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Orzo, Kale + Chickpea Salad

This salad is a take on this one I posted to Instagram last week, except with different additions but more or less, it's the same idea. I often think that such simple recipes are not worth sharing, and that somehow because they are too simple they won't still be valuable to serve as inspiration. 

I've come to the conclusion that such thinking is total hogwash.

Even though it might be basic to me, who's to say that the complexity or newness of a recipe is what matters? What matters is that we share with each other, and my hope always is to serve up some sort of inspiration so the question of "what am I eating this week?", or "what the heck is a good use of this orzo I found in my cupboard?" might be answered a little more easily. When time allows, or I am in the routine of cooking on Sundays, I love to make a simple bean or grain salad to eat for lunches for the first few days of the week. I'll often pair that with hard-boiled eggs for extra protein, depending on whether I am in an 'egg place'. This recipe makes enough for 3-5 lunch servings, depending on your appetite, or as a side to dinner for a group. 

I've been on a kick this month to use up bits of ingredients I am finding in my cupboards. I'd normally use this Orzo, but in the spirit of the times, why spend where you don't need to? My cupboards are a veritable grocery store of items that should be used up. For the next little while I have decided to challenge myself to create food out of random ingredients in my kitchen that I've forgotten about. Here's the first, featuring a few jars of dry orzo I found that have been lurking for who knows how long. Now they are becoming tasty lunches. A win! 


Orzo, Kale + Chickpea Salad

1 cup dry orzo 
2 cups cooked chickpeas 
1 bunch Lacinato kale, chopped 
1 cup cubed feta (optional) 
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 
Sumac + black pepper 

1/2 cup olive oil 
1/3 cup red wine vinegar 
1 tsp salt 
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
1 tbsp coconut sugar 

Cook the orzo according to package directions, or until tender. If using store bought dried orzo, cook it for a little longer than you think to get it to be nice and soft, about 15 minutes. Al dente is harder here as you want the pasta to be soft and able to absorb the dressing.

While the orzo is cooking, chop the kale into ribbons and set aside. Get your cooked chickpeas ready. If using batch cooked chickpeas from frozen, simply put them in a colander and run some hot water over them to thaw. This is the best way to utilize chickpeas cooked from scratch, but with the convenience of cans. Head here to get the details on batch cooking dry chickpeas. It's the best! 

Stir the dressing ingredients together with a hand blender or a fork in a small jar. When the orzo is ready, drain and set aside for a few minutes. While hot, add the orzo to the bowl with the chickpeas and pour in the dressing. Mix well, and let sit for a few more minutes. Once the pasta and bean mixture is no longer hot, add the chopped kale and stir again to incorporate all the dressing. Stir in the feta and tomatoes. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac and black pepper to taste and serve.  

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