A delicious meal of fresh herbs, orzo and chickpeas
If you’re looking for a dish to remind you that spring is here, and that the cold winter months are behind you, then this is it. A simple recipe using orzo and loads of fresh herbs, the colour, smell and the flavour of this herbed orzo make it clear that sunny days are here…or at least, coming soon.
The fresh taste of this herbed orzo dish is enough to entice you to make it over and over again. But, an added bonus is that it is quick, easy, economical (super economical if you happen to have your own herb garden) and vegan, making it perfect for meatless Mondays, period of Orthodox lent, and any other time you want a plant-based meal. The addition of chickpeas ensures that the dish is full of protein and that it is satisfying.
Unlike the Greek pasta salad previously posted which is also orzo based and is lovely served either at room temperature or a little cold, this herbed orzo dish really tastes best when warm; at a warm temperature the flavours of the herbs are maximized.
The key to making this meal is to use the freshest herbs you can find. If you prefer different herbs, or really don’t like the flavour of one which we include in our recipe, feel free to play around a little bit with the ingredients. The important thing is to keep the total quantity of chopped fresh herbs the same.
We are huge proponents of using dried beans and legumes, but in a pinch, canned is fine. In order to ensure that this recipe is as easy as possible and capable of being prepared at the last minute, we used canned chickpeas here.
We usually eat this herbed orzo dish as a meal, although it would also make a great side dish. We think it would be particularly delicious as an accompaniment to grilled lamb or chicken.
Herbed orzo with chickpeas
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chive
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add 1 teaspoon salt to a pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add the orzo and cook according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the chopped herbs, the olive oil and the lemon zest.
- When the orzo has cooked, drain well and then add it to the bowl with the fresh herbs.
- Pour the lemon juice over the orzo and mix well until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Add the chickpeas to the bowl with the orzo and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper as desired.