Roasted Cauliflower and Orzo

/// February 6th, 2013

As much as I love playing around in the kitchen, dinner… well dinner can be a battle.

At the end of the day my brain and body are usually rooting for opposing teams. It can get messy…

My burnt out brain greedily cheers on Team “Take-Out-Then-Pass-Out”, while my goody two-shoes body lets out a hearty roar for Team “Feed-Your-Self-Some-Dang-Veggies-Girl. 

Why do I fight myself like this? Oh yeah, because I have zero control of the brain/body situation. ZERO control!

Such conflict! Such confusion! Such… Hunger!

Luckily quick and tasty pasta meals like this little roasted cauliflower and orzo gem keep me ahead in the dinner time battlefront.

(Go pasta, go pasta, go-go-go pasta.)

This whole meal comes together in about 30 minutes, and the leftovers, even cold, are just divine.

Think warm pasta dinner instantly transformed into awesome pasta salad lunch the next day.

Hello, leftover heaven!

While the cauliflower and orzo are certainly the stars of this meal, it’s the supporting ingredients that really make this dish shine.

And oh do they shine bright!

Anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, tons of garlic, fresh cilantro, capers, AND kalamata olives… I mean, come on – you know this is a ticket to flavor town, baby.

And while this hearty meal is perfectly fine without it, a generous sprinkle of fresh Parmesan is just the right thing to do.

Notes: If you want to make this dish vegan, simply omit the anchovies and cheese.

Roasted cauliflower and orzo – baker by nature

serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (F).

In a large mixing bowl toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread cauliflower on a large baking sheet in an even layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring at the half way point. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

For the orzo:

12 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package instructions

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus one tablespoon for the skillet

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 small anchovy fillets, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Parmesan for serving

Once pasta is cooked and drained transfer it to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, set aside. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, and crushed red pepper. Saute for 2 or 3 minutes, then add cilantro and cook for another minute. Add the roasted cauliflower and cook for another few minutes before tossing in the cooked orzo. Mix everything together and let everything simmer together on medium heat for a few minutes – just so everything is nice and warm – before removing from heat. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

29 thoughts on “Roasted Cauliflower and Orzo

  1. DessertForTwo

    I love cauliflower! This is exactly the type of thing I would make myself when I know I need to feed myself some dang veggies :)

    I’m not sure if you eat meat, but I just saw a recipe for israeli couscous salad with lemon vinaigrette and canned tuna. (buy tuna packed in olive oil). So simple, so good for us!

    Reply
  2. Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    Haha, I totally know what you mean about that internal fight between body and brain. My brain usually cries out for chips, hummus, and a beer for dinner every night…..While my body usually wants a delicious roasted veggie dish like this one :) I LOVE the add-ins, especially the olives!

    Reply
  3. Monet

    This is beautiful…and exactly what I plan on serving to a friend this Saturday night. She is a vegetarian, and I’m certain she’ll be over the moon. Thank you for another delicious post. And thank you for your sweet words on my blog! I hope you have a wonderful end to your week.

    Reply
  4. amy @ fearless homemaker

    I have the same problem with dinners – some nights I’m just too pooped to come up with something super creative or labor-intensive. This type of healthy, quick meal is just up my alley. And I love that the leftovers can be eaten hot, room temp, or cold – those are my favorite types of leftovers! =)

    Reply
  5. Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies

    This sounds super tasty, I love kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes– any reason to use those is a yummy one!

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m back in the stone age with internet exlorer, but the picture after the chopped ingredients is very stretched out?

    Reply
  6. Ashley

    I love cauliflower and have been looking for some new ways to use it – this dish looks delicious! Would be great during the week for lunch too!

    Reply
  7. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    I’d like to order up a take out and pass out for tonight! I know what you mean about being so burned out that cooking dinner becomes darn near impossible. When you’re in feed-me-now mode, a quick and delicious meal like this is just perfect! Can you believe I’ve never cooked with anchovies??? I love seafood and anything salty, so I’m excited to try this dish – you’ve inspired me to branch out! Have a great and relaxing weekend!

    Reply
  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    This is amazing. I want to eat it right now. I love cauliflower to begin with, and all the ingredients you threw in, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes,garlic, cilantro, capers… DROOL. I love this flavor. I can’t wait to try this soon. I don’t even have orzo yet….looking forward to it!!

    Reply

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