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Fall Orzo Salad

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For orzo salad

  • 2 1/2-3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole wheat orzo
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 lb apple chicken sausage casings removed, other flavors work as well
  • 5 oz bag spinach and baby kale blend
  • half large shallot finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced

For dressing

  • 1/2-1 cup reserved cooking liquid the broth from the orzo
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of one medium lemon
  • zest of one medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan plus more for topping
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3-4 basil leaves finely chopped, optional
  • fresh grated pepper optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

  2. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread out on baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping occasionally, until tender on the inside and carmalized onthe outside. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the pine nuts to the sheet pan and roast until slighly browned.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the chicken broth and large pinch of salt to a soft boil over medium high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 7-9 minutes or until el dente. Once cooked, drain the orzo, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

  4. While the orzo and butternut squash cook, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken sauage, breaking it up with your spatula into crumbles, and cook until slightly browned on the outside and cooked throroughly on the inside, about 5 minutes. Onced cooked, remove from the pan.

  5. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in shallots and cook until transluccent, 2-4 minutes. Add in the garlic, kale/spinach blend, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the greens cooked down and wilted, 2-3 minutes.

  6. To the skillet with the garlic shallot mixture, add in the orzo, butternut squash, and chicken sasauge. Toss with 1/2 cup cooking liquid, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining dressing ingredients and toss until well-combined. If it seems too dry, add in more pasta liquid.

  7. Garnish with pine nuts and extra parmesan cheese.