Sometimes, there’s just no time to plan the next meal. Especially in summer, it is so nice to be able to be spontaneous. When the sun finally breaks through the clouds after several rainy days, you’ve got to get outside; when friends drop in, you want to be able to invite them to stay for dinner. So, you need a few recipes and some basic ingredients on hand for those need-a-meal-quick moments. Here is one of those recipes. Like most of my recipes, it is very flexible, and can be delicious with a variety of ingredients, so you can use what you have.
Very Quick & Easy Orzo
- 1-2 cups dried orzo (rice-shaped pasta, whole wheat for best nutrition – available through link)
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste), minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bunch dark green leafy vegetables (kale, chard, mustard greens… if you like foraging you can use dandelion greens, nettles — picked with gloves on!, etc), cut in thin strips
- 1 cups peas, corn, carrots and/or peppers cut into small pieces
- to make it a complete meal, add some protein: 1 cup of beans, cubed cheese such as feta or crumbled goat or blue, tofu, chicken, turkey or fish.
- other possible ingredients: olives, capers, green onions, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, chili pepper flakes if you like a little heat, nuts or seeds.
- Bring water for pasta to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente (for orzo this is just about 5 minutes in boiling water). Don’t overcook, al dente is the healthiest way to enjoy pasta.
- Meanwhile, sauté garlic, and onions and chili flakes if using. Add chopped greens and any other vegetables you have to add. Saute for just a few minutes or until greens hit their brightest green color. Transfer half to a large bowl.
- As soon as pasta is done, add cold water to the pan to stop the boiling and drain. Add pasta to the bowl.
- Add remaining sautéed vegetables to the pasta bowl and scrape the pan for maximum flavor. Finish off with salt, pepper, sliced olives, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, a protein and/or any fresh herbs you have.. whatever you have and whatever you like. Toss lightly.
- Enjoy it immediately or take it with you for lunch, on a hike or a picnic.