This Orzo, Chickpea, and Tahini Salad recipe combines crisp vegetables with a touch of heat from the harissa. The recipe makes a vegetarian dinner for one or two with a few leftovers. It would also be perfect as a side dish for a larger group. I prefer the larger amount of harissa and capers. Depending on the spiciness of the harissa and your love of capers, start with the smaller amount and adjust as desired. If tomatoes are in season, use your favorite kind, but if it’s not prime tomato season, I suggest using cherry or grape tomatoes as they tend to have the most flavor.
Begin by cooking the orzo according to the package directions in salted water. When cooked to al dente, drain well and rinse briefly with cold water.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine minced shallot, zest, and juice of one lemon, white wine vinegar, and 1 ½ tsp salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to quick pickle the shallot.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, tahini, and harissa. Stir in shallot, lemon and vinegar mixture along with the drained chickpeas. Then, mix in cooked orzo, parsley, capers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Top with a bit of freshly ground black pepper and season with salt to taste if desired.