alive logo

Mediterranean Orzo with Citrus Spiked Gremolata

Serves 6


    This recipe is something of a classic; it’s so easy to make. But this version introduces a little extra zing for when the season revs up and all you want to do is curl up in front of the fire for a cozy eve. All it takes is one pot for cooking and a single bowl to toss with remaining ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier than that. The gremolata gives it that zesty, zingy punch.


    Bowl comfort

    Orzo is an excellent pasta to have on hand; it lends itself to so many variations. If you’re looking for another flavourful combo, toss orzo pasta with your favourite miso dressing and a medley of chopped sweet peppers, cucumber, and cilantro. Scatter with crumbled goats’ cheese and toasted pepitas. Mmmm. 


    Mediterranean Orzo with Citrus Spiked Gremolata


      Orzo pasta
      • 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked orzo pasta
      • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly shredded fresh basil
      • 1 large garlic clove, peeled, smashed, and minced
      • 2 whole green onions, thinly sliced
      • 300 g pkg fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) artichokes packed in oil, quartered
      • 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
      • 1/3 cup (80 mL) pitted kalamata olives, halved
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) crumbled feta cheese
      • 1 small bunch Italian parsley
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange zest
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) lemon zest
      • 1 large garlic clove, peeled, smashed, and minced


      Per serving:

      • calories169
      • protein5 g
      • fat 10 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates17 g
        • sugars3 g
        • fibre3 g
      • sodium346 mg



      In large saucepan, bring 8 cups (2 L) water seasoned with salt to a full rolling boil. Add orzo pasta and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) pasta water.


      In large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic, and green onions. Whisk together until blended. Add hot cooked orzo, along with spinach, artichokes, roasted red pepper, and olives. Toss together until evenly mixed. Add a splash of reserved pasta water, if desired. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.


      In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients to make gremolata. Sprinkle overtop pasta with crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature. Or refrigerate and serve chilled.



      SEE MORE »
      Going Pro

      Going Pro

      You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.