This easy-to-make orzo pasta is packed with vitamin and antioxidant-rich ingredients and is bursting with flavor.
Frozen artichoke hearts keep the prep work to a minimum, and a homemade pesto comes together in just minutes. Take advantage of summer’s upcoming produce with fresh corn on the cob and cherry tomatoes in this nutrient-rich pasta dish.
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Number of Servings: Serves 4-6
1 pound orzo pasta
2 ears corn, shucked and silks removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (see Cook's Note)
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, smashed
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (about 28)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. The walnuts will become fragrant when they’re toasted, and keep an eye on them because they can burn easily. Cool completely before using to make the pesto.
3. Add a generous amount of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite (al dente), stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Drain orzo and place in a large serving bowl.
4. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
5. Brush the corn with the 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil with a pastry brush. Grill on the preheated grill pan or gas or charcoal grill, turning frequently, until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Cool the corn slightly. Remove the kernels from the cob, slicing close to but not into the cob with a large knife. Add the grilled corn kernels to the serving bowl with the orzo.
6. For the pesto, combine 2 cups of the artichokes, ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, toasted walnuts, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until the mixture is thick and smooth.
7. Chop the remaining 1 cup of artichoke hearts into ¾-inch pieces and add to the serving bowl. Add the pesto, halved cherry tomatoes, and parmesan. Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Artichokes contain high amounts of fiber, which helps you to feel fuller longer as well as contributes to a healthy gastrointestinal tract and helps promote regular bowel movements.
Antioxidants are an additional benefit found from eating artichokes. As your body breaks down food or is exposed to environmental threats, compounds are formed that cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues. Too many of these can increase your risk for serious health conditions.
Antioxidants, like those found in artichokes, help protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress. Artichokes are among the vegetables with the highest antioxidant content, along with tomatoes.
Tomatoes contain high amounts of carotenoids including lutein, which helps support eye health, and lycopene, whose antioxidant properties help support healthy cellular aging.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium.
♦ Vitamin C supports immune health.
♦ Vitamin K contributes to bone health and healthy blood clotting
♦ Folate is important for tissue growth and cell function
♦ Potassium helps regulate fluid balance in the body and supports bone and muscle health
The carotenoids in tomatoes are even more readily absorbed by the body when eaten in combination with healthy fats, like olive oil.
Olive oil is among the healthiest fats that you can eat. It contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as oleic acid, which has many health benefits. Olive oil also contains antioxidants and compounds that provide antimicrobial benefits as well.
Maintaining heart health is more important now than ever before, and olive oil can support your heart in several ways. Olive oil can help lower blood pressure, promote healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and support arterial health and integrity.
Walnuts also provide healthy fats for your health. They not only contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids of nuts, but also add a little boost of protein. Walnuts can help support heart health, lower blood pressure, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, fight inflammation, support weight management, and can even help promote proper cognitive function.
Orzo with Artichoke Pesto and Grilled Corn is packed with healthful ingredients. With every bite you get antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats.
Whether you are looking to support heart health, immune system function, healthy weight management, or overall health, this recipe has the nutrients you need and the flavor you want.