Monday, October 18, 2010

minty orzo, lentil & feta salad

This meets all my food-to-make-ahead-and-pack-for-lunch needs: healthy, has some protein, can be packed in a single container, easy to prepare, allows for adding a zillion leftover veggies. Also it is delicious.

It reminds me of Alissa's curry grain salad and Shannon's Greek orzo salad, both of which I often make for lunches, but this has a Middle Eastern sort of thing going on. A different FLAVOR PROFILE, if you will. Can you tell I've been watching Top Chef?

I changed the directions enough, mostly based on people's comments in the recipe, that I'll rewrite them; original directions here if you'd like to see them.

1 1/4 cups orzo pasta
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided [definitely do not need this much; I didn't measure but it was just a hefty splash]
3/4 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained [any color lentil would be fine]
1/3 cup red wine vinegar [I used more than this, probably about 2/3 cup]
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped [skipped. boo olives.]
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese [don't need quite this much]
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves [I used more than this]
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill [used less than this]
[I also added about half a bag of spinach, some leftover chopped scallions and a handful of diced grape tomatoes]
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add the lentils and cook for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes are up, add the orzo and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste. If the pasta is al dente and the lentils are done, remove them from heat and drain; if not, keep cooking until they are.

Put the lentil/pasta mixture in a bowl

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and some ground black pepper in a small bowl and add the mixture to the lentils and pasta. Stir well.

Wait for it to cool for about half an hour. Then add the
feta, red onion, mint, and dill; stir until thoroughly blended. Season to taste.

Can be served hot or cold or in between.

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