Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Greek Salad with Orzo & Black-Eyed Peas

As I've mentioned before, when I'm at school, cooking for myself can be tricky. Recipes make multiple servings and I do not generally eat more than a single serving at a time. So my leftovers sit in the fridge, and if I don't eat them quickly enough, they go bad. Sometimes, I end up throwing away half of the food I've made. This is 1) A waste of food and, 2) A waste of money. As a college student, wasting food is bad, but wasting money...even worse. 

So, I am always on the lookout for tasty dishes that can last for a while without going bad, and for the past two years, this has been one of my favorite go-to recipes. Not only is it delicious, it's portable, it's healthy, and I don't feel guilty about leaving it sitting in the fridge.

The recipe is a Mediterranean take on pasta salad and it's packed with all sorts of good stuff. The combination of stellar ingredients makes it a wholesome but satisfying dish, and the flavors and textures complement one another perfectly. The acidity of the lemon, vinegar and tomatoes, the saltiness of the feta and olives, and the crunchiness of the onion and cucumber all come together to create a dish that packs a flavorful punch.

This dish is the perfect combination of acidity, saltiness and crunchiness

Not only is this salad delicious, it's super healthy as well. Black-eyed peas and feta add lots of calcium. Olive oil provides heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and tomatoes and parsley serve as powerful sources of antioxidants. For extra nutritional benefit, try using whole-wheat orzo for a dose of whole grains.

With so many nutritious ingredients, you can feel good about stuffing your face with this dish.

Bon appetit!

Greek Salad with Orzo & Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 4
3/4 cup orzo, I use whole-wheat
15-oz can black-eyed peas, washed & drained
1 large tomato, diced
3 tbsp curly leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 2 tsp dried oregano
1/2-lb crumbled feta, about 1 cup
Pepperoncini for serving
Coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions. Transfer to a sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain well.

Combine black-eyed peas, tomato, parsley, vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Toss and let sit, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine orzo, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest & juice, oregano, remaining tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Toss.

Combine the black-eyed pea mixture, orzo mixture and feta in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with pepperoncini. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, this dish is good for several days.

Go ahead and take those extra few bites, I know you want to...

Source: Gourmet August 2008 via Epicurious

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