I don’t eat a ton of pasta salad but last night I was craving something fast and healthy with a Greek twist. I remembered I had some Persian cucumbers as well as a red pepper, feta and shrimp. Then I started thinking about a vacation to Greece and got distracted…Ah, if only I was lounging on a beach in Greece under a hot summer sun and gazing out onto a sparkling blue sea while eating this Orzo salad. I’ll just keep dreaming…back to my kitchen! This isn’t really a detailed recipe, just what I whipped up – it could be modified and/or certain ingredients could be substituted to fit what you have in your pantry or fridge.
First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. While rummaging around in the pantry I found some orzo pasta. Orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta – so little and cute. I boiled some salted water and cooked the orzo for about 9 minutes. While the orzo was cooking I chopped up two small Persian cucumbers (Persian cucumbers are nearly seedless which is why I love them), half a red pepper and 1/4 of a red onion and let them hang out together in a large bowl. Please note, I wasn’t making a ton, but if you were making this for a large group, I’d probably use the whole red pepper, maybe half the onion and a couple more cucumbers. I just eyeballed everything…typical! I also chopped up some feta cheese into tiny squares to add once everything was ready to go.
Next it was on to the simple dressing. I combined olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, pepper, a little honey, one clove grated garlic and fresh thyme from the garden. Make as little or much as you want depending on how many people you are feeding. Typical ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Set aside.
I placed the shrimp on a sheet pan I covered in aluminum foil and coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a few splashes of fresh lemon juice. After pasta has cooked for about three minutes, slip the shrimp in the oven and cook for 5-6 minutes. Don’t overcook them! Once the shrimp are done your pasta should be finished cooking as well. Drain pasta and let sit for a tiny bit.
Time to mix everything together. Pour dressing over the pasta. I tried to cool my pasta down a little as you don’t want the feta cheese to get creamy. Add in the cucumber, red pepper, onion, feta and shrimp. Adjust for seasoning, you may want to add a little more cracked pepper and salt like I did.
Finito! Simple, tasty, healthy, fresh and definitely tasting like summer. Enjoy!