Lentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta Cheese

Here’s a clever little twist I came up with.  I added a couple ingredients to this lovely lentil orzo salad recipe from my archives.  This time around, I topped it with sauteed shrimp and crumbled feta cheese.  Yeah, I hear ya … “Real clever, Emily.  Adding crumbled feta and sauteed shrimp to most anything will make it delicious.”  Well … you’re right, it IS delicious.

Round out this terrific summer meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc and al fresco dining.

Lentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and FetaLentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and FetaLentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups green lentils, uncooked
  • 2 cups orzo, uncooked
  • 2 cups carrots, spiraled or chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley (1 large bunch), chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp butter or cooking oil
  • 1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 6 oz block feta cheese (crumbled by hand)
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare lentils: Place lentils in a colander and rinse under running water.  Sort through to remove any small rocks or shriveled lentils.  Combine rinsed and sorted lentils to a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer (you should only see a few small bubbles and slight movement in the lentils). Cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.  The lentils are fully cooked when they are  just tender and still have a bit of a bite to them.  Be careful not to overcook your lentils because they will become mushy.  Drain lentils and return them to the pot and add a pinch of salt.  Cool and reserve lentils.  At this point, if you are not preparing the salad right away, you could add your cooled lentils to a container and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add orzo, stir orzo to prevent noodles from sticking, cook uncovered for 9-11 minutes until al dente.  Drain, cool, and reserve orzo.

Combine cooled lentils, orzo, carrots, red onions, and parsley in a bowl.  Wisk together lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, dried dill, salt and pepper, and pour over salad.  Toss to combine. Note: You may not use all of the dressing.  Let salad rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour so flavors develop before serving.

Season shrimp with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat and add butter or cooking oil.  Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Reserve.

To serve, pile lentil orzo salad high on a plate and top with shrimp and crumbled feta cheese.

Servings 6 (Serving size: 1 1/2 cups salad, 3-4 shrimp, 1 oz feta cheese)

Note:  Leftover salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

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