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.
- 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
- ¼ cup (60 mL) red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
- 1 tsp (5 mL) honey
- ½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
- 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)
- 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).
- 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.
- To make dressing, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- 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.
- Mix remaining ingredients and cooked chicken into orzo. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chilled.