Do not pour it in all at once. Pour a little then stir and taste. You can always add more but cannot take it out if you add too much. I feel like I am holding your hands a little too tightly. You know this stuff.
Now add the toasted non-burnt pine nuts. Wow this is down right fantastic. Put it in a pretty bowl and proudly take this to your neighbors for a cookout. I did.
Greek Lemon Orzo Salad
1 lb Orzo Pasta cooked and drained
1 English cucumber diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 package grape or cherry tomatoes halved
I good sized block of Feta cheese diced
Handful of fresh dill
1 bag of baby spinach
I jar of kalamata olives drained
1 jar roasted red peppers drained
1 jar or package of Pine Nuts toasted
zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 5-6 lemons
I clove of garlic mashed
Tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
dash of salt and pepper
equal amount of olive oil ( just measure lemon juice and vinegar)
blend it up. YUM