• The Dancer's Pantry

.Brussel Sprout and Artichoke Orzo Salad.

Updated: Mar 18



It officially feels like Spring!


It is a glorious 70 degrees here in Sacramento... The birds are literally chirping away in the trees as I write... Flowers are blooming... My white legs are making their first appearance in months (Yikes! Thank goodness for sunscreen!)

...And, you know what that all means?


It's time for "Spring Salads"!


Even though it's March, and that means rain will come again... When the weather is beautiful the last place most of us want to be is stuck in the kitchen. I love making large batches of pasta salad, green salad, and other grain salads at the start of the week so when the opportunity arises to take a lunch break outside, NOTHING can stop me from getting my much needed dose of vitamin D.


This is a simple and quick pasta salad recipe. It works perfectly for weekly meal-prep, or can easily serve a group of 5-6 people for a weekend picnic, or as a side dish for a dinner party.


For those of you unfamiliar with orzo, it is an Italian short-cut pasta. Its rice like shape helps to keep most dishes feeling lighter and its texture and mild flavor serves as a great foil for different vegetables, herbs and spices.


So, let's get to making this tasty meal!


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.Brussel Sprout and Artichoke Orzo Salad.


Ingredients:

Serves 6.


Produce:

  • 2 cups of Brussel sprouts (cut into quarters)

  • 2 cups of marinated artichokes

  • 1 bushel of asparagus trimmed (or cut into 1/2 inch pieces)

  • 1 leek (sliced- white and green sections)

  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 cups of unsalted almonds (sliced or whole)

  • Basil (half a cup torn)

  • Parsley (half a cup chopped)


Spices and Baking:

  • Onion powder (optional)

  • Garlic powder (optional)

  • Herbs de Provence (optional)

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Vegetarian stock or bouillon

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and Pepper


Other ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Orzo

To begin bring 4-5 cups of water (with one cube of bouillon) or 4-5 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. When the water is boiling pour 2 cups of orzo in and cook until pasta is al dente. When the pasta has reached doneness, pour into a strainer or colander and set aside to cool.

*7-10 minutes.

*I like to cook my orzo in a light stock to flavor the noodles slightly. This allows me to use less dressing.

*You can cook the orzo with salted water if you prefer.


Next take a large sauté pan and bring the heat to medium high. Sauté the sliced leeks, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence.

*5 minutes.

*1 teaspoon of each seasoning.

*If the vegetables begin to stick to the pan add either a little water, or more oil.


Add the minced garlic.

*If it begins to brown quickly, lower the heat and stir frequently to avoid burning.


When the Brussel sprouts have begun to soften and are reaching doneness, add the marinated artichokes, basil, and parsley. Lower the heat to medium low and stir well to combine all ingredients. Add 1/4 a cup of red wine vinegar, another pinch of salt, black pepper, and mix well.


Two ways to combine all ingredients for final plating:


1. Warm pasta salad:

  • Pour the orzo into the sautéed vegetables and bring the heat to low. Add the almond slices as garnish and plate the salad warm in individual bowls or one large mixing or salad bowl.


2. Cold or room-temperature salad:

  • Turn the heat off completely and allow the sautéed vegetables to fully cool. Once the vegetables have cooled, place them into a large mixing or salad bowl and add the orzo. Toss the vegetables into the salad. You will need to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to loosen the orzo, as it may have become stuck together when it rested. Add sliced almonds to garnish.


Anyway you prepare this recipe (hot, warm, or straight out of the fridge), it will be delicious!

Light, healthy, and straightforward to make!


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