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 Carrot & Orzo 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 Carrot& Orzo 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!
See this recipe used in my weekly meal prep.
Carrot & Orzo Salad
Carrot & Orzo Salad
- 1 lb carrots ($1.09)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.36)
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.07)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- freshly ground pepper to taste ($0.05)
- 1 cup uncooked orzo ($1.19)
- 1/3 bunch fresh parsley ($0.23)
- 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled ($1.07)
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.03)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the carrots and then slice them into thin medallions, about 1/8 to 1/4 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
I used just one pound of carrots. Wash and peel them first. Also preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
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.Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet covered with oil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until they’re slightly soft and they begin to curl a little.
See how they’re just a little curled? Looks good. Not too dry, yet still tender.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.
When the carrots are done roasting, add them to a bowl. Roughly chop the parsley and then add it and the feta to the bowl as well.
Add the pasta, the lemon juice, an extra sprinkle of salt, and then toss until the ingredients are all combined. The end! Yum.
This light and fresh salad makes a great side to main dishes that are more strongly flavored.