I had found a gluten free alternative for almost every pasta, except for orzo. Until now. I was literally jumping up and down in the aisle, squealing, looking like a complete lunatic. But I didn't care. I finally found the missing piece to complete my gluten free pasta puzzle. One by one, I've covered off on my old favorites - angel hair, fusilli, rotelle, elbows, penne. And now, orzo. Thank you DeLallo, I think I love you.
I am sure you're wondering why this is such groundbreaking, life changing news. I wondered the same thing because, c'mon, its just pasta! I think it all began when I was a sick, little girl who needed to eat something bland and easy on the tummy. Naturally, my Italian mama would make pastina, the teeny tiny star shaped pasta you sometimes see in soups, with a little butter and salt. I grew to actually crave pastina, and its cousin orzo, which is bizarre, considering it was associated with long, sad days of being stuck in bed. But there was no denying it...I loved the stuff.
I think my love for orzo and pastina is due to the fact that you can completely overcook it and it is still delicious. No need for al dente here! I am also obsessed with Greek and Mediterranean food, especially Greek salads. As soon as I saw that gluten free orzo at the market, I immediately pictured it surrounded by tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, grilled chicken and a light herb dressing. I picked up all of the accoutrements and headed home to make this delicious dinner, which fed Dave and I for two days. Oh, and Holly, too. I swear, you can't even tell it isn't your standard orzo pasta. #longliveorzo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Fresh From the Market:
- 1 1/2 lb. or 4 Chicken Breasts (preferably free-range, organic)
- 1 Medium Tomato, diced
- 1/2 Large Cucumber, diced
- 1/2 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 Medium Lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
From the Fridge or Pantry:
- 1/2 c. Roasted Red Pepper, diced
- 1/4 c. Black Olives, sliced
- 12 oz. Gluten Free Orzo Pasta
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
From the Spice Rack:
- 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 medium pot or saucepan
- Skillet or BBQ Grill
- While this meal just falls short of being a 10 minute meal, it is still a quick and easy dish to whip up. Sometimes I find chopping and dicing veggies to be cathartic so get ready for some healing after your long day!
- Before you get to chopping and dicing, get the water to a boil in the saucepan. Once boiled, add your orzo and cook according to instructions on the package. This should be about 5 to 7 minutes.
- While the water boils, start grilling or sauteing your chicken. If you frequent my blog, you may already be in the habit of using pre-cooked chicken to cut down on time. If not, toss those chickies on the grill or in the pan while you chop your veggies.
- Grab your tomato and cucumber so they can be washed and dried. Slice and dice them until they are about 1/4 in. in size. Next up, open that jar of roasted red peppers and dice away. Measure out your feta cheese and sliced black olives. If you can't find a jar of sliced olives, slice 'em up!
- Now, onto the dressing. Finely chop about 1 tbsp. of fresh parsley and add 2 tbsp. olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice from half a lemon. Add the salt and pepper and mix it all together.
- When the chicken is fully cooked (you know the drill, all white and no pink!), slice it into thin strips or cube it. And of course, when the pasta is cooked, drain it, rinse it and toss it back in the pot.
- Add all of your sliced, diced and measured ingredients to the orzo and top with the herb dressing. Mix well and you are all set! You can pop it in the fridge to serve as a cold gluten free pasta salad or serve hot. Either way, it is de-li-cious.
Let's not forget poor little Holly Bear. Anytime she smells chicken in the skillet or on the grill, she goes wild. In fact, she gets crazy eyes. Naturally, we mix her food around our empty plates so she can have a little taste of our amazing dinner. I mean, how can you say no to this little face? :)
So let's assume you liked this and had your own version of crazy eyes, here are some other yummy recipes you may love. No need to waste food when you can use those leftovers!
Toss those tomatoes and roasted red peppers in my Margherita Chicken. O. M. G. this dish is ridiculously good. The tomatoes are also perfect in my Gluten Free Quiche, Asian Ginger Salad, or my Detox Veggie Soup!
And let's not forget how much I love feta cheese. From Chicken, Brown Rice and Feta to Eggs with Green Chiles to my amazing Quinoa Salad, how can you go wrong? I also use feta cheese as a clever swap fro gross things like mayo or processed cheese in my Dipping Sauce (alternative to blue cheese dressing!) and my Healthy Egg McMuffin. Moral of the story? Keep feta cheese in your fridge at all times!