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spring orzo salad

Spring Orzo Salad

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti

Description

This salad gets better as it rests, so making it several hours in advance will give the lemon-herb vinaigrette a chance to marinate into all the components, resulting in a flavorful salad. Remember that a little dressing goes a long way, so add it incrementally, toss to distribute the dressing throughout the salad, and taste until the salad is dressed to your liking. Be sure to use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil. To make this salad vegan, simply omit the  ricotta salata cheese.


Ingredients

Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

  • Zest of 1 large lemon (preferably organic)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ⅔ cup (150 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon finely sliced chives
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Salad

  • 1  15.5 ounce (439 grams) can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and patted dry
  • 1 ½ cups (282 grams) orzo pasta
  • 1  14 ounce (396 grams) can artichoke hearts (in water), drained, patted dry, and halved
  • 1  2.25 ounce (64 grams) can sliced black olives, drained (or other olive of your choice)
  • Small handful grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon finely sliced chives
  • Crumbled ricotta salata cheese (optional)

Instructions

Make the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

Grate the lemon zest into a small mixing bowl and add in the lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Whisk until all the mustard is completely incorporated into the lemon juice and the mixture is smooth. While whisking constantly, pour in the olive oil in a thin, steady stream and continue whisking until the vinaigrette is homogenous. Add in the parsley, dill, chives, salt, and pepper and whisk to incorporate the ingredients throughout the vinaigrette. Set aside.

Assemble the salad

  1. Place the drained and rinsed chickpeas in a small mixing bowl and add in 2 Tablespoons of the lemon-herb vinaigrette. Toss to coat the chickpeas evenly with the vinaigrette. Set aside to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in 1 Tablespoon of salt. Cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces, leaving the tips intact. Add the peas and asparagus pieces to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, strain the vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Keep the water in the pot boiling and add in 1 additional Tablespoon of salt.
  3. Add the orzo into the pot of boiling water and stir well to keep the orzo from clumping together. Cook the orzo, stirring frequently, until it is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Strain the orzo through a colander and transfer it to the mixing bowl containing the peas and asparagus. Add 3-4 Tablespoons of the lemon-herb vinaigrette and toss the orzo, peas, and asparagus to coat them evenly with the dressing.
  4. Add in the marinated chickpeas, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, parsley, dill, chives, and ricotta salata (if using), and toss to incorporate all the ingredients evenly throughout the salad. Add in more of the lemon-herb vinaigrette 1 Tablespoon at a time until the salad is dressed to your liking. Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl and serve at room temperature.