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5 Healthy and Colourful Kritharaki (Orzo) Salads

5 Healthy and Colourful Kritharaki (Orzo) Salads

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Kritharaki (orzo) is the Greek word for barley, which is named after its shape, although it looks more like rice. I love it as an alternative to larger pasta to make colourful and healthy salads.

Orzo comes into three sizes (at least in Greece): small, medium and large. I use the small size in soups and prefer the other two sizes in salads or to make “giouvetsi”.

medium size orzo

Orzo comes in 500 grams packages, and if you cook all the package you get 8 cups of cooked orzo. What I do, is I usually cook all the package and cool it under tap water. When it drains I put some olive oil so that it does not stick together. Some I store the fridge in airtight containers to use within a week but most of it I divide into portions, put it in zip lock bags or bowls and freeze it. Whenever I do not have much time, I defrost some, and make delicious salads, improvising with whatever I have in the fridge or in my pantry.

Collage orzo salad

I’ve made many combinations of orzo salads and today I am giving you some of my favourites which I believe you will find one to satisfy your taste and budget.

Cooking orzo is just like any other pasta but in order not to repeat the procedure of cooking it in each recipe, you can follow these instructions:

Cooked orzo

How to cook orzo:

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams orzo
  • Water
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place a pot with plenty of water (500 ml for 1 cup) on the heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the salt and orzo and cook according to the package instructions, about 10 – 13 minutes but be sure it is slightly al dente, stirring it a few times.
  3. When cooked, drain in a colander and rinse under tap water in order to stop cooking further.
  4. Let it drain for a few minutes and put it in a bowl.
  5. Add 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil and mix so that it does not stick together.
  6. After using the amount you need, store as above

Salmon and orzo salad

Orzo Salad with Smoked Salmon

Serves: 4 as a salad – 2 as a main dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 grams (1.75 oz) smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
  • 50 grams (1.75 oz) graviera cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 6 cherry date tomatoes, cut into round slices
    2 tbsp parsley or dill, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ of each colour of bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green), cubed

Salad dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • A pinch of oregano
  • To taste, salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the salmon and graviera, as well as the vegetables in small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, lemon zest, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix with a spoon to combine and dress the pasta.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a while before serving.

Smoked turkey and orzo

Orzo Salad with canned Tuna

The same salad can be made by using cooked chicken.

orzo salad with garlic sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • 1 small tuna in water (95 grams or 68 net) or 1 cup leftover boiled or grilled chicken cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, various colours, finely chopped
  • 4 Cherry Pear (lobello) or date tomatoes, different colours, cut in smaller pieces
  • 1 tbsp capers

Salad dressing:

  • 1/2 cup garlic sauce*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the garlic sauce with olive oil.
  2. Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add the dressing and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate for a while before serving.

date tomatoes

*Note: You can use ready made garlic sauce or you can easily make it yourselves. See my recipe here.

Smoked turkey and orzo2

Orzo Salad with Smoked Turkey

You can again substitute smoked turkey with leftover cooked chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • 3 slices Smoked Turkey or 1 cup leftover boiled or grilled chicken cut into smaller pieces
  • ½ cup boiled peas
  • ½ cup boiled corn
  • ¼ cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 30 grams feta crumbled
  • 1 tbsp sultana raisins

Salad dressing:

  • 1/2 cup – Greek yogurt 2%
  • ¼ cup garlic sauce*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • A pinch of sweet paprika

Directions:

  1. Put the peas and corn in a small pot, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Add salt and cook for 5 minutes from the time of boiling. Cool under running water, drain and set aside.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and crumble feta with your hands. Combine all the salad dressing ingredients mix and dress the salad.
  3. Sprinkle some paprika on top and refrigerate for a while before serving.

vegetables

Gardener’s Orzo Salad (Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove roasted or raw garlic
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup white dry wine
  • 1 carrot peeled and shredded
  • 1 large ripe tomato peeled and finely cut
  • 5 green (tsakkistes) or black (Kalamata) olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves, or 2 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Shred and cut all the vegetables.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic as well as zucchini and carrots and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the wine and after leaving it a few seconds for the alcohol to evaporate, add the tomato and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add cooked orzo as well as the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

collage roasted eggplants

Orzo Salad with Baked Eggplants and Tuna

Preparation time: 20 times

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6 as a salad – 3 as a main dish

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams orzo or 3 cups cooked orzo
  • 1 small tuna in water (95 grams or 68 net)
  • 1 cup roasted eggplants (about 2 small Japanese type eggplants), cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup bell peppers, various colours, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cucumber, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

Salad dressing:

  • 200 ml Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 pinches oregano

Directions:

  1. Combine the yoghurt with all the remaining ingredients and mix with a spoon to make the sauce.
  2. Cut the eggplants into thin slices and fry them on both sides. Set aside to cool and finely chop them. If you prefer, you can brush them with olive and roast them in the oven until they become soft.
  3. Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add the dressing and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate for a while before serving.

Eggplants frozen DSCN8982

Note: When the eggplants are in abundance and cheap, I fry or grill them until soft and store them in zip lock bags in the deep freezer.

Orzo Kritharaki Salata with baked eggplants and tuna

As I have already informed you, my blog has been nominated by BHMAGourmet for an award, in the category “Best Greek cooking in English”. If you like my recipes and have not yet voted, you can still vote for my blog until the 14th of December, 2015.

We still have to participate in two challenges which will be judged by a committee. One of the challenges is to make frugal recipes which are nutritious and full of flavour and the other category is to make good use of our leftovers, so my today’s recipe falls in that category.

Vima Gourmet Awards

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

Other related Recipes:

Giouvetsi (Stewed Veal with Orzo)

Kritharaki me Fakes kai Pasto (Orzo with Lentils and Smoked Pork)

Kritharotto (Orzo Risotto) with Butternut Squash and Feta

Brown Lentils with Orzo, Carrot and Caramelized Onions

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Kaiti

Monday 26th of September 2016

Hi, i do hardcore gym workout everyday and i consume salads as part of my meal all the time, i was looking for some recipes to make my salad more awesome, ill try all these orzo salad variations, looks yummy.

Thanks

Anna

Saturday 16th of April 2016

I love this idea – especially how you make it all so freezer-friendly! : )

Angie

Saturday 16th of April 2016

Some really great idea of preparing orzo, Ivy. The one with smoked salmon is favourite. Happy Sunday! Angie

Ivy

Saturday 16th of April 2016

Thanks Angie. I agree with you. That’s my favourite as well!

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