Monday, September 2, 2013

Orzo with Chicken, Broccoli, and Pesto

Flat-leaf parsley and mint form the base of this slightly unusual pesto, which would make a great sauce over any pasta and vegetable combo besides the one I present to you here. You can cook the Gardein chicken ahead of time, using either the refrigerated Tuscan or herb dijon chicken breasts, or the frozen chick'n scallopini; cook according to package directions and shred with a fork or by hand to measure 1 and 1/2 cups.

  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts*
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles (such as Galaxy Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked and shredded Gardein chicken breast
1. Steam the broccoli, covered, for 2 minutes, just until crisp-tender.  Rinse with cold water, drain, and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

2. To prepare the pesto drop the pine nuts and garlic through the chute of a food processor while the processor is on, and process until minced.

3. Add the flat-leaf parsley, mint, and Parmesan; process until finely minced.

4. With the processor still on, add the olive oil, lemon juice, water, salt, and black pepper; process until well blended.

5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to package directions - you should end up with 2 cups cooked pasta.  Add the orzo, chicken, and parsley pesto to the broccoli, and stir well to combine.

*Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Shake or stir frequently to prevent the nuts from burning.

Nutrition Info:
5 servings (1 cup), Calories 258

Tasting Notes:
I may never make pesto without mint again - the subtle minty flavor is incredible, and it's the special touch that makes this dish. Great Parmesan and pine nut flavor in the pesto too. The amount of pesto coating the orzo is quite judicious though, so double the pesto if you want a richer dinner. Perfectly steamed broccoli and savory chicken made every bite enjoyable. I bet this would also be great with sliced vegan sausage in place of the chicken


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