orzo verde

orzo verde

when the beginnings of spring tease at your psyche, there’s an instinctive longing to forego the heavy, stew-y dishes of winter and make something light and fresh and green. orzo verde is teeny, elongated egg-shaped pasta (israeli couscous is also an option) toasted until golden then all tossed up with lovely green things, olive oil, and lemon. perfect on it’s own, or maybe you’re feeling adventuresome and have ventured out to the barbecue grill. in that case, it makes a lovely side dish for something grilled. i like to make tofu skewers on the grill, or serve this with a nice vegetarian burger.

orzo verde

orzo verde

2 cups orzo pasta
3 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
juice and zest of 2 lemons
4 cups arugula packed arugula leaves, finely chopped (you’ll end up with about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups packed baby spinach, finely chopped (you’ll end up with about 3/4 cup)
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
2 tbsp. capers, coarsely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

in a large frying pan with a lid, heat the 3 tbsp. olive oil over high heat. add the orzo and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the grains are a light golden brown and some are turning a deeper golden, about 4 minutes. add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. pour in the stock, and add the salt, pepper, and lemon zest and juice. bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cover. cook for 15 minutes, stirring very frequently (orzo is sticky stuff) until orzo are nearly tender and the liquid has been nearly absorbed. stir in arugula, spinach, peas, and capers. if mixture seems too thick, add a 1/4 more water to loosen it up. stir over low heat for 2 minutes, or until peas are hot. stir in 3/4 of the feta. serve hot, and top with a light drizzle of olive oil, the remaining feta, pine nuts, and parsley.

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sunflower life bowl

sunflower life bowl

“sunflower life bowl” is hands down the most hippie name i’ve ever given to a recipe. it fits though, because when i haven’t been eating as well as i should, i make this. when i’m chowing down on all those good late-winter veggies, greens and living sunflower sprouts it feels like i’m giving a gift to every cell in my body. it just feels good to eat this. i buy the living sunflower sprouts at my local natural food store. they are only a few dollars and i keep them on the kitchen windowsill. bonus: with regular watering, they keep producing. pea shoots too, will go on forever.

this is less of a recipe and more a combining of ingredients. the recipes are the really the preparing of the individual components, so make any or all of them that you like. it can be made with any vegetables that are fresh and seasonal or that you just feel like eating, but i have to say this combo is really nice together

i try to keep containers in my fridge of cooked grains, roasted root vegetables, greens, some marinating tofu or tempeh and a few dressings so i can throw together a veggie grain bowl like this for dinner or an easy lunch. beets can be cooked anytime, peeled, and then kept in the fridge for whenever you want them.

i’ve used tempeh here, but if you’re a meat-eater by all means feel free to use any protein you like.

as for the cheese, i chose this lovely mild brebis frais from best baa dairy, but leave it off for a vegan bowl.


Sunflower Life Bowl

sunflower life bowl

1 cup farro*
2 cups water
3 small golden beets
2 small red beets
1 small butternut squash
8 oz tempeh or tofu
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. canola oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
4 cups mixed greens
2 cups sunflower sprouts
200 g (7oz) soft sheep or goat cheese


1 small clove garlic, finely minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
2 tsp. tamari
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil

bring the water to a boil. add a pinch of salt, then stir in the farro. bring back up to a boil. cover, remove from hear, and allow to stand for 1 hour, or until farro has absorbed all the water.

preheat oven to 400F. place beets in a glass dish and add 1″ water. cover tightly with foil and cook until tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours, depending on size of beets. cool, then peel and set aside.

peel squash and cut in half lengthwise. scrape out seeds, and cut into 3/4″ thick slices. arrange on a parchment-lined pan. sprinkle with alt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. roast for 10 minutes, flip pieces, and roast 10 minutes more. set aside to cool

slice the tempeh or tofu into 1/2″ thick slices. whisk together tamari, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight. cook in a hot non-stick pan or grill pan for 2 minutes per side, (or use the bbq). Set aside.

heat the 1 tsp. canola oil to high. toss in the chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot and a little brown. remove from heat, add the paprika and nutritional yeast and toss well.

whisk together all dressing ingredients and pour into a glass jar with a lid.

to assemble, divide the greens among 4 bowls, and top with 1/4 of the farro. arrange the beets, squash, tofu, chickpeas, and a spoonful of the cheese on top. drizzle with the dressing, and mound with a handful of the sunflower sprouts.

*farro may also be called spelt grains or emmer. whatever you call it, its a nutty, chewy, tasty little variety of wheat!

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