1 16 oz. Orzo (white or whole wheat)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 -3 Bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, purple, or green, the more color the better)
1/2 Red onion
handful fresh parsley, extra for garnish (substitution: cilantro)
1/2 can pitted black olives
4-6 lemons or limes (you may need more if limes or lemons are small)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (you can add more for more heat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Feta cheese (optional, but highly recommended)
Fill a medium pot half way with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt into the water and let it boil over medium heat. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice all the vegetables, remove thyme leaves from the springs and roughly chop the parsley. Make sure you chop through the thyme because it allows the flavor of the thyme come forward. Set all of this aside.
In a small bowl, juice all the lemons or limes, add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Whisk together. Set aside.
When the water boils, add the orzo pasta. Cook for 9-11 minutes or follow the box instructions.
After the 9-11 minutes are over, drain the pasta and place in a large bowl.
Add the diced vegetables, chopped thyme and parsley, feta cheese and the dressing. Mix together.
Adjust the salt and cayenne pepper to your liking.
Pair the orzo salad with chicken, tofu, tempeh, shrimp or steak with a chimichurri.