Summer is full blown and lately, so is my salad game. Most of my meals this summer have been exciting, nourishing bowls of local and seasonal produce-all in salad form. I hope that by now, that we have dropped the notion that salads are boring because that assumption is so far from the truth. There are no rules to salad making and when anything goes, there’s no room for boredom.
Take this spin of mine on a traditional Greek salad. I wanted to create a meal, not just a salad. I wanted to be sure to include all the nutrients necessary to keep us full, satisfied, and energized. I have only recently started cooking with orzo and I’m so in love with it. I buy locally made orzo (also known as risoni) and it’s made from organic durum wheat and organic farm fresh, free-run eggs. This pasta is short-cut and its shape takes on the resemblance of a thick grain of rice. It’s a great option for any and all cold dishes, soups, pilafs, and casseroles. Due to the egg content, there is a generous amount of protein packed in these little pasta cuts. For this salad, I went above and beyond and also added in some lentils for a source of exquisite plant-based protein and added fibre.
This recipe is a fabulous candidate for potlucks, parties, picnics, beach days, or just any old regular day where it’s hot as hell outside. Cold dishes are so very much appreciated in this heat and make for easy, stress-free meal options. There are also other suggestions for this salad. You can add quality pitted olives and they are a fabulous source of healthy fats. Some traditional Greek salads use bell peppers so the addition of a green and red bell pepper is also something to consider. You can boost the nutritional value even more so by adding in finely chopped leafy greens. And lastly, to keep this recipe plant-based, use quinoa instead of orzo and omit the feta cheese-it won’t be missed, I promise.
Greek Orzo Salad with Lentils
*Generously serves 4
3.5 cups cooked orzo
2 garden cucumbers, chopped (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
1 1⁄2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1⁄2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup green onion, chopped (optional)
14 ounce can of organic green or brown lentils, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup if cooked from
1/4 cup feta cheese
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄2-1 tsp. red chili flakes (or more or less depending on desired heat)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Stir in the dressing and mix thoroughly. Serve cold and enjoy.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”