Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lemony Orzo Veggie Salad with Chicken, Dill, and Goat Cheese

Something about the warmer sunnier weather made me want to use my stove and oven as little as possible this week.  This orzo salad is wonderfully light, zesty, and flavorful.  A perfect dish for the spring!  I really love orzo but I find it's not that satisfying in an entree.  Luckily here the pile of veggies and chicken help bulk up this dish.  Jeez it seems like just yesterday I was eating only soup and bacon.  But with flavors and textures like this I don't even miss them...too much.

Servings: Original recipe says 4 but come on!  It's 4 if you're using this as a side dish maybe.  This was an easy 2 meals for me.

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 lemons, juiced/squeezed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup shredded chicken
1/2 cup cucumbers, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup red onions, chopped (optional)


  • Cook 3/4 cup orzo according to package directions but omit the salt and fat.  When done, rinse with cold water and drain.  Either return to cooled pot or in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl combine 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind, juice from 2 lemons, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp honey, and 1/8 tsp black pepper.  
  • Drizzle lemon mixture over the orzo and toss until well coated. 
  • Add 1 cup chicken, 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers, 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers, 1/3 cup chopped green onions, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, 1 tbsp fresh dill, and 1/2 cup chopped red onions (optional - I had leftover chopped red onion from a previous recipe and I love onions so I added it in but of course keep in mind that adding raw onions in addition to the green onions, garlic and goat cheese will make your breath afterwards very, um, interesting).  Toss until well mixed.  
  • Add 1/2 cup goat cheese (I enjoy the cheese of a goat (as does Rosy I discovered tonight when I dropped a crumb) but for those who don't like it I think feta would make a great substitute) and gently stir in.  
  • This is already flavorful but I like to top each bowl with a little bit of extra black pepper.  
Prepare to be guilt tripped by pathetic pugs, especially if one managed to sneak a taste of the goat cheese and loved it so much she proceeded to lick the spot where the cheese was for a solid minute.
The girls are lucky that I'm so good to them!  I put away a couple tiny bites of chicken for them before adding it to the orzo.  Look at their faces!  They're not even excited, they're just focused.  Eye on the prize!
Nom nom nom!
Adapted from My Recipes.

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