July 14, 2012

Sriracha-Lime Summer Orzo Salad

My friends know how much I dread warm weather. Just like clockwork, I find myself watching Lake Tahoe webcams in May with morbid curiosity as the snow melts inch-by-inch. We can't control the change in seasons, but we can control how we choose to enjoy it. So let's start summer off right with a recipe that's been a hit at my recent barbeques!

You'll love my sriracha-lime orzo salad because your guests won't even notice that you conveniently forgot to pick up the expensive meat that the host always gets stuck buying. Oh but hey, thanks for buying the plastic forks man. 

Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, takes a hot bath in chicken broth before it joins the party of avocado, corn, and black beans that are ready to throw back a few shots of spicy sriracha and fresh squeezed lime juice. You can make this ahead of time so you can spend more time on the patio and less time in your sauna of a kitchen. Let's get started...

Sriracha-Lime Summer Orzo Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 8-10 people
Tip: Make it the day before to allow the flavors to come together

1 cup dry orzo
2-15 oz. cans of reduced-sodium chicken broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)
1 tbsp. olive oil
15 oz. canned black beans, drained & rinsed
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
5 tbsp. lime juice, fresh squeezed (about 3 limes)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. sriracha sauce (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
3/4 tbsp. sesame oil (or to taste)
1 large haas avocado, diced


2/3 cup frozen roasted corn (or fresh roasted if it's in season)

1) Bring 2 cans of chicken (or vegetable) broth to a simmer and cook orzo to the instructions on the package. 

  • For me, that was 8 minutes. If you're doing the optional step of corn,  In the last 2 minutes of the orzo's cook time, add the frozen roasted corn into the chicken broth. If you can't find frozen roasted corn, it's totally fine to use any of the other types of frozen corn. If it's in season and you choose to roast your own corn, then you don't need to add it into the chicken broth and just mix it in with all of the other ingredients later.

2) Pour the orzo into a colander, cool completely under running cold water to stop the cooking. 

3) Transfer the orzo and corn into a non-metallic mixing bowl with the olive oil and stir until everything is coated. 

4) Combine with all remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed.

Tip: Here's an easy way to dice avocados.

5) As always, take a bite of your creation and make any adjustments.  Remember that too much of a spicy ingredient like sriracha can ruin the dish for some of your guests. Be conservative with it in the dish and leave the bottle of sriracha out on the table for guests who like it spicier.