Greek Chicken Orzo Salad

Greek Chicken Orzo Salad
 
This salad, which my husband and I "created" years ago by combining an orzo salad from Epicurious and a chicken gyros recipe from Food Network's Healthy Eats, is hefty enough to be a meal. It also stands up well, making it the perfect lunchbox addition for kids and adults alike. Orzo is a pasta that's commonly found in avgolemono, or Greek chicken soup, and whole wheat versions are hard to come by. Bump up the fibre by swapping the orzo for a whole grain like brown rice, barley or cavena nuda. For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and swap in a can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) for extra protein.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad, Chicken, Main Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Makes: 8-12 servings
Ingredients
Chicken
  • 1 ½ lb (680 g) boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Dressing
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) honey
  • ½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
Salad
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water
  • 1 lb (454 g) orzo
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) green onions, chopped
  • 7 oz (200 g) feta cheese, cut into ½" cubes (about 1½ cups)
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Cut chicken into pieces and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, oregano, zest and juice from lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (can make ahead and refrigerate overnight).
  2. When ready, heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Dressing
  1. To make dressing, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Salad
  1. Prepare orzo by bringing water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse in cold water to cool down and rinse off excess starch. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients and cooked chicken into orzo. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chilled.

 

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