While no one in my family keeps a vegetarian diet, I have a friend --and I do mean "a" as in one...single...only--who is a vegetarian. Was vegan for a while, actually. I find myself wondering how he does that here. (He's a transplant.) At times he's faced the awkwardness of having to bring his own food to dinner parties. Once, he was reduced to picking the rice out of jambalaya--not vegetarian, but it was the best he could do. But mostly he has to settle for the side dishes. And even then...
"Oh. You don't eat meat?" (Cue gasping and chest clutching--a sign that maybe we should take a lesson from my vegetarian friend?) "Well, have some potato salad. It doesn't have any meat."
"Ummm...isn't that bacon?"
"Only a little. You'll be fine, cher."
Did I mention my friend is also Jewish?
It makes me wonder what happens when he sits down to a traditional Cajun Thanksgiving with his in-laws. Even our sides end up with hefty helpings of some form of pork. Bacon. Andouille. Tasso. Pickle meat.
This dish, though, is pig free.
Actually, it's pretty loaded down with veggies. The kind I like best. The roasted kind.
It's a "use it up" sort of recipe--you know the type. Grab what's in the produce drawer and toss it in.
This time around I used red onion, zucchini, mushrooms, and butternut squash. Sometimes I used sweet potatoes in place of the butternut, yellow squash instead of zucchini, and/or add broccoli and carrots.
Anything's fair game. Fire up the old brain and think about what takes longest to roast (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots) and which the shortest (mushrooms & zucchini) and you're on your way.
Spare the pig and refrain from adding bacon.
A little feta and toasted pecans really make this dish shine.
Orzo "Risotto" w/ Roasted Vegetables
adapted from Family Circle Healthy Home-Style Cooking
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
3 medium zucchini, cut in half moon chunks
8 oz mushrooms, cut in half or quarters if large
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 TBSP fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried & crushed
1 TBSP olive oil
2 (14 oz) cans reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian dish)
1 1/3 c orzo
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c (heaping) chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 c crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Place squash in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Place on a large baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. While the squash roasts, add the zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and rosemary to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper, toss again, and add to the baking sheet with the squash. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet. Cook orzo and garlic over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until orzo is light brown. Stir frequently.
Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to orzo. Cook, stirring frequently over medium to medium low heat until liquid is absorbed. Continue with this process, adding 1/2 cup broth at a time until orzo is tender and creamy, about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add roasted vegetables and pecans to orzo mixture, folding gently to combine. Sprinkle each serving with feta.
*Try other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yellow squash, carrots, or broccoli.
*The vegetables can be roasted ahead of time and reheated before adding to the orzo.
Linking up with:
Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday @ Naptime Creations
Let's Do Brunch @ My Sweet & Savory
Hearth and Soul vol 75 @ Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tuesdays Tasty Tidbits @ Permanent Posies
Simply Delish @ KB & Whitesnakes Home
Friday Potluck @ E-Kat's Kitchen
Friday Food @ Mom Trends
Presto Pasta Nights #241 hosted by Simona of Briciole