Tag Archives: orzo

Detox: Pomegranate and Kale Orzo Salad

During this period between Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot of our lives revolve around food.  First, there is the giant Thanksgiving dinner- and we’re all very full.  And in the last couple of weeks a number of our friends have had birthdays- which means more food!  (Don’t worry friends- I will gladly try new restaurants with you!)  And I know many people reach for a salad to give their stomach a break.

I think this salad is a great alternative!  It’s got a light pasta- orzo, a fruit- pomegranate, vegetables- kale, pearl onions, and a great dressing.  And the hardest thing to do (for me) was peeling out the pomegranate seeds.  Don’t worry- in most stores you can buy the peeled seeds.

We took this salad to work almost all week for lunch, and it had the perfect level of lightness, but filling enough that our stomachs weren’t growing an hour after.  It was a great little detox salad from all of the big dinners!

I’m truly a fan of pomegranate.  The texture is fantastic- soft at first, but firm when you bit into it.  Plus it’s not overly sweet.  Around the holidays I like to add it to a lot of salads or dishes, since it does add a festive feel to it with the beautiful red color.

Adding the kale to the salad gave it that earthy taste.  If you’re not a fan of kale, I think spinach or arugula would be a great substitution.   That small change can actually make the dish even lighter, and have a spring or summer feel to it.  Very versatile.  I’d love to hear of any additions or substitutions any you might have!

Pomegranate and Kale Orzo Salad
Adapted from: Happyolks
Servings: 6-8 lunch salads

1 pinch & 1 tsp of salt
2 cups of pearl onions
1 tsp & 1/4 cup of olive oil
2 1/2 cups of orzo
2 pomegranates
1-2 bunches of kale, chopped
juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp honey

In a large pot, add water and cook it.  Once the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt.  Then add the pearl onions.  Cook them for about 10 minutes.  Once they are cooked through, use a strainer to take all of the pearl onions out of the pot.  Leave the water in the pot.  Set the cooked pearl onions aside in a bowl.

In the pot with the boiling water, add the orzo.  Add 1 tsp of olive oil and cook the orzo for about 8-10 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.  When the orzo is ready, drain and rinse with cold water.  Add to it to a large bowl.

While the pearl onions and orzo are cooking, break open the pomegranates.  I tend to cut the fruit into 4 pieces, and then begin to take out the seeds. Meanwhile, pick out and throw out the white fibrous bits.  Add all of the seeds to the bowl with the orzo.

Once the pearl onions are cooled, trim off one end (just a tiny piece).  Squeeze out the rest of the onion from its skins.  Once I removed the skins I roughly chopped the onions (but feel free to keep them whole).  Toss them into the large bowl with the other ingredients.

Then, toss in the chopped kale into the bowl.  Mix all of the ingredients well.

In a separate bowl whisk together: 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp salt, juice of an orange and honey.  Once it’s all mixed together, pour over the salad.  Toss the pasta salad once more to mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

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Orzo with Brie & Cauliflower

I apologize for the disappearing act (again!), but this past weekend I ran the Marine Corps Marathon!  So this week was a bit of a recovery week, and it allowed me to catch up on my social life- yes, Saturday long runs don’t allow for many crazy Friday nights!

But since I was running the marathon, the week prior I was looking for savory, carb-filled dishes.  I came across this recipe during the summer, but kept this little gem hidden until the weather allowed for it.  Yes, it’s coat weather here in DC.  This recipe satisfied us with its rich, warm taste on a chilly Wednesday night.

The orzo with Brie and cauliflower not only made us want seconds, but we wished we had made more of it!  And as many cheesy recipes, this was even better the next day.  I wish the picture came out a little better- it does look a bit color bland- but you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

One change I did make from the original recipe was add mushroom bouillons, if you don’t have those on hand you can do this with a veggie broth (or beef).  If you would like the mushroom flavor, just sauté mushrooms and toss them into the dish when adding the cauliflower.  But that could be another recipe post!

Orzo with Brie & Cauliflower
Adapted from: Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures

1 1/2 cups orzo
6 cups of water
2 mushroom bouillons
4 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, florets cut
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup of white wine (we used Pinot Grigio)
5 oz creamy Brie, chopped
1 tsp salt (depending on taste)
1 tsp pepper (depending on taste)
2 tbsp chives, minced

Heat a small non-stick pan, then add the orzo.  Toast the orzo and roast for about 3 minutes  This will give the orzo a roasted, nutty smell and taste.  Turn off the heat once the orzo is lightly browned.

Bring water, bouillon cubes and 2 tbsps of thyme leaves to a simmer in a saucepan.  Keep this liquid at a simmer until you use it all up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat up 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the cauliflower  and sauté it for about 5 minutes or until the florets start to get golden brown.  For the last minute add the garlic and 2 tbsp of chopped thyme.  Transfer all of the ingredients to a bowl.

Add the rest of the butter and olive oil (1 tbsp of each) into the saucepan.  Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes- the onion should become translucent.  Then add the orzo, stir the mixture for about 30 seconds.  Then add the wine, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed.

From the broth/thyme liquid, take out 2 ladles (about 1/2 cup) and pour it into the saucepan which has the onion and orzo.  Stir it slowly until the broth has been absorbed.  Continue simmering, stirring and adding the hot broth until you have used up all of the broth.  Allow for the broth to be absorbed before adding another ladle.

Lastly, stir in the cauliflower/garlic mixture into the saucepan with orzo.  Then add the Brie pieces- keep stirring so the cheese can melt into the orzo.  Add salt and pepper to taste (we only had about 1 tsp of each- the bouillons and cheese were salty).

You can sprinkle the top with some leftover Brie pieces and chives.

Asparagus & Broccoli Orzo Salad

Not having access to the Internet is a lot more difficult than I thought (well, at least when you’re not on vacation).  Last week was my first at my new job.  After rewriting my name, filling in all the special numbers, having my picture taken, and signing my name about 30 times- I am now allowed to have computer access!  Success!  I felt very out of touch with the world up until today.  Unless someone left a paper copy of an article, or was talking about a specific topic, I had no idea what was going on in the world (yes, that includes the Prince William-Kate wedding gossip).  So for all of those that have had busy days, this is a perfect salad- either to eat during your lunch hour, or enjoy when you get home and don’t have time to do much.

It’s asparagus season!  Last week I saw it for the first time at our Farmer’s Market, so it’s time to get cooking with it.  This is a great spring recipe- light, flavorful and fast.  Although I had made it for friends (when I made this dessert), we had plenty of leftovers for the two of us.  We don’t tend to buy alfalfa sprouts often, just because if you don’t use them fast enough they’ll get all soggy, but this was definitely a fantastic edition to this salad.

Asparagus & Broccoli Orzo Salad
Inspired from: 101 Cookbooks

1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1 lb asparagus; washed, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups alfalfa sprouts
1 cucumber, quartered and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Bring a large pot to a boil, add 1 tbsp of salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the orzo and cook per package instructions.

This next step can be done in 2 ways:

1) About 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking, stir in the asparagus and broccoli.  Cook for 30 seconds, then drain and run cold water over the 3 ingredients.

OR

2) Once the orzo is cooked, drain it and run cold water of the pasta.  Then boil another pot of water, add the asparagus and broccoli for about 1/2-1 minute.  Then drain and run cold water over the vegetables.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing: lemon juice, olive oil and 2 tbsp of salt.

Add the orzo, asparagus and broccoli to a large bowl.  Then toss those ingredients with the dressing.  Finally, add the alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and feta.  Toss once more for all of the ingredients to mix well.