A wonderful combination of flavors, this could be a side salad or a main course. Here is another example of getting inspiration from Ina Garten — her original recipe was SO GOOD, and it also taught me to roast shrimp (rather than boiling them) for shrimp cocktail or salads. I have never boiled shrimp again after reading her recipe. The flavors intensify as the shrimp roast, rather than boiling out some of their flavor into the water.
Over the MANY times I have made this recipe, I have adapted it to my own taste. At the end of the recipe, I’ll give you some other variations I have tried to make it all vegetarian or vegan — easily!
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
- 1/2 cup Good olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup Katamala olives, halved
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
- 3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a large pot 1/2 full of water and set it over high heat. When the water boils, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the orzo pasta. Simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked according to package directions.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the dressing by whisking together the 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and put into a large bowl. While it is still hot, pour the dressing over immediately and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, olives, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.
This is a great dish to prepare ahead, because it is better the next day. Just remove from the refrigerator and be sure to taste for the (necessary) addition of more salt & pepper before serving.
VARIATION TO MAKE THIS A VEGETARIAN DISH:
Exchange the shrimp, in the above recipe with roasted cauliflower. Here is my complete recipe for Roasted Cauliflower. For extra protein, I also like to add a can of drained chick peas.
FOR YOUR VEGAN FRIENDS:
You are almost there with the above “vegetarian dish” variation, but I will add vegan Feta cheese — which is readily available in markets now.