This Carrot, Broccoli and Cheese Orzo is a quick and healthy recipe that’s a great alternative to the usual pasta dishes you may find yourself making. It can also be easier to eat for little ones and the leftovers are great to use in the lunch box.
A dear friend of ours who is an amazing dad to twins (and a really good cook to boot) turned me on to the idea of this recipe. He is always on the hunt for new and interesting recipes to feed his kids who he has encouraged from an early age to be balanced eaters by trying to always expose them to a wide variety of new foods. He told me that he uses a lot of orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, which I’d not made in a long time but subsequently rediscovered my love for.
As much as I love to cook, being in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes (maximum!) isn’t always desirable let alone a possibility, so it’s essential for me to come up with lots of quick and easy recipes that I can count on to satisfy my entire family. The beauty of this dish is that I can just toss the veggies in my food processor and pulse them into tiny pieces (which cuts down on the prep time having to chop everything) and then cook all the ingredients together until the orzo and veggie mixture is soft and has a rich cheesy flavor. It takes no time to get on the table and you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what types of vegetables you use, depending on what’s in season or your families preferences are. You can even try adding mushrooms or sliced almonds for a bit of crunch if you’re so inclined.
My friend’s kids love his version of this dish and I was so happy to see that my kids felt the same way about my take on it.
Carrot, Broccoli and Cheese Orzo
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 small shallot
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 cup white or whole wheat orzo
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Place shallot and garlic in food processor and pulse to chop.
- Add baby carrots and broccoli florets to the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides half way until finely chopped.
- In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil and sauté the chopped vegetables, raw orzo and salt for 4 minutes stirring continuously.
- Add the salt, water and broth to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10
- minutes uncovered, or until the liquid starts to evaporate and the mixture thickens.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.