…and it’s Fight Back Friday!
Since I lost my stomach in February, eating has been – ahem – shall we say, a bit of a challenge?
One of the first questions people ask when they learn I don’t have a stomach (really – I don’t have a stomach – at all!) is, “Can you eat?!”
“Yes,” I always say, “I can eat.” And then clarify, “But it’s definitely different, and it’s a process learning what works, and what doesn’t.”
For the most part – meat and bread just don’t work for me anymore. So I’m doing a LOT of vegetarian eating. Good thing I like it so well, huh?!
I’ve eaten lots and lots of soup. I’ve eaten lots and lots of salads. Yesterday, after I got home from work and was needing some calories, I just couldn’t bring myself to have another cup of soup, or another green salad. I ended up snacking on a thinly sliced piece of turkey sandwich meat, and longing wistfully for a nice, yummy, deli sandwich. It was then that I realized, “I really want pasta salad!”
Pasta presents some of its own challenges. If it’s too bulky (like macaroni or penne) it’s gonna kill my gut. If it’s small and somewhat delicate – it will work beautifully. It was then that I decided that I needed to throw together a nice orzo pasta salad.
You ever do that? You get an idea of what something should taste like, what the texture should be like, and then start throwing stuff together – and voila! – a new dish is born.
This – my friends – is just that sort of thing. Kind of a hybrid of a few different salads I’ve thrown together in the past, but with a bit of a twist. Honestly – it turned out absolutely sublime. One bite and I couldn’t help but smile – a lot. I’m going to enjoy eating every last bite of this yummy stuff!
I wish I could tell you these were all the ingredients, but it’s not! As I started pulling things together, I kept adding stuff – and well – here’s the start of the ingredients!
First – cook the orzo:
Don’t be tempted to cook it in a small-ish pot. You want to use a big pot – this one holds 5 quarts.
After 10 minutes, it will look something like this.
Next, you’re going to drain the hot water off of the orzo, and then rinse it with cold water until it cools enough to handle. It doesn’t have to be frigid or anything.
Now, add the Balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise. I know – it sounds nutty, but it’s so good!
Mix together thoroughly.
Add the diced provolone and Italian Roast beef. Mix together thoroughly.
Now, add the sliced green onions, julienned zucchini, and quartered mushrooms; mix thoroughly.
Make sure to use juicy tomatoes! Core and then dice them – making sure to get every last drop of that lovely juice into the bowl! Mix together thoroughly.
Now, chop/dice the marinated vegetables, and the avocado. I sprinkle about half the salt on the avocado, and the other half on the orzo.
And of course, mix thoroughly!
And this is what you’ll end up with:
Isn’t it pretty?
Honestly – it’s AMAZING. You’re going to love it. I sure am!
|1/2 cup||Balsamic vinegar|
|1/2 pound||Italian Roast beef, sliced thin|
|1/2 pound||Provolone, sliced|
|4||Green onions, sliced|
|1 small||Zucchini, julienned|
|3/4 cup||Button mushrooms, quartered|
|7 ounces||Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped|
|12||Marinated asparagus spears, chopped|
|6||Marinated baby corn, chopped|
|1/2 cup||Black olives, sliced|
|4 small||Ripe tomatoes, diced|
|1 large||Avocado, diced|
|1 teaspoon||Kosher salt|
- Cook orzo in 4 quarts of generously salted water in a large pot. Cook until al dente – about 10 minutes. When done, drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water until cool, then drain. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Immediately toss pasta with Balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise. Make sure all of the pasta gets coated with this mixture.
- Dice Italian Roast beef and provolone, add to orzo mixture.
- Add julienned zucchini, sliced green onions, and quartered button mushrooms. Mix thoroughly.
- Add marinated artichoke hearts, asparagus spears, baby corn, and olives. Mix thoroughly.
- Add diced tomatoes, avocado, and kosher salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Cover and refrigerate. Ideally, this should rest for several hours before serving. When you remove it from the refrigerator, if it has soaked up too much of the liquid – add a little more Balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise, or alternatively, another juicy diced tomato.
This salad is just as flexible as can be – and can include the vegetables that you enjoy. There are very few seasonings because the Italian roast beef and marinated vegetables bring quite a lot of flavor.
Orzo is a great little pasta with quite a protein punch! 6 grams of protein in a 1/3 cup serving. Not bad!