Friday, September 9, 2011

Greek Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad

This, right here, is the kind of food I crave. Lots of people crave sweets (and that happens to me occasionally), but I usually crave things that are tangy, sour, and savory. That bowl of food, right there? It’s my idea of perfection.

For weeks, I couldn’t get my mind off of a gigantic Greek salad with all the fixins: cucumber, red onion, feta, a tangy vinaigrette. I finally got around to putting it on our menu, but when I spotted some orzo in the cupboard, I decided to make a pasta salad rather than a traditional lettuce-based one. I basically emptied out the fridge and the pantry with this one, composing the salad with what I had on hand: half a cucumber, a couple of handfuls of feta crumbles, a can of green olives, half a red pepper and half a red onion. I also stirred in some chicken that I marinated and grilled, and topped it all off with a tangy, slightly sweet red wine vinaigrette.

This was so incredibly good, I can’t even begin to explain it. Even the boys ate more than their share. The char on the chicken added such wonderful flavor to the salad. The wonderful thing about orzo is that it plumps up so much when you cook it, so just using a couple of cups yielded enough pasta salad for me to take the leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week. Some baby spinach would be delicious stirred in here too.

Greek Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups orzo
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups pitted green olives, sliced (you could use black or kalamata, but I prefer the flavor and brininess of the green; these are our favorite)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes. Grill chicken until cooked through, then dice.

2. Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions in boiling salted water; drain in a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, the red wine vinegar, the honey, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. To assemble the salad, stir together the orzo, chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, olives and feta. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate until serving.

One year ago: Broccoli, salami, and mozzarella pizza pockets


pharmacy reviews said...

I had a Greek girlfriend some years ago and one of the reasons I loved her was because she made the best Greek Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad mmmm!

Denise @ Creative Kitchen said...

This looks incredible! I love pimento cheese but never thought of making it into a sauce.....brilliant!! :)