½teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper, more to taste
1box(16 oz.) orzo pasta, uncooked
16ouncespeeled, deveined shrimp, tail removed, size 31-40(thawed if frozen)
½English cucumber, quartered and sliced ½-inch thick
½medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced(see note)
1pintcherry tomatoes, halved
½cuppitted kalamata olives, halved
½cupcrumbled feta cheese
¼cupminced fresh parsley
2tablespoonsminced fresh mint leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine dressing ingredients: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk together.
In a separate bowl, combine shrimp and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp with marinade to pan and sauté three minutes, flipping halfway, until shrimp is opaque and curled. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Chop shrimp roughly (or cut in half).
Drain orzo, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly. Transfer to a very large bowl, add remaining dressing, and stir to combine. Add cucumber, onion, tomatoes, olives, feta, parsley, and mint leaves; toss to combine. Add shrimp and toss.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.
To tone down the sharp flavor of onion, soak the sliced onion in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes; drain well and add it to the salad.
Leftover salad: add a squeeze of lemon and/or a drizzle of olive oil to refresh.
Vegetarian: omit shrimp, add chickpeas and/or additional feta, if desired.
Cooked or grilled chicken can be substituted for the shrimp.