Orzo Pasta Salad with Leeks

I finally joined the gym. An awesome gym. A gym with multiple stories. A gym with enough elliptical machines where I don't have to wait in line to use one every. single. time. It's bonkers awesome. I'm totally going all the time.

I promise.

Because living outside of LA means I don't really need to worry what my hair / makeup looks like at the gym.

Or if my running pants have stains on them because, obviously, I still wear them post-workout (for far too long) as I make dinner / do the dishes / walk the dog / sweep the porch / check email / take out the garbage / start cocktail hour.

Because I'm not ambitious enough to actually jump into the shower the second I get home from the gym. That would be too convenient.

I use my workout clothes as an excuse to do all that "other" stuff looking like a total mess. Because it's not necessarily right or appropriate to get glammed up for house chores, right?

Right.

Let's transition from healthy exercise to healthy eating, shall we?

This is a pasta salad made with equal parts pasta and leeks. The secret: boil the leeks with the orzo (they cook at pretty much the same rate) and you've saved yourself a ton of time and a ton of calories.

Recipe after the hurdle jump...

Orzo Pasta Salad with Leeks

Makes enough for 4 entree-sized portions

  • 2 cups orzo pasta (regular or whole wheat)
  • 4-5 leeks, chopped into half moons (about 2-3 cups worth)
  • 2 kirby cucumbers, diced into half moons
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts (leave in quarters or chop finer)
  • 1/2 cup pepperocini peppers, sliced into rings (optional)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (champagne or apple cider are great here)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley to garnish

Boil salted water in a large pot. Add orzo and chopped leeks at the same time. Boil for 6-8 minutes until orzo is tender (al dente).

Prepare dressing in a separate bowl by whisking minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar together.

Strain ozro/leek mixture is a fine strainer and cool under running water until room temperature.

Combine chopped vegetables and feta in a large bowl. Fold in orzo/leeks and pour over dressing. Garnish with parsley, serve room temperature.