Rainbow Chard, Meyer Lemon and Dill Orzo


1 cup orzo
15 oz (canned) cannellini beans, drained
1 large bunch of rainbow chard or Swiss chard, stems and leaves chopped (separate the stems and leaves)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, cut into half-moon sliced
1/4 cup chopped dill
3/4 (loose) cup Italian or curly parsley*, chopped
juice and zest of 2 Meyer lemons
freshly ground black pepper


Prepare orzo according to package instructions. Drain and set aside, covered to keep warm.

In a large pan, saute the chard stems, onion, and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add in the leaves, dill, and parsley and saute until the greens start to wilt. Add the lemon juice, beans, salt and pepper. Saute until the greens are tender. Stir in orzo, cook 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: I made this as a side dish, then served the leftovers I reheated in a skillet as lunch the next day topped with a fried egg. It was quite good as a vegetarian main.

*I prefer Italian (flat-leaf) parsley but this was a grocery delivery order and was subbed curly instead. It was fine.

My thoughts:

I had a weird craving for orzo recently. I don’t think I’ve had orzo in years except maybe at the Greek Festival we go to each year. Now I feel like I’ve been missing out! It’s still winter unfortunately and not much is in season. Leafy greens can be quite good this time of year so I try to incorporate them into our meals as much as I can. Rainbow chard is one of my favorites because it is so colorful, something I really need in February.

I originally made this dish as a side to some halibut but it makes a lot for two people and I had plenty of leftovers. As I said in the note, I heated it up in a skillet and topped it with a lacy egg and I might have liked that even more than it in its original incarnation. The orzo got slightly crispy and chewy in a pleasant way. I encourage you to make it as a main if you are so inclined, the beans add some heft and protein and there is a ton of flavor from the fresh dill and parsley. Without the egg topper, it is totally vegan!

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