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Three Recipes to Enjoy as a Main Dish or Side

April 12, 2022

The following versatile recipes featuring Greek flavors can be enjoyed as a main dish or as a side dish for lunch or dinner.


Baked Orzo and Vegetables

4 tablespoon Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

4 cups kale, chopped

4 teaspoons Greek dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

3 tablespoons tomato paste, Kyknos, if available

2 cups uncooked orzo

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 cups cooked chickpeas

5 cups water

2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill, for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large oven-safe skillet with cover, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, red bell pepper, kale, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Sauté until the kale wilts. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the orzo, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, and water. Bring up to a boil, cover, then place the oven-safe skillet in the preheated oven and bake about 10-15 minutes until the orzo is tender. Top with fresh dill and serve.

To cook chickpeas, sort, rinse, and then soak a pound of chickpeas overnight in a large, deep pot with enough water to cover them by two inches at least. After 6-8 hours of soaking and when you are ready to cook them, drain the soaking water and refill the pot with fresh, cold water enough to cover the beans by at least two inches. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to medium and simmer, skimming and discarding the foam that may form on top. Add a 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste. Continue simmering until the chickpeas are tender. Drain and use according to recipe.


Orzo with Squash and Zucchini


1 package (16 ounces) orzo pasta

2 small yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 medium red onion, quartered

8 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Brush yellow squash, zucchini and onion with 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 10-12 minutes or until lightly charred and tender, turning once. Cool slightly. Cut into 1-in. pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and remaining oil until blended. In a large bowl, combine orzo, grilled vegetables, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and remaining salt and pepper. Add dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with pine nuts.


Quinoa Salad with Herbs

Kale and chickpeas. Photo by Deryn Macey, via Unsplash
Kale and chickpeas. Photo by Deryn Macey, via Unsplash

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups cooked white beans, lentils or chickpeas

3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

3 cups chopped fresh herbs- dill, mint, and parsley

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 small cucumbers, chopped

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa according to package directions. While the quinoa cooks, chop all the vegetables and herbs and place in a large salad bowl. Stir together the ingredients, add the dressing, and toss to evenly distribute the dressing. Serve immediately.


The bright sunshine and dry climate of the Dodecanese islands concentrates the flavors of any produce grown there, so even a simple salad can be a culinary delight.

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