As you might have noticed, we're slowly moving towards a vegetarian-majority diet. We are not vegetarian, however, nor do I expect we ever will be. For one, it would mean no sausage or bacon for breakfast and that's a terrible thought! But, eating more vegetarian meals helps us to lose weight, feel better and put our limited grocery budget to good use. I expect we will be buying more "premium" meat from local farmers, such as Morgan Valley Lamb who have fantastic, great-tasting lamb, than buying meat cheaply in quantity from the megamart. If we're not going to eat a lot of meat, I'd damn sure like to make what we eat count! Plus, moving to humanely-raised, grass-/naturally-fed and hormone-free meat is a Good Thing in my book.
There's also another facet: both of us have eaten meat at almost every meal for a very long time. Learning to cook without meat, to substitute other sources of protein and nutrients, has been a lot of fun... and very challenging too. And sometimes, we just plain don't want to deal with digging up some meat, defrosting it and cooking it.
Anyway. That's why there has been a heavier concentration of meat-free or meat-optional dishes lately featured here.
Coming up over the next couple of months: It's almost time for Jāņi, so we'll be making another Jāņu siers (this time, I'm making a spicy one!). Rhubarb is finally showing up in stores, so there'll be some rhubarb recipes -- my husband has asked me to make him a rhubarb dessert for his birthday and rhubarb-strawberry preserves. And, if all goes well, the long-awaited post on an easier way to make good biezpiens, along with making ryazhenka at home, will be finished too.
Now! On to today's recipe: This was inspired by a recipe that my mom has made for me a couple of times in the past few years. Every time she's made it, I think of something else that would be great in it... and always forget to suggest it when she makes it the next time. She made it for me and my husband a little while ago and I decided this time, I wouldn't forget! So I made it again a few days later.
It came out beautifully. The triticale's chewiness contrasted nicely with the softness of the orzo. (Any chewy grain would work well in its place, like barley or brown rice.) I did wind up throwing in whatever was in the fridge that needed to be used, but it resulted in a well-rounded, delicious salad, so I'm not unhappy.
Yes, it's written in metric. However, for all of the metric without American equivalents, I used around 1/2 cup for each. (My usual mis-en-place dishes are 1/2 cup glass bowls.)
Orzo-Triticale Salad with Chevre and Feta [printable recipe]
Serves 2 - 3
- 150 g / 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 130 g / 1/2 cup (heaping) cooked beans, any variety1
- 80 g fresh or frozen corn or peas
- 80 g walnuts, chopped
- 60 g carrot, shredded
- 30 g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced
- 4 oz feta, crumbled
- 2 oz chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
- 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bunch kale, spinach or other leafy green, chopped
- 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
- 1/3 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 1/3 cup triticale2
- butter or oil
- salt, pepper, thyme and crushed red chile pepper flakes to taste
Soak the triticale in salted water overnight. In a pot of boiling, salted water, boil the soaked triticale for 40 minutes. Add orzo and boil for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and prevent sticking.
In a large, deep saute pan, heat oil or butter over moderate heat. Add leek and spices, saute for 2 - 3 minutes to soften. Add garlic, carrot and corn or peas, saute for a minute before adding sun-dried tomatoes, beans and walnuts, cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and stir in kale. Cover and let steam for 3 to 4 minutes.
Uncover and stir in orzo-triticale mixture and grape tomatoes. Crumble in the chevre and feta, then add remaining 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Stir well to melt the cheeses, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.
- I used peruano beans, also known as mayocoba beans, because they cook up so nice and soft.
- The recipe's times are written for triticale though barley, brown rice or your favorite whole grain can be used.