Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus

May 14, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes

Spring has sprung and so have the local farmers markets. The asparagus crop has come in so it’s time to start digging up (and making up) some recipes that use this bounty.

The vegetarian Caesar dressing makes this dish taste like a risotto without all that cooking time. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be sitting outside enjoying the nice weather than standing at a stove.

My measurements for the dressing are approximate – you may want more dijon or Worcestershire or perhaps less lemon juice. I suggest playing around a bit with the until you get the taste you want.

Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus
by Megabeth

  • 1 14.5 ounce can vegetable broth (approx 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup orzo, uncooked
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces on diagonal
  • approx 1/4 cup vegetarian Caesar dressing (recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesean cheese, reserve some to sprinkle on top

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
by Megabeth

  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Set aside. (If using vegan mayo, expect to whisk a lot to make sure it incorporates into a creamy dressing. I used Nasoya Nayonaise which broke up until little chunks so I had to whisk for a bit to get it all into a smooth texture.)

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

Bring water and broth to a boil in a large pot. Add uncooked orzo and cook for 3 minutes.

Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus

Add asparagus and cook for another 7 – 8 minutes or until orzo is tender. Stir often to make sure orzo does not stick to bottom of pot.

Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. (If extra liquid remains, drain, then transfer to bowl.)

Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus

Add vegetarian caesar dressing and stir to coat.

Vegetarian Caesar Orzo with Asparagus

Stir in shredded parmesean. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle some extra parmesean cheese on top when serving.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Zesty Orzo and Cheese

December 27, 2008 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

My kitchen was overrun with acorn squash this week. This recipe was perfect as I was able to stretch the filling of orzo to fit into two large squash halves plus four small ones.

There are several options on how to cook the acorn squash – microwaving, steaming, or baking with olive oil. The method described below worked well for me as the acorn squash has time to cook while I’m working on the orzo and sauce. And, the oven is already pre-heated when it’s time to bake the acorn squash when it’s stuffed with the filling.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Zesty Orzo and Cheese
by Megabeth

2 large acorn squash, halved, seeded
3/4 cup water
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce
panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 400° F. Prick acorn squash several times with knife. Place in microwave for two minutes on high. Remove from microwave and let sit one minute. Cut acorn squash in half (stem to stem).

To keep acorn squash from rolling around in pan once you flip them over, cut a thin slice from rounded side of each squash half. Place squash, open side down in glass pyrex baking pan. Add water to pan and cover with foil.

Bake for about 35 minutes – or until squash is tender. Once tender, drain water in pan and flip acorn squash open side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place orzo on small baking sheet and place in oven for a few minutes to toast.

Put a few cups of salted water in pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add toasted orzo. Cook until almost tender (about 5 minutes.)  Drain the orzo.

Add milk and broth into pot and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add orzo. Continue boiling until the liquid thickens and orzo becomes tender. Stir frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain. Remove pot from heat.

Stir in cheddar and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Once melted add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir to combine ensuring that all the cheese is melted.

Divide mixture among squash halves. (If you’d like, to make sure that the orzo integrates better with the orzo, score the acorn squash a little bit before adding the mixture.)

Sprinkle the filled acorn squash with the rest of the Parmesean and panko crumbs.

Put into oven and bake until the tops brown – about 20 minutes.


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