Cleaning out the fridge is no picnic. Or is it? We love this easy, do-ahead picnic salad that makes fabulous use of leftover grilled salmon or chicken. Crisp-tender haricots verts (thin French green beans), chunks of pungent feta cheese and buttery orzo pasta are delicious tossed in a simple lemon vinaigrette. Halved grape tomatoes sweeten the bowl and add a gorgeous splash of red.
Of course the bounty of leftovers differs from diva to diva—so be creative and use what you have on hand. Leftover corn, asparagus or toasted pine nuts all work well. And the salad can stands alone as a delectable veggie meal.
Pack up a blanket, a bottle of bubbly and the current love of your life, and you’re off to dine al fresco.
Orzo, Feta and French Bean Salad
8 ounces haricots verts, or thin green beans
1/2 pound orzo
Juice of 2 lemons
Coarse salt and cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried dill, or more to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 grilled salmon fillets, optional
Cook the haricot verts in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Cook the orzo according to package directions; drain, rinse and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and olive oil. Add the beans, pasta, feta, tomatoes and salmon, if using; gently toss to combine.
Serve chilled or at room temperature