Saturday, June 23, 2012

Orzo Salad with Artichokes,Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Feta, and Lemon Basil Dressing

I was looking for a pasta side dish to serve at our Father's Day dinner along with the Sausage & Pepper Wedges, potato salad, corn-on-the cob and garden salad.  I found this recipe and thought it was different with the chickpeas and lemon basil dressing.  It seemed like a light salad side dish and was different than most pasta salad recipes I've seen.  I have two small basil plants that my mother gave me, growing in a container on my deck.  Unfortunately, I assumed that I'd have enough basil leaves to make the dressing for this and didn't.  So, as seen in the pic below, it was lacking a little in the basil flavor!  I opted to serve this dish room temperature.  Orzo is a quick cooking pasta so this dish was fast and easy to prepare.  Overall, it wasn't bad.  It was definitely a light side dish and the flavors were a nice change from the mayo or Italian dressing based macaroni salads that I'm used to. 

Orzo Salad with Artichokes,Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Feta, and Lemon Basil Dressing
recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Basil Dressing:
3/4 cup basil leaves, packed
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Drain completely and transfer the orzo to a large bowl.

2. Add the chickpeas, artichokes, tomatoes, and feta cheese to the orzo. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

3. To make the dressing: in a blender or food processor, blend the basil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined.

4. Pour dressing over orzo salad and stir until well combined. Serve salad immediately or chilled.

Family Rating: 1 thumb up.

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