Orzo Salad


How often do you make recipes from blogs? Although I read a lot of food blogs, I rarely follow recipes I’ve found on them. I read food blogs more to follow the people than the recipes. Every blogger has their own story to tell, and a style they use to tell it. My favourite blogs are the ones that engage me, the ones that give the impression I’m actually getting to know the author. Pretty pictures help too.

That’s not to say I only read blogs for the articles. The recipes inspire me. Sometimes I’ll see a blogger use an ingredient in a way I had never considered, which makes me think of other innovative things to try in the kitchen.

Other times I’m inspired by the simplicity of a recipe. This salad was inspired by a very simple pasta dish by Paula of bell’alimento. Her recipe got me thinking that pasta is the perfect showcase for some of my favourite summer ingredients.

This dish is comes together very quickly, but is still full of flavour, especially if you use fresh summer produce.

Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • chives, chopped
  1. In a large pot, cook the orzo according to the package instructions.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, in a large sautee pan heat the olive oil on medium. Add the minced garlic to the oil. Once you can smell the garlic, add the tomatoes, pepper and olives. Sautee for two to three minutes; the peppers should remain crisp.
  3. Strain the cooked pasta, pour into a serving bowl then add the tomato mixture. Toss with the lemon zest and chives.
Enjoy!

Quinoa Puttanesca


I like food that comes with a good story. Food with a story has been passed down through generations and is pretty much guaranteed to be good. Pasta a la Puttanesca is one of those foods. As the story goes, it was invented by prostitutes in Naples (“puttanas”). Whatever you think of the profession, you will probably agree that the sauce is pretty darn good.

It is also very easy to put together. The ingredients are sauteed together quickly and then tossed with pasta. I decided to mix things up a but by using the sauce with quinoa. It made an excellent side dish; I served it with some baked talapia and a salad for a tasty, healthy meal. I also had some leftover for lunch with some goat cheese.

Most puttanesca sauce recipes contain garlic, anchovies, peppers, olives and capers. If you like all those ingredients, use them. If not, leave something out or replace it with something you do enjoy. Having a story doesn’t make a recipe un-alterable.

Quinoa Puttanesca

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • chili flakes to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup olives, diced
  • parley, chopped
  1. Cook the quinoa as per package instructions.
  2. As the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Sautee the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and anchovy paste, sautee until you can smell the garlic.Add the spices.
  3. Add the red pepper and olives, stir until the red peppers are slightly cooked. Stir in the parley.
  4. Mix the sauce with the cooked quinoa.

Note: I didn’t add any salt to this recipe because the anchovies and olives add quite a bit. If you are omitting either, taste the sauce to see if it needs any salt.

Enjoy!