Roasted Shrimp Orzo Salad

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Full of bright summer flavors, this is Roasted Shrimp Orzo Salad is one of my favorite dishes.

Pick and choose to include your favorite summer veggies, but here I've done a shrimp orzo (a type of pasta that looks like rice) salad of cucumbers, red onions, a mix of olives, grape tomatoes, spinach, parsley, and feta.

It's all tossed with an easy dressing made of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Serve it room temperature, or chilled for a refreshing warm-weather dish.

Roasted Shrimp Orzo Salad
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
1/2 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~1 large lemon)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/4 cup small-diced red onion
1/4 cup mixed olives, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
a bag of baby spinach


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta 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.

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, parsley, cucumber, onion, olives, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 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.)

Toss salad with a few handfuls of baby spinach before serving.

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