I like using orzo in this dish rather than rice as I find this tiny pasta lighter and I don’t feel heavy afterwards.
Prepare the shrimp marinade just before cooking. Do not let sit for longer than an hour as the acid from the lemon juice can “cook” the shrimp.
I’m leaving the tail on the shrimp only because that’s how I like to eat it. Feel free to remove the tail before cooking, if you prefer.
Zest the lemon first before squeezing the lemon. If you squeeze the lemon first, it’s really hard to zest the lime. When zesting the lemon, lightly zest the top layer, don’t go into the white pith or it will be bitter.
For the cucumbers, I recommend using mini or Lebanese cucumbers as they have less seeds and a thinner skin. If you use English cucumbers, consider removing some of the peel and removing the seeds, otherwise the orzo dish will be very wet.
I recommend using pitted olives. If you use olives with the pit, warn your dinner partner
The olives and feta are salty so I didn’t add additional salt. Feel free to add more if desired.
Check the orzo often and ensure you remove from heat and drain it before it becomes al dente, otherwise it will get very mushy.
This recipe feeds two.
For the shrimp:
300g peeled and deveined shrimp (about 12 pieces of 16/20)
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp rosemary
½ tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ tbsp unsalted butter
For the orzo:
½ cup orzo
150g grape tomatoes
30g red onion
100g cucumber (2 small cucumbers)
150g black olives, pitted
½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dill
½ tsp oregano
black pepper to taste
1. Wash and pat dry the shrimp, then add to a bowl.
2. Zest the lemon; add the zest to the shrimp.
3. Slice the lemon in half. Squeeze half the lemon and add ½ tsp into the bowl of shrimp.
4. Slice the other lemon half into wedges.
5. Use a garlic press or finely chop the garlic cloves and add to the bowl of shrimp.
6. Add the oregano, thyme, rosemary and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (optional).
7. Place in the fridge.
8. Slice the grape tomatoes. Slice the larger tomatoes into quarters and the smaller ones in half.
9. Dice the onion.
10. Remove the ends of the cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise, then slice lengthwise again (so there are four strips from one cucumber). Slice the strips into small pieces.
11. Drain as much of the brine as possible off the olives (use a paper towel to pat, if necessary). Slice the olives in half.
12. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once it boils, add a generous pinch of salt, stir, then add the orzo. Cook to just before al dente.
13. When the orzo is just before al dente, remove from heat and drain in a sieve. Use a spoon and stir to remove as much liquid as possible; then transfer to a bowl.
14. To the orzo, add the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and olives. Crumble in the feta. Add the olive oil, dill, oregano and black pepper. Add 2 tsp of lemon juice. Stir gently to combine.
15. Place a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.
16. To the pan, add the shrimp in a single layer and pour the marinade over it. Let cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp in the order in which you added it to ensure even cooking. After two minutes, stir to combine for another minute, then remove from the pan.
17. Dish the orzo mixture into two bowls, then add the shrimp on top. Squeeze the lemon over the mixture.
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