When I set out to make an orzo salad recipe, of course I wanted it to be delicious. And sure, I wanted it to be quick to prepare, because hey, I was using orzo for a reason: it’s as small as a grain of rice, so it cooks up in no time. But I never expected it to be the best orzo salad recipe ever…or for it to be one of my favorite side dishes of all time.
I think it’s the fragrant mint and sweet basil. Or maybe the creamy cool feta cheese. It could be the bright and zingy lemon vinaigrette that the orzo gets tossed with to give it a real freshness. It’s too hard to choose. To bump up the protein, I added chickpeas, and to perk up the texture, I threw in crispy-crunchy red onion and celery.
Everyone who ate this minted orzo salad with chickpeas and feta raved about it! For a salad that requires so little cooking/prep time, taste greats hot or cold, and works even better when you make it ahead of time, you can’t go wrong here. Next time you want a sure-fire win for a potluck, just boil up some orzo in chicken broth (instant flavor booster!), whisk up the simple lemon vinaigrette, and toss it all with mint, feta, and a few other fresh ingredients!
Minted Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Feta
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 medium red onion finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 large celery stalk finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Boil the orzo in the chicken broth until tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
- Combine the orzo with the chickpeas, feta, red onion, celery, basil, and mint in a large bowl.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and pulse until well combined and emulsified. Pour over the orzo salad and toss to coat. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend before serving at room temperature or even chilled.