As soon as the weather warms up, I get really into salads. I like the fact that they’re cold (or at least warm or room temp) and they provide a lot of texture and flavor.
And while vegetables are a little less expensive in the summertime, you can stretch them out even more by mixing them with grains and pasta. For this salad I roasted some inexpensive carrots in olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper, and then mixed them up with some orzo. Using inexpensive carrots and orzo for the bulk of the volume allows you to add just a little expensive feta for flavor without tipping the cost scales.
I added some parsley and a splash of lemon juice for freshness, and that’s it. I like that this salad is subtle and not over powering. Sometimes you need something light like that to go along side a stronger, more flavorful main dish (in this case the Maple Dijon Chicken). If you’re the type that does like all of your food just bursting with lots and lots and lots of flavor, you can add some garlic powder in with the cumin when you roast the carrots. That aught to give it a little more kick. Me? I like the subtle sweetness of the carrots with the earthy cumin and fresh parsley. Thought it was perfect!
Carrot & Orzo Salad
- 1 lb. carrots $1.09
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided) $0.36
- ½ Tbsp ground cumin $0.07
- ¼ tsp salt $0.02
- freshly ground pepper to taste $0.05
- 1 cup uncooked orzo $1.19
- ⅓ bunch fresh parsley $0.23
- 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese $1.07
- ½ Tbsp lemon juice $0.03
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the carrots and then slice them into thin medallions, about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick.
- Place the sliced carrots in a bowl and toss them together with one tablespoon of olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Once coated in the oil and seasonings, spread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- While the carrots are roasting, boil the orzo for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the orzo and allow it to cool slightly. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to toss with the orzo so it doesn't stick as it cools.
- Once the carrots have roasted, transfer them to a large bowl. Pull the parsley leaves from their stems and give them a rough chop. Add the parsley and crumbled feta to the bowl. Add the slightly cooled pasta and toss until the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and a bit more salt, if desired. Toss once more and then serve.
Step by Step Photos
Slice the carrots into thin medallions, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Add them to a bowl with one tablespoon of the olive oil, the cumin, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Toss until the carrots are well coated in oil and seasoning.
While the carrots are roasting, boil the pasta until tender. You want to give it a chance to cool, so that it doesn’t cook the parsley or melt the feta later. I added the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta after it was drained, so that it would not stick or clump as it cooled.