½teaspoonfine sea salt, (plus more to salt the orzo cooking water)
OPTIONAL ¼teaspoonred pepper flakes
For the salad
2 cups (13 oz / 360grams)orzo, uncooked (gluten-free if necessary)
5 to 6 cups (about 4oz/120 grams)arugula (rocket in the UK), (1 clamshell type container usually contains about the right amount)
vegan feta, for crumbling when serving
Bring a large pan of generously salted water to a boil.
While waiting make the dressing. Add all of the ingredients to the bottom of a large salad bowl (the one you'll be making the salad in) and whisk together. You can also shake it together in a jar if you prefer.
Once the water is at a rolling boil add the orzo. Immediately give it a stir, then cook, stirring briefly every couple of minutes until al dente. It usually takes about 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions say to cook it for. Keep testing a bit and as soon as it's barely done (softish when you bite but still firm in the centre) that's it. It will continue to soften once mixed with the dressing so it's important not to overcook it.
Drain the orzo immediately using a sieve, and tip it into the salad bowl with the dressing while still warm. The orzo will suck up all of the lemony dressing quite quickly.
Add the arugula leaves and toss everything together. It will look like too much arugula at first but the leaves wilt with the lemon juice and it ends up being just right.
If using the optional vegan feta, crumble it over the salad before serving.
Making ahead - I recommend prepping the individual components and waiting before tossing them together.
Make the dressing and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to a few days.
Cook the orzo, drain, then toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or a tiny bit of the dressing, before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. The oil will stop the orzo clumping together. It should be ok for 2 days.
Then toss all together with the arugula before serving.
Leftover salad will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge but the arugula does get a little limp. It's fine for personal use, but I'd make it fresh for guests.