Orzo Primavera…in autumn!

Check out those beautiful colorful veggies! YUM!

This started out as a simple salad of arugula, fresh corn, and lemon.  But I kept finding more things to add, and added elements of a orzo pasta salad that my mom makes.  The result is a wonderfully filling, tasty,  low-fat and nutrient-packed pasta dish.  Another great thing is that it can be served cold or at room temperature, so it’s great for a picnic, potluck, or just a make ahead meal.  It comes together quickly and remember, it’s a salad!  You can adjust the amounts, add or completely remove ingredients based on your taste and what you have available 

Whole wheat orzo is one of my new favorites. The Delallo brand is the one I use and it’s great, not grainy at all!  The best place I’ve been able to find it is at Whole Foods for around $2.00/lb.  It’s available online at www.delallo.com, and amazon.com carries a different brand.  But, ask your local grocer to about it.  If a few people ask, chances are they’ll start carrying it. 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. whole wheat orzo pasta

1 large crown broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off (or 1-2 cups frozen sweet corn kernals, thawed)

1-2 small persian cucumbers, diced

2-3 stalks celery, diced

1 can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1 bunch or bag of baby arugula (or baby spinach), chopped

2 handfuls Kalamata olives, sliced

1 can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and sliced

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

2 lemons (yes, 2 whole lemons), zested and juiced

salt and pepper, to taste

OPTIONAL: 1-2 large handfuls fresh basil, torn into small pieces (if available)

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Set a large pot of water over med-high heat.  While waiting for water to boil, go ahead and prep your ingredients.

2.  Boil orzo according to package directions. Add broccoli during last two  minutes of cooking time.

3. Drain and rinse orzo and broccoli under cold running water

4. Return pasta and broccoli to the pot (away from the heat).  Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Reusing the same pot means fewer dishes and allows the greens to lightly wilt

FYI: The lemon juice may slightly discolor the broccoli, but it will still taste just fine.  If you want to minimize discoloration, try getting the broccoli as cold as possible before adding the lemon juice.  This will also help retain more of the nutrients too.  🙂

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