A cornerstone of the Greek diet is the vegetarian dishes that are enjoyed throughout the year but especially in the summer, when produce is at its prime in Greece. The sun-kissed veggies are usually eaten very quickly, almost as soon as they are picked, thanks to a huge network of open-air markets. Since they're eaten so soon after harvesting, they keep their high nutritional value and superb taste. Farm-to-table couldn't get any better because Greece is such a small country and distances are usually fairly close.
Since we began this Zelos adventure, we've hoped to bring some of these wonderful flavors to the States, even if it had to be in a jar. Vegetarians and vegans alike will love the Tragano Greek Organics line-up, fragrant Philippos Hellenic Goods extra virgin olive oil, Sparoza handcrafted teas and spices, the Citrus marmalades and fruit preserves, and most of Agrozimi pasta and Elli & Manos' veggie spreads and dips.
Yet one of our more popular recipes, a classic, and delicious, Greek orzo salad, wasn't quite vegan, and since we get a lot of requests for vegan dishes, we thought we'd share a new version. This one uses spelt orzo instead of the classic egg & milk orzo, and adds chickpeas to help boost the protein punch (pasta e ceci for the Italians out there!). Like any pasta salad worth its salt, this is a super-versatile recipe and you can jazz it up as you like. If you're really daring, try chopping up some sea fennel, an antioxidant-rich plant that adds a briny taste and unique texture.
This is a healthy dish for backyard barbecues, outdoor picnics, refreshing lunches or dinners. It's easy to make and a colorful and tasty dish to share with all your family and friends, regardless if they're vegans or vegetarians. Enjoy!
1 cup Agrozimi spelt orzo
1 can organic chickpeas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 jar or a handful of Tragano Greek Organics green olives
1-2 tsps Sparoza 15 Greek Herbs and Seeds
1/3 cup Tragano Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A few sprigs of Tragano Greek Organics sea fennel (optional)
Put 6 cups of water in a pot and bring it to boil. Add some salt and the orzo, stir so that it doesn't stick to the bottom, and cook for 12-15 minutes, depending on whether or not you like it al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, slice up cherry tomatoes, green olives, and red peppers (and sea fennel, if you're using it), and add to a large bowl. Add the olive oil and herbs and mix well.
When the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the bowl. Mix well and add more olive oil, herbs or salt, according to taste.
Non-vegans will love some crumbled feta cheese on the side that they can sprinkle on their bowls.
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