Spring Orzo with Edamame

This post is the latest installment in my ongoing quest to find new ways of cooking vegetables.  This recipe combines two of my new favorite ingredients:  Edamame and orzo pasta.Edamame (baby soybeans in the pod) has become a favorite vegetable of ours lately.  The beans have such a great texture, almost a meaty feeling, but a light flavor at the same time.  For me, half of the appeal of eating edamame is squeezing the beans out of their leathery outer skin before popping them into my mouth but I wanted to find a way to incorporate the already shelled beans into some dishes since they are a great source of fiber and vitamins.  The recipe below is my attempt to create a light springtime salad.  I made this for my husband and I for lunch today and there was just enough for 2 small portions, but it would also be a great dinner entree for one.  Of course, you could also double the recipe and serve it alongside some grilled fish or chicken for a bigger crowd; the possibilities are endless!

Spring Orzo with Edamame

Serves 2 as a light lunch


8 oz. dry orzo pasta

handful of shelled edamame

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. finely minced parsley

juice and zest from half a lemon

1/4 cup shredded parmesan, plus extra for garnish

salt and freshly ground pepper

1.  Cook the orzo in a pot of salted, boiling water for about 9 minutes, adding the edamame halfway through cooking time.  Drain the orzo and edamame and return to the pan.

2.  While the orzo is cooking, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3.  Pour the olive oil/onion mixture into the cooked orzo and stir gently to combine.  Add the parsley, lemon juice, zest and 1/4 cup parmesan to the orzo and add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until all ingredients are combined then split the pasta between two bowls.  Top each bowl with a little extra grated parmesan.  Enjoy!

Edamame usually comes in a big bag so, if you have leftovers, I have another new idea for you.  We recently went to an Asian restaurant where they served unshelled edamame which had been marinated in a sauce.  It seems like the flavors wouldn’t actually reach the beans inside the shells, but somehow the flavors really permeated the whole bean and it was delicious.  I tried to copy this idea at home a few days ago by just adding a few dashes of sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar to a bowl of freshly steamed edamame and then letting them marinate for a couple of hours.  If you try it out, please let me know what you think!  Edamame are also wonderful just steamed in the pods and sprinkled with a little sea salt before serving.  Delicious and good for you.