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!
Lemon Orzo with Asparagus, Cranberries and Almonds
- 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.