I usually don’t attempt to make things with the word “spicy” in the recipe title, but I’m finding that I actually like spicy things when they are mostly veggie. It’s the spicy/meat combo that I’m not a fan of.
I received my May 2011 Cooking Light Magazine and flipped through it to mark vegetarian dishes since I’m leaning in the direction with lunches. I came across the Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing recipe in the Enlightened Cook – Everyday Vegetarian section and was intrigued. I knew the possibilities could be endless with add-ins, substitutions, etc.
1 Cup Cooked Orzo
1 Cup Frozen Whole-Kernel Corn
12 Cherry Tomatoes – quartered – I only had grape tomatoes, so I used more and just halved them
3 Green Onions – sliced
1 Can Black Beans (15 oz.) – rinse and drained
1/4 Cup Low Fat Buttermilk
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro – divided
3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Light Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Canola Mayonnaise – I just used Best Foods Light – it’s what I had.
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves – crushed
1 Peeled Avocado – cut into 8 wedges
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Parsley
Yield: 4 Servings – Serving Size 1 and 3/4 cups
424 Calories | Fat 15.3 g | Protein 12.7 g | Carb 63.8 g | Fiber 10.1 g | Chol 6 mg | Sodium 607 mg
Cook orzo according to package directions – don’t add salt or oil to the water. Drain and rinse (I didn’t rinse). Place orzo, corn, tomatoes, green onions, and black beans into a large bowl and toss.
Combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro (I accidentally added all 3 tablespoons – nobody died), fresh lime juice (more on that later) light sour cream, mayo, chili powder, salt, pepper, ground red pepper, and garlic.
Stir well with a whisk. – Now I need to talk about limes…
I loaded my limes into my citrus press and I honestly thought 2-3 limes would have been enough for 3 tablespoons of juice.
I obliterated them and it took 8 halves – 4 LIMES to make 3 tablespoons. That. Is. Crazy. I guess I happened to get the “Dry as a Desert” brand limes. Thankfully I had enough…
The recipe said to “drizzle” the sauce over the orzo mixture and toss. Drizzle/Dump – is there really that big of a difference? Nope. I sliced up my avocado and garnished with additional cilantro and flat leaf parsley.
I then set up shop for a crazy photo shoot. I got a few new placemats on mega sale at Kohl’s and I chatted with another designer/casual photographer and he thought some of my food photos could use more warmth – so I spent the next 30 minutes shooting 75 photos of my salad. Ha! I don’t normally include a million shots of each item, but I wanted to share some of the ones that came out pretty good (to me) and a few that didn’t.
I love shooting food on natural woods – this is an old crate I got at a friend’s garage sale – it often comes out for my final food shots.
Holy pattern Batman – not a huge fan of this shot… but I loved the placemat, it has a gorgeous flower on the opposite side.
These foam/round placemats came in a bunch of vibrant colors – thinking I might pick up a few more with my Kohl’s cash.
Too much gold…
Enough about the photography – back to the recipe itself. It was awesome! I loved the heat – if you aren’t into spicy dishes, you could easily just leave out the ground red pepper and chili powder.
I have eaten the orzo for lunches all week. Sometimes I drizzle a little lemon olive oil on top, or I added shrimp for a heartier dinner option as well.
The salad would be perfect for a potluck or summer BBQ. It’s been 4 days and it just keeps getting better and better. I’m definitely stuck on pasta and grain salads right now… guess I need to branch out a little more.