This dish has been my main squeeze all summer. I literally cannot stop making/eating/talking about it. Truly simple to assemble, but it does require SOME patience to endure prep/chopping. The original recipe comes from my kitchen hero Ina Garten and can be found in her book Barefoot Contessa At Home. The adjustments I’ve applied to the recipe were originally made out of necessity (forgot an ingredient), impulse (felt like trying something), and the desire for my toddler to eat green things (she still won’t).
I use shallot rather than red onion, prefer less scallions, and add in diced spicy chicken. My favorite way to eat this recipe is paired with a spicy protein, be it chicken or shrimp. It is all things in each bite – spicy, refreshing, lemony, herby, salty. We have this great Nashville hot chicken spice blend and I marinate my chicken with this seasoning, then grill it and stir the cubed chicken into the salad. Or grill your chicken/shrimp and serve this as your side FTW.
Ina Garten’s Herbed Orzo with Feta
The Ultimate Summer Salad
- 3/4 pound orzo
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- the juice of 3 lemons, about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup diced shallot
- 1 cup chopped dill
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 medium English cucumber, diced
- approx. 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tsp salt
- black pepper
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Prep all the herbs and veggies and set aside.
Boil water and cook orzo until al dente, then drain.
Pour the oil/lemon mixture over the hot orzo and gently stir to combine. You want to add the liquid when the orzo is hot so it absorbs into the pasta.
Add the herbs and veggies and stir to combine.
Add the feta at the end and gently mix.
I prefer a creamy feta, such as Valbreso, with this recipe. Allow salad to sit at room temperature before serving. It is best after sitting for at least an hour so all the flavors have time to blend. Add chicken or shrimp along with the feta in the last step.