Refreshing Veggie Orzotto!

June 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm 10 comments

While my Boston indulgences are yet to be unveiled, I needed to share this fabulous recipe I whipped up for dinner tonight.  It was the last day of school (a scorching hot one at that) until summer school starts next week, so I desperately wanted to get off my 2-week no-cooking hiatus and bring some vegan flavor back into our lives.

The last time I made this dish was 2 years ago when I was preparing to move from San Diego back to New Jersey and I needed to clean out my pantry.  After an expensive weekend in Boston, I had a similar task at hand: spend as little as possible on food this week.  I went through the cabinets, compiled a list of veggies, grains, and starches that could easily be churned into a recipe, and made a list of meals for the week.  So keep your eyes peeled this week for a new recipe that is simple and cheap – I have four meals for under $20!!!

So let’s start with tonight’s meal: Veggie Orzotto.

Pantry Items:

  • a bag of frozen peppper/onion medley strips [chopped – in it’s frozen form]
  • a 8.5 oz can of corn [drained]
  • garlic [needed 3-4 cloves minced]
  • a box of orzo [cooked per box directions]
  • half a bottle of white wine [need 1/4 cup]
  • olive oil [1/4 cup]
  • Earth Balance [2 tbsp.]

Needed Items:

  • 1 large tomato [chopped]

What to do? Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and pepper medley. Pour in white wine and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato, corn and garlic. Cook 10-15 minutes or until most liquid is reduced. Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, and toss orzo with sauteed vegetables. Stir hot or cold, it’s delicious both ways!

This meal is perfect for the summer.  It is delicious hot, reheated, or chilled.  I deemed it “orzotto” because it is as creamy as risotto, but with orzo!  The white wine really takes the flavor over the top, and coupled with the sauteed garlic & onions it is absolutely divine.

D was slightly apprehensive about the whole thing [he doesn’t understand why corn is involved in pasta] but loved it! He went back for seconds! ! !  And said it was “really good”.  I haven’t really heard these words from his lips in awhile, so you can imagine the pleasure it brought me.

So do yourself a favor and bookmark this recipe – it is all about simplicity (less than 30-minutes) and being a cheapass.  And no one would know. It also makes about 2-pounds worth of food so expect a LOT of leftovers for basically nothing.  I’m eating this for lunch all week, happily!

After a series of mishaps with my clients after work, I found myself at Barnes and Noble waiting out a rainstorm and pouring over the vegan cookbooks.  A mother of two children was sprawled out on the floor with a pile of books.  Considering we were both in front of the same shelf and selection, I couldn’t help hear her say to her son that she found a non-dairy cheese book and that they were on the right track!  I asked if he had a dairy allergy and she responded exasperated, yes! She shared that it was making him incredibly ill and now that they finally pinpointed the cause she was trying to unravel 8-years of pizza and ice cream – and that life has thus been rough recently. I felt elated that I was able to impart some of my dairy-free knowledge with her.  I shared some dairy substitutes that I approve of for taste and quality, as well as some books that I have found helpful.  She seemed grateful, most especially for the Daiya recommendation. And even if she was moderately creeped out, I hope that my positive attitude toward going dairy-free helped put her at ease a little.

Have you ever had an encounter like this? How did it go? Two weeks ago at the mall I also ran into an elderly couple (we’re talking 80+).  The gentleman was wearing a shirt that said something like “Go Vegan for Life” and I gave him a smile and a sly thumbs up.  That sparked his attention and we talked for 5-minutes about how he and his wife had been vegetarian for 20 years before going vegan, which they have been for 20 years.  The encounter just made my heart sing.


Entry filed under: dinner, italian, recipes, vegan. Tags: , , , , , .

Wedding Wonders. Going mid-America for dinner.

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Keri - I Eat Trees  |  June 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Dude, that’s AWESOME the man and his wife have been meat free for 40 years and vegan for 20! That’s SO going to be my husband and I. Except 60 years of straight vegan. 😉

    It’s also really great you were able to help the mother in B&N. I bet she appreciated it even more than you know. I haven’t had any experiences like that yet, but I’m eager to!

  • 2. Shenandoah Vegan  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

    You must be a more dynamic communicator than I am. When I try to impart vegan wisdom, I can see the other party shutting down before my eyes. Then I think to myself, “Oh well! Enjoy that colon cancer that’s coming down the road. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

    • 3. Amanda  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Haha well 90% of the time I do get that same reaction, I actually rarely open my mouth about it but these two particular run-ins screamed “approachable”!

  • 4. Miss Rachel  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    whoa risotto! yum yum.
    also i will talk to anything that moves (and sometimes inanimate stuff…) and have found myself talking for way too long to people about things like squash, herbs and Tofutti down the aisles of grocery stores (and at checkouts… you know a lot of cashiers have no idea about half the produce available in the stores they work at. I think that’s a shame).

    • 5. Amanda  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      Haha I think it’s a great quality to just chat up people – it definitely spreads a positive energy and always leaves me smiling!

  • 6. Eric  |  June 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Interesting I rarely/never encounter this outside of friends of friends. But maybe I dont go out of my way like you do either 😀 Oh and that orzo looked great, I haven’t done much with orzo in a while!

  • 7. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan  |  June 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    “Orzotto” – I love it!
    80+ year old vegans are a rarity, so that’s awesome :]

    • 8. Amanda  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

      Haha I try – squashta & orzotto = my two coined terms!

  • 9. Vegan Thyme (Kelly)  |  June 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    First, great food! What and ADORABLE story–especially given my “almost fifty” stage and married to someone even older who actually has been a veg-head for over thirty years! –I pictured my hubby and I walking around in that t-shirt (and then thought maybe not–but who knows at 80–I’d be happy to be able to walk?!)

    • 10. Amanda  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

      Aww you and your husband are rocking! With that garden you’ll be strolling forever! 🙂


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