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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!