Spring is prime season for farm-fresh greens and the lighter dishes that come with them. Green leafies are nutrition powerhouses, and here they’re combined with a unique quinoa orzo for a one-pot side or light main dish with plenty of protein and bright flavor. With leeks, lemon, olives, pistachios and a wonderful spice blend called za’atar, this dish comes together with a light Mediterranean-inspired taste full of warm breezes.
Mediterranean Lemon Orzo with Spring Greens
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
- 1 cup finely chopped leek white part only
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 8 oz. quinoa orzo
- 1-3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tsp. lemon zest finely zested
- 2 tsp. za’atar spice blend
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives pitted, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups leafy greens of choice cleaned and finely chopped (dandelion greens and kale used here)
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and smaller stems, chopped
- 1/4 cup chives minced
- ¼ cup toasted pistachios chopped
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat medium-sized pot over low-medium heat. Add coconut oil/ghee and leeks and sauté for 3 minutes until softened slightly.
Add garlic; sauté for 2 minutes.
Add quinoa, vegetable stock, lemon zest and za’atar spice blend. Turn heat to medium-high, stir to combine and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 18 minutes until orzo is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to bottom of pot.
Stir in olives and chopped greens, a little at a time. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley, chives and pistachios; drizzle with olive oil.
Taste and adjust seasonings as desired; serve warm.
Use any leafy green or combination of several (spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion, kale, etc.).
Substitute mint, cilantro or dill for chives, depending on what you enjoy