crispy lemon feta with spiced chickpeas and basil orzo

adapted from Half Baked Harvest.



  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 clove grated garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for serving
  • zest of 1 lemon


  • 8 ounce block feta cheese, patted dry, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3.5 cups or 2- 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme or rosemary)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoons toasted sesame seed
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove grated garlic
  • 1/2 cup mixed tender herbs, such as mint, basil, dill, and or cilantro


  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F.
  2. Cook the orzo according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and toss with butter, grated garlic, lemon zest, basil, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Drizzle the dried chickpeas with olive oil and season with smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast, stirring halfway through, 20 to 22 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly crispy (be careful, as the chickpeas may pop as they roast). Remove from the oven. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium pan (preferably nonstick), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the thyme and zucchini rounds in an even layer; season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned and softened. Turn off the heat and remove the zucchini to a paper towel-lined plate. 
  5. While the zucchini cooks, add the cornstarch to a shallow bowl. Add the feta slices and toss to coat all sides. When the zucchini is done, heat the same skillet over medium heat, and add a drizzle of oil if the skillet is dry. Arrange the feta in a single layer and cook until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove the feta from the skillet to a plate.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, 1 clove grated garlic, and a pinch of salt.
  7. To serve, spread the yogurt in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Add the orzo, crispy feta, zucchini, and chickpeas overtop. Serve topped with fresh herbs and sesame seeds.

serves 4.

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