A great addition to your summer menu, this Lemon Orzo Pasta salad is gourmet but simple to make. Featuring orzo, three types of lemon, spiced chickpeas, chewy sundried tomatoes, buttery pine nuts, and a basil gremolata, it has all the best of summer flavors and textures.
– Orzo – Fresh basil leaves – Garlic cloves – Lemon zest – Sea salt – Extra virgin olive oil – Lemon peel – Aleppo pepper – Kosher salt – Black pepper – Lemon juice – Sundried tomatoes – Baby spinach – Pine nuts – Chickpeas
Rinse, drain and thoroughly dry the chickpeas. Heat a tiny bit of oil in a large frying pan and pan-fry the chickpeas. Cook undisturbed for a few minutes before tossing, and continue cooking until blistered in some spots.
Add the oregano, thyme, onion powder, paprika, and salt. Toss the chickpeas in the spices and cook for 2-4 minutes until nicely golden brown and aromatic.
Chop the basil and mix together with lemon zest, 1 clove of grated garlic, and flaky salt. Warm the extra virgin olive oil in the large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 4 to 6 minutes until just starting to turn golden.
Add about 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water from the cooked orzo to the pan and whisk to combine. Add in the hot cooked orzo, lemon juice, and sundried tomatoes, tossing to combine. Add more pasta water as needed to bring the sauce together.
Add in the chopped baby spinach and toss until wilted. Add the spiced chickpeas and toss again.
Finally, add in the basil-lemon zest topping and toasted pine nuts and gently toss. Season to taste with salt or pepper as needed.