Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad with Avocado and Arugula

I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this orzo salad was! It was the first meal I made since before I had the baby (unless you count cheese quesadillas as a meal..). For the first couple weeks after having Wendy all I wanted to do was eat something super quick and easy, such as frozen pizza. Well, that got old fast. I decided I was ready to start cooking again and that I wanted to eat healthier. I went out to the grocery store with a list of healthy ingredients in hand. It felt good to get out of the house all by myself (yes, I'll admit it) and I'll even admit that I took my time at the store! I had this salad in mind when I did my shopping, but the cauliflower didn't look too hot and I couldn't find farro, so I decided I'd just go with a a different type of salad. Greg was amazed with how good the salad was. I think he commented like five times while he was eating it on how much he loved it. And usually I have to ask him f he likes something I made or not! This salad is super easy to make and it's incredibly healthy. It reminded me a little of this awesome salad I made a couple summers ago, that has quinoa and asparagus. Make the orzo salad vegan by leaving out the feta! Enjoy.

Recipe for Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad with Avocado and Arugula
2 cups of dried orzo
1 1/2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp. of kosher salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. of oil from sun dried tomato jar
12 - 16 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
16 - 20 kalamata olives, chopped
Desired amount of feta cheese (I like a lot), crumbled
Desired amount of baby arugula (I recommend a couple handfuls a serving)
2 avocados, sliced
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin

Cook the orzo according to package directions. While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon juice, and sun dried tomato oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Once orzo is finished cooking, drain it of any excess water and then immediately transfer to a large bowl. Allow it to cool slightly while you chop the sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Then toss the orzo with the dressing and add in the sun dried tomatoes and olives. Toss again. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Just before taking it out of the fridge, slice the avocados and cucumbers.

Put the arugula leaves, cucumber slices, and avocado slices on a plate(s). Drizzle on a little bit of olive oil and a couple squeezes of lemon juice (just a tiny amount). Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top. Top with a generous amount of the orzo. Add the crumbled feta on top. Serve with your favorite bread.

Recipe makes about 4 - 6 servings. 

Recipe Adapted from: Cookie and Kate