Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olivess

Warm weather and refreshingly different salads two of my favorite things.  I find salads not only fun to make trying different combinations of ingredients but easy to make.  Almost any salad you can think of is do ahead and easy to transport to family and friends homes or on a picnic. Being of Italian heritage I love the flavors of the Mediterranean areas with the wonderfully flavorful seasonings.  What I like most about this salad is the interesting combination of orzo, a rice shaped pasta, with chick peas, goat cheese and olives. Just add some lemon, garlic, oil and fresh oregano to bring out the other ingredients.  I almost forgot, I have been adding Sesame Tahini to many of my salads for a more intense taste.  I think you'll really enjoy this salad!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olives

1 1/2 cups orzo, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Sesame Tahini
15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup kalamati olives chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and sesame tahini. Add the chickpeas, orzo, oregano and pepper. Gently stir in goat cheese then olives.  Serve over a bed of lettuce.  Chill until ready to serve.



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