Learn More About Orzo and How This Nutritious Staple Can Be Part of Your Diet

orzo
*Collaborative Post

Things aren’t always as they seem and orzo is no exception to the rule. Despite its resemblance to rice, orzo is classified as pasta, which means that the cooking time is exactly the same as that required for spaghetti. However, if you do not enjoy pasta al dente, you can cook it as rice and the result will be much creamier. Usually made of semolina flour or whole-wheat flour, this Mediterranean staple is incredibly versatile.

Appealing to all palates

Either served hot or cold, you will surely find some orzo recipes that stir your taste buds. Orzo can be the star of a creamy risotto, a great side dish for your favorite meat, part of a fresh salad with green leaves and even a nice warm winter soup. It is fair enough to say that orzo is a food item that allows you to think outside of the box, since its flavor is quite neutral you can get as creative as you want with the ingredients that accompany it. If you are wondering if orzo can be used in sweet recipes, the answer is yes! Orzo makes an excellent pudding for those with a sweet tooth: chocolate, berries, dried fruits, you name it.

Comfort food but make it healthy

Like any other type of pasta, orzo is a great source of energy. Unlike products with refined sugar, the energy that orzo provides is long-lasting so you won’t feel hungry any time soon after eating a good portion of it. This type of energy is like fuel for your muscles and brain! If you are looking for an even healthier version, try the whole-grain flour option, which is also a source of fibre. There are even gluten-free versions made of corn or rice flour, it may take an extra search at your local shops but it is definitely worth it if you suffer from this allergy. In addition, orzo doesn’t contain high levels of fat, so as long as you don’t overeat it, you don’t have to worry about this aspect.

On this occasion, we brought you a recipe that will make you feel just like at home because who doesn’t love comfort food?  Plus, it has a healthy twist. This orzo chicken soup is perfect for when you’re short on time since preparing it won’t take more than 20 minutes.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  • 500 g boneless skinless chicken thighs, in chunks.
  • ¼ cup orzo, uncooked.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 2 carrots.
  • 1 celery head.
  • 2 cups chicken broth.
  • 2 tsp olive oil.
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • parsley.

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan and when ready, add the chicken thighs and season them. You should not overcook them since the meat will lose its tenderness. Just a couple of minutes will do. Remove the chicken and reserve.
  2. Now is the time to prepare the vegetables. Onion should be finely chopped, carrots peeled and sliced, and celery, trimmed. Remember to remove the stringy bits of celery, we do not want them in our soup. Then, heat the remaining oil teaspoon in the saucepan and add the vegetables. Stir occasionally, it won’t take more than 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and pour the broth. Stir in orzo and chicken and cover for 10 minutes. As orzo shouldn’t be al dente for this recipe, you can try it once in a while to check the point of doneness.
  4. Season to taste and serve with a bunch of parsley on top. If it is not your cup of tea, you can replace it with your topping of preference: grated cheese, croutons, basil, the list can go on and on!

For a vegetarian version of this dish, you can simply omit the chicken, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and incorporate as many vegetables as you like. Try with cabbage or turnip, they do wonders for your health.

If you have any leftovers, don’t toss them! Store them in a food container and put them in the fridge. Properly stored and refrigerated, this chicken orzo soup should last up to 2 or 4 days. If you want to freeze it, bear in mind it will last about 4 to 6 months.

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