Now, I’m not saying that other cuisines aren’t healthy, but I truly believe in the healthy benefits that Mediterranean food provides. That’s why when I came across a recipe for orzo pasta salad with wild rice in a lemon dressing, I didn’t hesitate. I copied it down and made a list of ingredients to buy or find.
What I really liked is that this recipe has orzo and wild rice together. I have used pastina before to make soup, so I knew orzo is a kind of pastina, but this will be the first time I’ll be using wild rice as a main ingredient of salad. Let’s get to know these ingredients, shall we?
What Kind Of Pasta Is Orzo?
Orzo is basically a type of tiny pasta called a pastina. Italians call it orzo because it resembles barley in its unprocessed form. However, once cooked it resembles long-grain rice, which contributes to its versatility in cooking. This rice-shaped pasta is used in traditional Italian cooking as an ingredient in soups and salads.
Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour, which is milled from durum wheat. That means it’s not gluten-free. When buying orzo, choose one that’s made from high-quality semolina or plant-based flour that has high protein content. A good example of the latter is chickpea-based rice which tastes like orzo.
Orzo or a similar product with high protein content makes for a sturdier pasta. It doesn’t become gummy or mushy when cooked for a few minutes longer than usual, as is the case with soups.
You can even find orzo in multiple colors; black orzo is colored with squid ink, green orzo has spinach, and orange orzo is made with tomato. Yet, the flavor remains the same.
How Healthy Is Wild Rice?
Despite its name, wild rice isn’t actually rice. It’s a grain harvested from aquatic grass that grows naturally in waterways all over the United States. Wild rice tends to be longer and has a more nutty, earthy flavor than white rice. The hull is thicker and more rigid meaning it’s not as squishy as white rice.
Wild rice has 40 percent more protein than other whole grains. It has 30 percent fewer calories than brown rice. You can enjoy it without worrying about gaining weight. It’s also perfect for a gluten-free diet.
Wild rice contains manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and zinc. Together, these nutrients help keep your bones, muscles, ligaments and joints strong and healthy.
It can help balance sugar levels in the body. People with diabetes benefit most from replacing white rice for wild rice in their diet. It helps in reducing insulin resistance and lowers triglyceride levels.
Cooking With Pine Nuts
This recipe calls for toasted pine nuts, which have a sweet flavor and a buttery texture. If these aren’t to your liking, you can swap them with other nuts, such as almonds, cashews or pistachios. If you’d rather not eat them for health reasons, you can replace them with sunflower seeds, edamame beans, or sesame seeds.Print