Orzo Salad with Shrimp, Feta, and Olives

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I’m often asked how I eat the way that I do without spending a fortune at the grocery store. One of these days, I’ll get around to doing a full post about that but my number one tip is to plan ahead. That way you can plan to reuse ingredients (no use letting half that bag of vegetables go to waste) without feeling like you’re eating the same thing over and over again. This orzo salad is a great example — it uses many of the same ingredients as the Greek Burgers with Tzatziki that I posted last week, but it’s an entirely different meal. Just plan to have this two or three days after you make the burgers, and you’ll be able to use up any feta, red onion, cucumber, and fresh dill that you might have left over. (Of course, it works the other way around too if you want to make this salad first!)

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But, burgers aside, I really do recommend this salad. It’s so easy to make — you can even make it ahead and have dinner waiting for you when you get home from a long day at work — and it’s loaded with fresh flavor. I don’t know what it is about this type of dish, but there’s something about them that I love — even though everything is mixed together, each individual ingredient maintains its integrity. You can eat it all together, or pluck out specific items and eat them one by one for entirely different flavor experiences. Some other examples of recipes that I find to be similar include my Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and my Roasted Shrimp with Orange and Fennel. In my head, I always think of them as “picky recipes,” both because you pick at them with your fork while you eat and because you’ll likely find yourself picking extra items right out of the serving dish when you’re dine with what on your plate. In fact, Shawn and I probably polished off another half serving of this salad between the two of us just by continuing to eat after we had finished what was originally dished out.

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Orzo Salad with Shrimp, Feta, and Olives
This orzo salad is full of traditional Greek flavors and textures like crisp cucumber, crumbly feta, and briny olives. It’s equally delicious served warm or chilled, so leftovers make great lunches all week. If you want, you can also make the salad the night before and have dinner ready for you when you get home from work — either cook the shrimp ahead of time too, or grill them just before serving and enjoy the warm shrimp on top of the cool salad. If you don’t have a grill, you can also broil or saute the shrimp.
  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • 1 Tbs olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 Tbs fresh dill
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbs mixed olives + 1 Tbs brine (I like Mezzetta’s Mediterranean blend)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, divided
  • 10-ounces shrimp, cleaned with tails removed
  • Cracked black pepper

Cook the orzo according to the directions on the package. Rinse with cold water and immediately toss with 1 Tbs olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Set aside or chill while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Cut the tomatoes in half and discard the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch square. Cut your cucumber and onion into pieces about the same size. Chop the dill.

Toss the shrimp with 2 Tbs of the red wine vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, and some black pepper. Grill over high heat until cooked through, allowing the shrimp to blacken slightly — this should take 5-7 minutes.

In a serving dish, combine the orzo, vegetables, dill, feta, lemon zest + juice, olives + brine, and the remaining red wine vinegar. Mix well to combine. Top with shrimp.

Serves 6.

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*****

Congratulations to commenter #7, Art and Lemons, who has won a lifetime supply of lentils and dry peas! Enjoy! Your Nimbu Masoor Dal sounds great – I hope you post the recipe!

Comments

  1. People ask me all the time how grocery shopping is less expensive than eating out in New York. I just look at them like they’re crazy.

    This is just the kind of salad I would love! I’m totally a picker-outer when it comes to multi-ingredient dishes. I like to experience the difference in flavor when it’s all mixed together and then each component on it’s own. Weird but true.

  2. Now that is MY kind of salad. Gorgeous.

  3. Your orzo salad looks delicious, I love all the colors and it’s perfect for summer, thanks for sharing!

  4. Yum! I know what’s for dinner tonight now! We have all these ingredients already–now it’s just a matter of throwing it all together. Excellent.

    • Enjoy! I love how simple this one is – I usually have most, if not all, of the ingredients around too.

  5. Monique says:

    I am diggin all those fresh ingredients. I adore a good meal that is effortless, incorporates things i already have on hand as well as something that can be made in advance!
    looks way better than the veggie burger i just ate. LOL

  6. Wow, this salad is a meal by itself…looks beautiful and soooo yummie!

    • We ate it as a meal, although I’m sure it would make a great alternative to pasta salad too… you’d probably get 10-12 servings if you did it as a side dish.

  7. Mmm – looks great! And I agree with you that eating healthy & saving money is pretty easy as long as you plan ahead. People look at me like I have 3 eyes when I tell them I plan a week’s worth of meals at a time. But I don’t know any other way to do it – I can’t imagine blindly going to the store and picking stuff up, then trying to figure out what to do with it.
    Hmm… sounds like a new college course in the making: Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping 101 :-P

  8. I just love the refreshing flavours here.

  9. This looks like a perfect summer salad. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Summer is orzo salad time. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get cracking to make my first one of the season to enjoy.

  11. love this salad

  12. This is the stuff dreams are made of. It looks wonderful and I’m sure it is delicious as well. I hope you had a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. I am so with you on planning ahead! It is a must, must, must if I don’t want to end up eating cereal fir dinner!! This looks so good… I just found some whole wheat orzo at WF (which I have never seen before) so I will def be trying this soon:)

    Thanks!!

  14. This looks really REALLY good!!
    <33 Cara

  15. A great recipe for summer Lauren. I love orzo and all these flavours work so well together!

  16. I had to include this post in last week’s Cups of Tea and I am currently looking for an opportunity make them. This just looks like a perfect way to take up the typical hamburgers up a notch. Thank you for this recipe and enjoy your weekend. =)

  17. This looks amazing! Love your site:)

  18. Made it ! Love it!! Thanks – great recipes ~ great web site!! Thanks for sharing!!

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