Saturday, June 8, 2013

O is for: Orzo with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Feta & Pine Nuts

As you know, I've been trying to eat a little healthier these days. But something I've always said is that healthy food doesn't have to sacrifice the taste.

Take this delicious orzo salad for instance. I subbed out whole wheat orzo for the regular stuff and only used a half cup of it (dry). The rest is packed with things like olives, sun dried tomatoes, a little feta and some pine nuts. Each serving is only 100 calories, 9 grams of carbs, and almost two grams of protein.

I love making something like this and then eating it as leftovers for the next couple days alongside a lean protein like chicken or fish. I've found it's definitely easier to eat healthy when you sort of plan out your meals like this. (And it keeps me from ordering chicken caesar salad wraps at the ESPN caf. :))

This recipe goes super fast. All you need are some pine nuts, Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, lemon, parsley, red onion, feta...and of course the orzo. (And please excuse my half-in-focus photo. My lens is super finicky with depth of field :)).

I opted for whole wheat orzo to make this a little healthier. I found this one at Whole Foods and I only used a half cup of dry orzo in this salad. Boil it according to package directions until al dente. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

From there, it's just a matter of mixing everything together. I used the type of sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil already, so I didn't feel like this needed any additional olive oil. However, if you were using tomatoes not packed in oil you might want to add some. Garnish with some lemon zest and parsley.

The great thing about this salad is it can be served hot, at room temperature, or even cold. I served it alongside some grilled chicken and asparagus. It would also be great with lamb burgers or stuffed chicken breasts. It's perfect for a summer BBQ or just an easy side for a weeknight meal. This makes about 8 small side servings (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup), and each contains just 100 calories. (And if you go back for seconds like me, it's still only 200 calories!)

Orzo with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Feta & Pine Nuts

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: appetizer side salad feta sun dried tomatoes orzo kalamata olives

Ingredients (8 side servings)
  • 1/2 cup dry whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley (reserve some for garnish)
  • zest from one lemon (reserve some for garnish)
  • juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • olive oil, to taste (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Cook orzo al dente according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly.
Toss orzo with remaning ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.
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