We are sometimes on a mission to cut calories or fat, and this holiday season was one of moderation for us, perhaps because cooking in a tiny kitchen forced us to minimize the excesses. ;-).  With this goal in mind it doesn’t get any better than a light and healthy lunch, and this salad feels like a complete meal that will satisfy you until dinner.  The inspiration is from Tyler Florence’s book,  Tyler’s Ultimate.  It was originally made with rice and served with a lemony, oven-baked chicken curry.  However, my Brazilian genes resisted the idea of serving cold rice as a salad, so instead I used orzo, and I also modified  the seasoning.  Make a large batch and you’ll enjoy it for several days!

(adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate)

1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 pound green beans
1 mango, diced
2 T fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup roasted, lightly salted  cashews
1 T olive oil
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the orzo in plenty of boiling water, drain and place on a baking sheet to cool quickly.  Drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice to prevent it from sticking.

Trim the green beans and cut in 1 inch pieces.  Cook in boiling salted water for 4 minutes, then drain and plunge in ice water to stop cooking and set the vibrant green color.

Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil with lemon juice, season lightly with salt and pepper, and reserve.  Assemble the salad by mixing in a large bowl the cooled orzo, green beans, cashews, and diced mango.  Add the minced cilantro leaves, drizzle the dressing all over, adjust seasoning, and serve.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  In many regions fresh mango may not be easy to find right now, but if you can locate it then don’t miss the opportunity to try it in a salad like this.  The mango we bought was not as ripe and juicy as the best examples from my childhood in Brazil, but in this recipe it worked just fine.

This salad has it all:  carbs from the orzo,  vitamins and fiber from the green beans and mango,  omega oils from the cashews, that together with the green beans, add a pleasant “crunch.”

Some people even enjoyed it heated in the microwave as a side dish with their steak. 😉  It was also delicious that way.  If you want to serve it hot,  consider adding the diced mango and the cilantro at the very end.


ONE YEAR AGO: Beef Wellington (when you have romance in your mind…)

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