Orzo, Spinach and Feta Salad

Chicken, Orzo and Feta Salad
Just when Mr. B fixed my oven, the temperatures have started to heat up, a clear sign that spring is coming to an end and the hot summer days are just around the corner. Our house is inching ever closer to 100 years old and while I like the historic details, not having air conditioning isn't one of them. Staying relatively cool isn't an issue if we keep the house tightly shut, but turning on the oven is a big no-no.

Not to worry. Hot days and warm nights give me good cause to hang out in the pool, which means less dinner preparation and of course, lighter fare. Mr. B picks up my slack by manning the grill and usually cooks extra meat or chicken so we can toss it into a salad later in the week. This salad is one that regularly graces our summer menu--orzo tossed with grilled chicken, tomatoes, olives, peas, fresh spinach and feta--because it's filling, easy, and delicious.

Orzo is often mistaken as a grain, but it's not. Instead, it's a very small pasta. It cooks up quickly and it's versatile. Mr. B craves this salad and often begs me to make it for him. Lucky for him, it's on the menu tonight.

Mel's Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1 box of Orzo, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup of frozen peas, thawed
1/3 of a cup of coarsely chopped, pitted Kalmata olives
1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons diced red onions
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced in small pieces
4 cups of baby spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon picked fresh oregano, finely chopped
handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
sliced, grilled chicken (breasts or thighs)
feta cheese
olive oil
rice wine vinegar
fresh lemon
salt and coarse ground pepper

1. Place orzo in a large bowl and dress with olive oil, rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Stir in peas, olives, tomatoes, onions, cucumber and spinach.
3. Add fresh herbs and chicken; toss.
4. Add additional olive oil until well dressed, but not over dressed; add a few squeezes of fresh lemon; toss.
5. Just before serving, top with crumbled feta cheese.
6. Serve with grilled bread.


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