Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recipe for the Un-Brown, Un-Crap Mediterreanean Chicken Orzo Salad

So, if I hadn't been such a lazy waste of skin the other day, this is what the real orzo salad recipe would have looked like. It's good. Especially on a hot summer night when you want something cool and fresh for dinner.

Mediterreanean Chicken Salad

serves 2-3 very good eaters, can easily be doubled

1/2 pound orzo

1/3 of a red onion, chopped
1 cup of any of the following: english cucumber, chopped; frozen peas, thawed
or artichoke hearts, chopped...but I've also made it with leftover grilled zucchini and eggplant--works too.
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper, jarred
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2-2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil, whichever you prefer
1 cup chopped cooked chicken, either rotisserie leftovers, poached or grilled, your choice
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional, but I like the crunch they give)

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
1 teardrop of honey
dash salt/pepper

Cook the orzo as per package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, set aside.

While the orzo cooks, chop the salad ingredients. If you don't want to make your own viniagrette, use your favorite bottled brand, but it's so easy to make your own, why not? Plus, bottled varieties usually use shitty olive oil.

Toss orzo with salad ingredients (except for pine nuts) and add half of the viniagrette. If it seems dry, add more. If not, save it for later because the salad will soak up the dressing as it sits. Add more whenever it seems to get dry.

Chill salad for at least an hour to let flavors combine. When it's chilled, taste and add salt/pepper as needed. Feta and olives are salty, so you may not need more salt, but I always add more pepper. Toss in pine nuts.

Best served with a cold beer or glass of wine with someone you love, and maybe some warm bread.


  1. I make a very similar orzo salad and it's always a hit! Cherry tomatoes add a nice shape and flavor to it.

  2. Yeah, I like the little "pop!" in your mouth you get from the grape tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

    You know what was hard? Putting down in a recipe exact measures. I always just throw a bunch of stuff together and never wonder I'm a baking disaster!

  3. OK, I think this is something I could actually do. I can't wait to try it. I'll let you know how it goes...