September is here and so is another school year. Kids, teachers, teacher assistants, and volunteers are all back to the hustle leaving a lot of us in shambles when it comes to lunch ideas. This spin on a Greek salad is the perfect school (or office job) lunch option. It is completely nut-free ridding us of that headache and it is to be served cold. There's no dealing with a thermos or even trying to gently compartmentalize lunch ingredients in happy faces for the kids. It's all served as one big happy salad and hell, is it delicious-and filling.
I wanted to create a meal, not just a salad. I wanted to be sure to include all the nutrients necessary to keep us full, satisfied, and energized. I have only recently started cooking with orzo and I’m so in love with it. I buy locally made orzo (also known as risoni) and it’s made from organic durum wheat and organic farm fresh, free-run eggs. This pasta is short-cut and its shape takes on the resemblance of a thick grain of rice. It’s a great option for any and all cold dishes, soups, pilafs, and casseroles. Due to the egg content, there is a generous amount of protein packed in these little pasta cuts. For this salad, I went above and beyond and also added in some lentils for a source of exquisite plant-based protein and added fibre.
This recipe is a fabulous candidate for potlucks, parties, picnics, beach days, or just any old regular school day. Cold dishes make for easy, stress-free meal options. There are also other suggestions for this salad. You can add quality pitted olives and they are a fabulous source of healthy fats. Some traditional Greek salads use bell peppers so the addition of a green and red bell pepper is also something to consider. You can boost the nutritional value even more so by adding in finely chopped leafy greens. And lastly, to keep this vegan-friendly, use quinoa or a plant-based pasta instead of orzo and omit the feta cheese-it won’t be missed, I promise.
Greek Orzo Salad with Lentils
*Generously serves 4
- 3.5 cups cooked orzo
- 2 garden cucumbers, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup green onion, chopped (optional)
- 14 ounce can of organic green or brown lentils, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup if cooked from scratch).
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 Tsp. garlic powder
- ½-1 Tsp. red chilli flakes (or more or less depending on desired heat)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Stir in the dressing and mix thoroughly.
- Serve cold and enjoy.