Mediterranean Orzo and Vegetable Salad with Pesto Chicken

I love all kinds of Mediterranean food. In fact, it is probably one of my absolute favorite styles of food. The other day, Larry just said he wanted something with chicken, but no other guidelines than that. It was one of those days where time was of short supply, so I knew I needed to make something easy-peasy. Also, we are most definitely in the dogs days of summer right now, so something cool and refreshing was definitely a must as well. A quick Mediterranean orzo salad seemed like just the perfect thing.

We have already had this salad a couple of ways too and then we shared it with our friends Mike and Lauren. It was a big hit all the way around.

For dinner, I served it with some chicken that I marinated in some pesto and lemon balsamic vinegar and then grilled it up. I topped it all with feta cheese (for Larry ) and some fresh lemon verbena from our backyard.

For the orzo salad, I cooked the orzo according to the directions on the box, then cooked up a few vegetables and mixed everything together with a lemony fresh citrus dressing. Usually I make my own dressings, as you very well know, but I had some store bought dressing that needed to be used and it worked just fine.

This time I used typical Mediterranean vegetables like red onions, zucchini, crookneck squash, red and green bell peppers, garlic and tomatoes, as well as some spinach, and again, more lemon verbena.

I cooked everything except the tomatoes and the lemon verbena in some olive oil, along with salt & pepper, some red pepper flakes and oregano.

Once all the vegetables and orzo were cooked, I added the tomatoes and lemon verbena and tossed everything together with the dressing. Then I let it chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours . This is a summer salad and is best when served chilled.

Of course I served with a cool glass of or two of chardonnay and some warmed pita bread on the side.

Afterwards, I served it again by adding some artichoke hearts and sausage to make it a quick and cool lunch salad. Both ways, it was cool, refreshing and very tasty.

Stay cool and do your best to avoid the heat. Stay safe, stay well and carry on. ‘Til next time.

Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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