Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Basil, & Orzo Salad

This salad couldn’t be simpler to make. Every time I make it, I am surprised at how much I love the flavor.

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First, slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of each. I sliced, as well as cubed the cucumbers to have a variation in texture.

Toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.

Add in about 2 cups of cooked orzo.

Top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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That’s it! And it’s absolutely easy and fresh. I grew up eating cucumbers and love them fresh, but apparently not everyone does. Hopefully you do, and you maybe try this salad and tell me how good it was!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Peruano Bean & Orzo Soup

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In case you couldn’t tell, I love orzo. It’s so fun, I can easily find it in bulk, and it can be made into a variety of dishes.

Here, I’ve cooked up yet another variation of pasta and beans. True love!

I started this soup off with the typical mirepoix which is onion, celery, and carrot. I know those vegetables aren’t deemed exotic or glamorous, but dang they are delicious and staples for a reason.

In an effort to reduce waste, I typically use an entire onion anytime I cook with onion. I also chopped up a few carrots and a few stalks of celery, including the leaves.

From there, I just built up the soup adding homemade bouillon, water, cooked Peruano beans, and nearing the end, orzo. It’s honestly that easy to have a simple, delicious dinner. This is easily vegan, just start with oil, which is what I did, or you can start with butter if you prefer that taste.

All this soup needed was some salt and pepper and a big, hearty slice of homemade sourdough bread to accompany it.

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I hope to soon share yet another pasta + bean “recipe” for you!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Caramelized Vegetables and Orzo

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This dish should have served 4. But with my husband and I each taking a bite each time we walked through the kitchen, then serving ourselves bowls of it later that same night, it really only served about 2.5. I think we like this dish!

This does not require only one pan, sadly, because I had to first cook the orzo, but this dish uses nearly all my favorite flavors, so it was well worth the 2 pans. So, yes, first cook approximately 1 cup of orzo to al dente then drain and drizzle with some olive oil.

Chop up purple sweet potatoes (they are available locally for me and are HEAVEN), and let those babies sit in some high smoke-point oil in your biggest and heaviest cast iron pan, then add chopped up yellow onions. Yellow are the best! I used what remained from 2 different onions.

Then chop up a few cloves of garlic and let all of that stay in the pan with very little stirring to get BROWN!

Add some grated ginger, stir that up, then chop up brown mushrooms and let those sit on the hot part of the pan.

Once all these delectable vegetables look brown and caramelized, add in a mixture of 1 TBS oil, 2 TBS soy sauce (or Bragg Liquid Aminos), and 1 TBS balsamic vinegar. Stir now and make sure everything gets coated.

Next, start adding in the orzo and continue to stir until even the orzo looks browned and yummy. Then add in your choice of hearty green (kale, chard, spinach) for just a couple minutes. I chose kale. Enjoy!

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Recipe tweaked from this one.

Peace and love,

Kristan