Elegant AND easy? Yes, please! Serve warm for a quick dinner and pack up the rest to eat chilled for lunch the next day.
It’s funny how pasta shape can impact a dish. While I’ve always enjoyed eating noodles, we’ve been eating them much more often since having kids. I dress them up with so many combinations of sauces, veggies, nuts, and legumes. While our kids love this, it just feels a little fancier than say mac and cheeze and it I think it’s because the orzo is such an elegant shape. There’s cheezy flavor here with by adding nutritional yeast, garlic and olive oil are the background flavors, the cranberries give a burst of sweetness and tartness, while the asparagus and lemon make this dish fresh and bright. Add a sprinkle of toasted almonds, you’ve got a bit of crunch I hope you enjoy this easy recipe, and perhaps it’ll become part of your meal rotation like it has become part of ours!
- 1 cup orzo, uncooked
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- zest from 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp toasted, sliced almonds
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- pinch crushed red chili flakes, if desired
Prepare the orzo according to package directions, popping the dried cranberries in to soften during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil a large cast iron pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté for about 6-8 minutes until bright green and cooked but still a bit crisp and not browned, tossing in the minced garlic during the last minute of cooking.
Add the cooked orzo, cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, remaining olive oil, salt and chili flakes. Toss to coat. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.