I love zucchini season.
There is so much you can do with zucchini. You can go sweet with zucchini bread or savory with zucchini ravioli. Lately I slice one up and pan fry the slices in a tiny bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. It’s simple, delicious and goes with just about any dinner I make.
If you’ve followed me for a while then you know that I love chickpeas. I have a lot of recipes to prove it. 😉 I also love feta cheese. I’m half Greek so it’s kind of a requirement. Zucchini, chickpeas, feta cheese… it’s like this recipe was made for me. And this isn’t just plain feta cheese we’re dealing with here, but crispy pan fried feta cheese. Need I say more? As soon as I found this recipe, I simply had to try it to see if it was as good as it sounded. Oh yes it was. My husband loved it too. In fact we were both hoping to get to the leftovers first for lunch the next day.
I highly recommend that you don’t skip the yogurt (assuming you like yogurt of course). It may seem like an odd addition, but it really adds a nice creamy texture when you mix everything together.
Also, if you don’t like or have fresh basil or thyme then you can substitute them for almost any other herb you like because I think most would work with this dish. In general, I only use a little bit of fresh herbs because I prefer an essence of herb flavors in my meals. The original recipe called for more herbs so feel free to load up on them if that’s your thing.
Crispy Feta with Chickpeas, Zucchini, and Orzo Recipe
(Makes 4 servings)
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 package (8 ounce block) feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box, then drain it.
- Place the orzo in a bowl and mix it together with the chopped basil and butter. Set this aside.
- In a large skillet, on Medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the chickpeas, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and cook them until they begin to brown.
- Add in the sliced zucchini, fresh thyme, pepper, and lemon zest and cook until the zucchini is browned.
- Remove the chickpeas and zucchini mixture to a bowl and set that aside.
- Slice the feta cheese into 1/4 inch thick slabs and gently dry each slab with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture.
- Pour the cornstarch into a plate or wide shallow bowl. Place a feta slab into the cornstarch and coat it on all sides. Repeat with all of the feta slabs.
- In the same skillet as you used for the chickpeas and zucchini, still on Medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the coated feta cheese slabs in the hot oil in a single layer and cook it until they are golden brown on the bottom. (Check the underside gently, feta tends to want to fall apart.) Flip the feta cheese slab and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove the cooked feta to a plate.
- To plate, spread a little of the plain Greek yogurt on the plate, then add a pile of orzo, then add some of the chickpeas and zucchini mixture, then top with a couple of slabs of crispy feta cheese.
- Sprinkle some fresh basil and thyme on top.
Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest