Not to mention how to make your husband eat beans. I saw this recipe in (surprise, surprise) my new Gourmet Weekday cookbook and immediately wanted to make it, but then hemmed and hawed because, while I new I would love it, I wasn’t sure my family would. But this week is a bit of a madhouse around here and I have been needing dinners that I can make in the afternoon and then eat immediately upon our return from bike camp, so this layered salad was perfect. Soooo glad I did. I never would have dreamed that every member of my family would gobble this up and rave about how good it was (and I’m going to pretend it has nothing to do with feeding them 2 hours later than usual after a long afternoon of bike camp). It’s greek salad with black eyed peas and orzo and it’s amazing. The lemon zest and fresh oregano make this what it is (not to mention the feta and olives, but you new that already), so don’t skimp on those. This is supposed to be a picnic idea, hence the jars, but the kids thought it was awesome to eat out of a jar, even at the table, especially since they got to shake it up before they ate. I think next time I might try some little shell noodles instead of the orzo, just to switch it up (plus my youngest chokes on orzo a bit, who knew), but this will definitely be made again this summer as a make ahead, come home to a fresh homemade dinner sort of meal.
Notes: this took me about 30-40 minutes to put together, inclusive of all the chopping and finding jars and everything. It would make 4 adult portions, or in our case, 2 adult portions and 2 kid portions, plus a next day lunch portion for me. We ate ours with pita chips and hummus.
3/4 cup orzo (or other tiny pasta) ($1.00)
1 19 oz can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained ($1.00)
1 large tomato, diced (I think halved cherry or grape tomatoes would be good here) ($0.47)
1 Tbsp each, balsamic and white balsamic vinegars (or 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar) ($0.15)
2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.10)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 mini english cucumbers, halved and chopped ($1.50 – can be reduced slightly by using a big cucumber)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved (you can chop them finer if you wish, but not everyone in my family likes olives, so this way they can pick them out) ($1.73)
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion ($0.27)
1 heaping tsp lemon zest ($0.50, inclusive of the lemon juice)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 heaping Tbsp chopped, fresh oregano ($1.00)
1 coarsely chopped heart of romaine ($0.66)
1 cup crumbled feta ($2.33)
1. Cook orzo. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
2. Meanwhile, toss tomato and black eyed peas with vinegars, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 of each the salt and pepper. Allow this to marinate while you prepare the rest, stirring occasionally.
3. Toss together orzo, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining Tbsp of olive oil and remaining salt and pepper.
4. Prep your jars (or make in a large clear bowl for a pretty presentation). Divide tomato/black eyed peas mixture (with juices) amongst your jars, then the orzo mixture, followed by romaine and finally, the feta. You can serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Best served at room temperature.
Total cost of the meal: $10.71
Cost per serving (assuming 4 portions): $2.68