Lemon & Parsley Orzo with Chick Peas

As summer is nearing it’s end this year, I’ve been looking for ways to use up the parsley in my garden before it yellows and is no longer producing. I had some orzo on hand so why not put the two together and see what we can come up with? This recipe is very light and crisp, perfect for those dog days of summer that we experience in Ohio in August. Most of these ingredients were chosen because they were on hand in my kitchen, so don’t be afraid to change it up if you don’t have everything in the ingredient list.

Orzo

 

Ingredients:

1 cup dry orzo, cooked according to package

1 large bunch of fresh parsley (a good handful)

Fresh basil leaves, about 8, if available

1 cup + orange grape tomatoes, quartered

1 cup peas (I used frozen)

1 can organic chick peas, drained and well rinsed

1/2 green pepper

Dressing:

White wine vinegar

Olive oil

1/2 lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp each of granulated onion, dried shallot, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder

1/2 TBS Honey

Directions:

1. Cook the orzo according to the package interactions, which would typically be boiling the orzo in 3-4 cups of water (for 1 cup dry orzo) for about 16 minutes.

2. Add the frozen peas into the boiling orzo for the last 6 minutes of the cooking time (who needs to dirty up extra pots?)

3. Chop tomatoes and herbs and dice green peppers. Put into a mixing bowl large enough for entire dish. (the green peppers add a great crisp bite to this dish, so I recommend using them or something that will give you a similar snap!)

4. Add cooked orzo and peas into mixing bowl.

5. Mix together ingredients for dressing. I prefer equal amount of olive oil to my vinegar so I only used about 1/3 cup of each or less.

6. Pour 3/4 of the dressing into the orzo mixture, the rest will be tossed with the chick peas to cook.

7. Using the same pot you cooked your orzo in, add the remaining amount of dressing along with your chick peas. Bring to a simmer, stirring for about 10 minutes. (if you prefer uncooked chick peas this step may not be necessary. I tend to prefer warming mine to soften them a bit. If you have a little extra time on your hand, put them in the oven instead for a brown crispness).

8. Add chick peas to your orzo mixture, toss and serve or refrigerate for later!

 

Green Spring Salad with Creamy Vegan Herb Dressing

Finally, the sun is out in Ohio and people have climbed out of their caves to bask in the rarely seen sun. The air smells different and it will be just a short time until the weekly farmer’s markets are bustling with localvores searching for the freshest ingredients to use in colorful dishes. Until then, visiting the North Market is exactly like being at a summer farmer’s market, and that is where I ventured today to find fresh arugula and kale, which are the shinning stars in this stunning salad. Image

 

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups arugula

4 cups kale (torn and massaged)

1 cup chopped green onion

extra virgin olive oil

fresh ground salt and pepper

I think it is kind of strange… the way certain foods become “trendy”. Kale is certainly one of those foods right now, it is on every restaurant menu from salads to burger toppings and I have to be honest, I’m okay jumping on the band wagon. I’ve been loving Kale since the first time I tried kale chips a few years ago.

So to be quite honest, when I’ve tried using fresh uncooked kale in recipes, it has often tasted bitter or too chewy. AND THEN SOMEONE TOLD ME TO MASSAGE THE KALE. Hallelujah! What a difference massaging the kale makes. So DON’T skip this step.

Salad Directions: 

1. Make sure to wash the arugula and kale very well. Both of these leafy greens tend to hold a lot of sandy dirt in their leaves.

2. Remove the leafy part of the kale by holding the thick stem in your right hand, upside down. Pull the leaves downward and they pull right off of the stems.

3. Rip the kale into 1″ size pieces and then scrunch and crunch the kale with your hands. In other words, give it a good old massaging (deep tissue).

4. Chop the green onion and add to the big bowl of arugula and kale.

5. Rather than putting lots of salt and pepper in your dressing, I like to add a bit into the bowl of greens now, and then spritz the greens with some olive oil. I used garlic infused oil for a little extra flavor and used my Misto to spray the greens.

Dressing Ingredients: 

2-3 Tablespoons Grapeseed Vegenaise

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic

+ spices of your choice (onion powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder or parsley)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Dressing Directions: 

1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and chop, then process into a creamy liquid.

2. Taste and feel free to add more vinegar or Vegenaise depending on taste and consistency. You can get creative and change up the spices at any time.

3. Refrigerate for an hour for best results on cold greens.

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