Orzo, Feta and Chickpea Salad: Keeping a Basil Plant Alive

by simplylife on August 8, 2012

If it’s okay with you, I’d like to toot my own horn for a second here.

I bought this basil plant on a (frugal) whim.  The plant was $2.99 at Whole Foods when a package of already picked and packaged basil was more than that at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  At the time, I figured I would get at least the same amount of basil leaves, and possibly a few more, if I could finally keep a plant alive.

Well, I’m happy to report, that nearly 3 months in, the plant is still thriving!  While this may not seem like much for many of you, especially those with overflowing gardens (do you teach lessons?), it is quite the feat for myself.  Through trial and error, I’ve learned that this plant does best sitting on the windowsill where there is direct sunlight for just a few hours per day (compared to the “other” window I started with that allows for much more sun; the basil plant nearly dried-up!), and with a small amount of cool water every 3 days (I’m thinking I used to kill all my former plants with too much love water).

Anyways, I’ve been enjoying the scent and flavor of fresh basil these past few months and love being able the throw a few fresh leaves into whatever we may be cooking.  This orzo pasta salad was a recent hit in our household, especially as it was perfect to eat in the hot water, and the fresh basil only made it better.

Orzo, Feta and Chickpea Salad

by Simply Life

Keywords: raw entree side vegetarian pasta cheese olives chickpeas July 4th summer


  • 8 oz. orzo pasta
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tbs. halved black olives
  • About 5 large basil leaves, roughly chopped


1. Trim ends off summer squash and grateit. Place in colander and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Set aside for 10 minutes then press against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water.

2. Meanwhile, cook orzo noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water until room temperature.

3. Place orzo noodles and summer squash in large bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

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In addition to fresh basil, one of my other favorite summer flavors is iced tea.   I was sent Pure Green Tea, Blueberry Green Tea and this reusable bag courtesy of Teas’ Tea.  I easily forget how refreshing ice tea can be on a hot summer’s day and this package could not have arrived at a better time!

I have really been enjoying the Blueberry Green Tea!  It is just lightly sweetened, so there is still a strong traditional green tea taste, but without any bitterness.

Their teas come in several flavors in the following categories: Classic. Low Calorie, Plus (Half Green Tea and Half Lemonade…this sounds sooo good to me!) and Unsweetened.  The sweetened varieties all use natural cane sugar and the unsweetened teas are a great source of natural antioxidants, provide at least 100% daily value of Vitamin C and contain zero calories.  If you enjoy green tea, then you will like Teas’ Tea!

~Do you have a “green thumb?”  Any gardening tips you’re willing to share?!

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  • http://errign.wordpress.com/ Errign

    The only plant I’ve managed to not kill was a rosemary plant – everything else is brown and dead 🙂

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    The only plant I’ve been able to keep alive is one my mom bought as a house plant that she assure me was “resiliant”. ha ha ha

    Well. I also once received an orchid from an ex (it was his “hobby of the week” at the time, so why did he think I’d want a plant?), that I was doing pretty well with until we broke up, he went crazy, and I had the desire to kill it. The thing took a month to officially die. And orchids are not normally easy to keep up. Wtf?

  • http://www.cookiesleuth.com/ Cookie Sleuth

    Congrats on the basil plant! Mr. Sleuth has the green thumb, but not me. :/ This orzo salad looks great. I recently made an orzo salad for a potluck, and people loved it. It’s such a fun summer salad.

  • http://healthnut-em.blogspot.com em

    I share the same problem; I’m horrible at keeping plants alive. My basil plant died in an early frost last year 🙁 My boyfriend has a garden full of veggies, and thankfully that is doing fantastically to make up for my black thumb.

  • Belinda @zomppa

    I’m impressed! I have not been able to keep a basil alive inside…will try again!!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    My basil plant is alive too!! That is the only thing I bought this year, and I am pretty happy I kept it alive, even after it was outside in a few thunderstorms!

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    You always have the best summer salads!! I love all your recipes.
    And those teas look so yummy – I’ll have to look for them in the stores!

  • DeliciousDish

    That is a huge feat! I kill basil all the time. I have the best intentions though! I’m hoping I’ll do better when I finally have a yard and can plant an outdoor garden.

  • http://www.brokenrecord.ca/foodblog camille

    I am so going to try a basil plant once we’ve moved. I don’t know if I have a green thumb or not – I’ve never really had the right kind of environment to grow something in!

  • https://merigoesround.com/ meri

    I really need to grow my own herbs- they are so good fresh but I never buy them packaged because they are so expensive, so I only get them on occasion from the farmer’s market. Good for you for keeping it going!

  • http://bite-sized-thoughts.blogspot.com/ Kari

    Toot away! Impressive stuff, and an impressive dish 🙂

  • Gina (Candid RD)

    I’m so mad that I didn’t plant any herbs this year. I simply wasn’t thinking! NExt year basil and mint will be surrounding our house 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/Daisy_III IndulgeInspireImbibe

    I really don’t have a green thumb but somehow i have managed to keep some herb plants alive this season! I’ve got sage, thyme and parsley. I need a basil plant!!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh that’s very impressive!

  • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

    I bought a basil plant a few weeks ago too and mine sadly didn’t stay alive. I still keep buying basil though…nothing can beat its flavor in the summer!

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    Minus the feta, I can totally eat this on my vegan cleanse!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Yes! And it has so much flavor already that it would be delicious without the cheese!

  • http://twitter.com/goodeatsgirl1 Autumn

    I cannot grow plants. I have a black thumb. I bought a basil plant this spring and tried and tried to keep it alive….but didn’t! I’m stuck buying it until I try again!

  • http://luxuryhaven.blogspot.com/ Blackswan

    I love Basil but I do not have green hands. I can imagine the nice scent coming from your home 🙂

  • Couscous & Consciousness

    Love this – this is my idea of salad heaven. Totally impressed that you kept the basil plant alive – I would have killed it off within two days – I kid you not.

  • http://www.plumber-san-diego.us/ San Diego Plumber

    Yes!! I agree. This salad is just perfect. I love basil! I agree. It’s fun to plant it on your own. Do you have any recipes with basil? I would love to try them. Thanks

  • Mom

    Your plant looks sooo healthy…it’s beautiful…CONGRATS. I always got a thrill when I didn’t kill a plant and when they thrived, oh my 🙂

  • Ranjani

    I totally understand – I couldn’t keep a basil plant alive until very recently either. This salad looks wonderful – a complete meal in one bowl.

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