ARTICHOKE AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO ALMOST-ORZO

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I’ve served the original white pasta version of this gorgeous dish at parties for years, but now find it’s not only skinnier, it’s also much easier to make in this new way.

The old version required a vat of boiling water and careful watching to make the 200-calorie a cup orzo.

Now, I use Magic Rice that only costs me 100 calories a cup!

The old recipe also called for a cup of oil and a cup of cheese. Now, I just spray the pan with Pam and let the marinated sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts add the oily richness.  And, instead of one cup of feta cooked into the dish, just 2 tablespoons, added at the end, do the cheesy trick.

Now, this colorful, flavorful and skinny dish is back on my party list!

(This is a party sized recipe, feel free to reduce it to the size you need!)

1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 T garlic, minced
6 cups Magic Rice (1/2 cauliflower “rice” and 1/2 brown rice.)
2 cups artichoke hearts, jarred in oil, sliced
1 cup pitted black olives, jarred in oil, sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, jarred in oil, chopped
1/2 cup capers, rinsed
4 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped into chiffonade (chopped, yields about 2 cups)
2-4 T red wine vinegar (to taste)
2 T crumbled feta

Before you begin, make sure all of your ingredients are chopped and measured.  Mise en place is important when you want to work quickly as you do with this dish.

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with canola oil and sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic on medium heat until onions begin to go translucent.

 

Add the artichokes, capers and sun-dried tomatoes and stir so that the oils mingle.

Turn off heat and fold in the chopped basil  and stir until it just begins to wilt. Stir in the 2 T of red wine vinegar.

Gently fold the warm vegetables with the Magic Rice in a large salad bowl.

Once incorporated, add the feta cheese and stir again. Taste for seasonings and add a little more salt or vinegar if it you need to. Let it sit for at least an hour for flavors to combine and intensify.

 

Before serving, stir again and add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a shower of fresh herbs on top.

Even better the next day.

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD:

If you don’t like artichoke hearts, try asparagus, cut into two inch pieces, and cook with the onion and peppers.
Or, to make this side dish into an entrée, just fold in cooked shrimp. Try using fresh dill with the shrimp, and use grated Romano cheese if you don’t like or don’t have feta.

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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