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Recipe: Chef Kevin Belton's Summertime Orzo Salad

Chef Belton cooks up a light and fresh summertime salad.


Summertime Orzo Salad


8 ounces orzo pasta

1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

¼ cup red onion, minced

1/2 English cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

⅓ cup chopped dill, plus more for garnish

⅓ cup chopped mint

2 Tbsp. wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. oregano

½ cup feta cheese crumbles

⅓ cup Kalamata olives, halved


Black pepper

Prepare the orzo according to the package instructions. Taste the orzo a few minutes before completion to ensure it’s ‘al dente’. When it’s done, drain it and then rinse it under cold water until it comes to room temperature.

Place the chickpeas in a bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Mince red onion and then place it in a bowl with water. Dice the cucumber, red pepper, and chop the herbs.

Stir together the orzo, chickpeas and bowl of lemon juice, red onion, cucumber, red pepper, dill, mint, wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, oregano, feta crumbles, black olives, and several grinds of black pepper. Taste and if necessary, season with more kosher salt.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies


3/4 cup strawberries, chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


4 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Zest of 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir strawberries, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar until combined. Let sit 10 minutes, then drain.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, remaining ½ cup sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Using a wooden spoon, very gently fold in strawberries. Set aside.

Line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. Scoop into 12 small balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop 24 heaping tablespoons of dough and flatten into circles on the baking sheet. Place cream cheese filling on top of 12 pieces of dough. Place remaining dough on top of filling and pinch edges together. Roll gently into balls.

Arrange stuffed cookie dough balls 2" apart on baking sheets and bake until cookies are set and just golden around edges, about 22-25 minutes.

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