Appetizers, What's New on Lulu's Table?

Orzo Salad

bowl of orzo salad on white wooden table

 

Looking back…I’m pretty sure that I grew up on this stuff.  Well this, cheese, and chicken taquitos.  

I have to sing my mom’s praise here though, because not only did she get my sister and I hooked on this as kids, but she would make my roommates and I a big batch whenever she came to visit me at college!  I would literally have to fight off my friends in order to get more than one serving (yes I am talking to you Jesse).

 

orzo salad on white wood table

 

So needless to say, this dish makes a regular appearance here at the Corna household.  Especially during warm weather months when there is fresh basil galore!

Not going to lie…this is one of my all time favorite dishes to make AND eat (more-so eat).  Here’s why I love this Orzo salad…

  1. it’s healthy
  2. all the veggies make it fun and colorful, with a ton of flavor
  3. it’s super simple to make
  4. it’s light, but you feel like you’re eating substance (which is especially nice for tailgating)
  5. won’t make you have to unbutton your jeans

I make my own vinaigrette that I mix in before serving, and I love using Banza Rice to make this a healthier gluten free orzo salad!  One bag of Banza Rice, mixed with all the veggies, will be enough for 4-6 people…but I would definitely recommend erring on the side of overdoing it because the leftovers are just as good!

 

orzo salad with wooden spoon and balsamic dressing

 

This is typically my go-to when we are headed to a friend’s house, or I need something quick to make for last minute house guests.  It’s always a crowd pleaser and the best part is that you have the ability to craft it the way you like!  Add in whatever veggies you think sound yummy, or add rotisserie chicken to make this a main meal instead of a side dish.

Tip for adding more color: use different colored bell peppers!  One bell pepper is only required for each batch, so I like to use half an orange, and half a yellow pepper to add more color.

Can’t find Banza Rice at your local store?  Click below to get a couple bags sent to your home!  The plain Banza Rice goes quickly, but there is a tri-color rice that is just as delicious!  Check which ones are in stock through the link below…

 

 

bowl of orzo salad on white wood table

 

 

Orzo Salad

A healthy Orzo Salad filled with fresh veggies, basil, feta cheese, and homemade vinaigarette. Vegetarian and gluten free appetizer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: basil, feta, gluten free, healthy, orzo, salad
Servings: 4 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion diced
  • 1 cup asparagus chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 8 oz bag Banza Rice cooked
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup almond slices

Balsamic Vinegairette

  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Cook Banza Rice according to package instructions, rinse, and set in a large mixing bowl.
  • Blanch asparagus by cooking in boiling water for 1 min. Remove, rinse, and add to rice mixture.
  • Chop remaining veggies and mix in with rice. Stir in feta cheese and almond slices.
  • Mix together all ingredients for dressing and then stir into orzo salad right before serving.
Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Oven Roasted Artichokes

bowl full of roasted artichokes on white wooden table

 

Not going to lie, I dabbled with my first ever roasted artichoke just the other week and I LOVED IT.  Why has it taken me so long to try these darn things?!  Oh I know…because I had no idea how to eat them!

Up until now the only artichoke I would consume was marinated in a jar.  And albeit, super yummy, I think everyone needs to try a fresh roasted artichoke in their life time!  Similar to mushrooms, the artichoke flesh soaks up the flavor of whatever its baked with, so in this case…garlic and herbs!

 

fresh artichokes, whole on white table

 

In this post you will find instruction on how to roast these beautiful, jurassic-looking veggies, as well as a guide through the prep work, and how to eat these suckers too!

Step 1:  Prep Artichoke for baking

This part can be completed in a couple of minutes and will require a sharp serrated knife and spoon.  Start by rinsing, then cutting stem off with sharp knife.  Lay artichoke on its side, and cut the top 1 inch off.  Then lay artichoke flush to the surface (stem side down), and cut through the middle from top to bottom. 

Next, you will need to scoop out a little area in the middle, where the “hair” is located.  Once you have scooped out the center, brush with a lemon to prevent browning and set aside.

 

artichoke halves in grey baking dish

 

Step 2: Bake

After your artichokes have been stuffed with garlic, herbs, and butter, you’ll want to bake them at 400 degrees F.  First for 20 minutes without foil, and then 30-40 minutes with foil.

(Something else I learned about artichokes…they make a great vehicle for butter!)

 

close up of browned, roasted artichoke halves

 

Step 3: Devour

The best way to eat an artichoke is one petal at a time.  Rip off a petal by grabbing the pointy end, and lay the inside of the petal on top of your tongue while still holding on.  Bite down and slowly pull the “flesh” off by pulling it over your bottom teeth.  Discard petal remains.  

The petals on the outermost surface will have the least amount of flesh, but the closer you get to the “heart” is where you’ll find the most substance to eat.

Continue this process until you reach the heart, which will be soft and VERY flavorful.  Eat the heart as you’d like…in a couple pieces, or whole!  It may look a little funny, but don’t be afraid, because its delicious!

If you really want to get fancy with it, you can add a dipping sauce for the petals, which adds more flavor!  I used pesto in this recipe, but some other recommendations would be, Caesar or Ranch dressing, any aioli, or any yogurt based dip.

I ended up eating most of mine without dip, because it was that flavorful on its own!  Hope you guys give this a try and enjoy 🙂 

 

roasted artichokes in bowl with pesto dipping sauce

 

Oven Roasted Artichokes

These oven roasted artichokes are very simple to make, require only a couple ingredients, and allow you to enjoy the true flavor of an artichoke! Roasted in garlic, grass-fed butter, and a few spices...YUM!  
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: artichokes, easy, fresh herbs, garlic, gluten free, healthy, oven, roasted
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 4 artichokes whole
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp herb butter or regular butter melted
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse artichokes and cut stem off with a sharp serrated knife.  Next, cut top 1 inch off, then cut artichoke in half from top to bottom.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out a small portion of the middle.  Try to spoon out the "hair".
  • Before placing artichokes in baking dish, coat front and back with a layer of lemon juice to prevent browning. 
  • Set artichokes in a greased baking dish with insides facing up.  Place one whole garlic clove in the center of each artichoke half.  
  • Brush with half of your melted butter, and sprinkle with half of salt and pepper.  Turn artichoke halves over and repeat butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 20 min without foil.  Wrap foil lightly overtop baking dish and cook for another 40 min.
  • Remove from oven and let cool before serving.  Serve with a side of pesto, any yogurt dip, or add some extra lemon juice and eat by itself!
Appetizers

Pineapple Shrimp Salsa

pineapple shrimp salsa in a white bowl with chips

 

The weather in Ohio gets a little bit warmer (and when I say warmer, I actually just mean the sun came out), and my mind immediately goes to…SALSA.  Fresh raw veggies, light flavor, and a healthy, munchy snack!  Which makes me proud to announce…its time for us to say bye to seasonal depression, and hello to good-vibe salsa season!

The best thing about making salsa, is that you can make it different every single time.  For me, it depends entirely on whats in my fridge.  While rummaging through my inventory this time, I had a couple of thoughts…

  1. I have a heck of a lot of colorful bell peppers
  2. I have a beautiful whole, ripe pineapple 
  3. I have some shrimp in the freezer

Alas, my inspiration for this PINEAPPLE SHRIMP SALSA!

 

colorful pineapple shrimp salsa in a white bowl

 

This recipe turned out so-so delicious…and also super colorful (which I’m always a huge fan of)!  What I love about this salsa though, is that you can eat it with chips, OR use as a topping on baked chicken, or fish!

I ended up bringing this salsa to my friends house the other night, when she hosted us for a fish taco dinner!  I’m telling you…the sun comes out once in Ohio and everyone defaults to Mexican cuisine lol

How to make this recipe?

The most time-efficient way to make this recipe is to cook your shrimp first, so you can chop veggies during the cook time.  Cook the shrimp on stovetop over medium heat, with oil, and garlic.  Once the shrimp is finished cooking, remove from heat, mix in lemon juice, and let cool.

Take all of your chopped ingredients (peppers, onion, cilantro, pineapple, shrimp) and add to a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and then mix into salsa before serving.

 

pineapple shrimp salsa in white bowl with chips surrounding bowl

 

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room…how the heck do I cut up a whole pineapple?

First things first, don’t let it scare you!  There is truly nothing more delicious, then a fresh whole pineapple!  I think it tastes SO much better, than precut pineapple you’d find in the grocery store.  So lets take it step by step…

  1. Using a large, serrated knife, chop the top off the pineapple.
  2. Stand it up straight (exposed flesh facing up) and begin to cut the skin off.  Start your knife at the top end, where there is open flesh.  Cut a thin layer all the way down, to remove the tough exterior skin.  Repeat this until all exterior skin is removed.
  3. Similar to an apple, pineapples have a tough core.  You’ll want quarter the pineapple (from top to bottom), by slicing off a large chunk on all four sides around the core.  
    1. Sometimes you can see where the core is, or you’ll know because it will be harder to run your knife down the length of the pineapple.  Ripe pineapple flesh is very easy to cut through.
  4. Take your four large chunks of pineapple meat (they will be different sizes) and cut into smaller chunks for serving.  Or for the purpose of this recipe, cut small pieces that are similar sized to your chopped peppers.  

How can I tell if a pineapple is ripe?

There are two indicators of a ripe pineapple.  First, look out for yellow skin.  A yellowish colored skin indicates ripeness, vs green indicates it isn’t ready yet (similar to bananas).  

Second, it smells sweet.  Seriously!  If you smell your pineapple skin and it smells sweet, it means its ready to eat!  How cool is that?!

I know cutting up a whole pineapple can be intimidating, but it is hands down worth it!  It’s so juicy and flavorful, you’ll likely never go back to pre-cut pineapple.  I like to store mine in the fridge and eat throughout the week, or add to salsas or smoothies!

 

pineapple shrimp salsa in white bowl with chips in background

 

Pineapple Shrimp Salsa

Healthy and flavorful salsa made with ripe pineapple, lemon garlic shrimp, and bright, chopped veggies! Garnish with cilantro and serve with chips, or use as topping to your favorite fish or chicken!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: healthy, pineapple, salsa, shrimp
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup shrimp chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • In a small to medium saucepan, add 1 tbsp oil and minced garlic to medium heat.  Sauté for 2-3 min, then add shrimp.  
  • Cook shrimp until pink all the way through, approx 7-9 min. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and mix around.
  • While shrimp cools, chop bell peppers, pineapple, onion, and cilantro.  Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  • Prepare dressing by adding all dressing ingredients into a small mixing bowl, and whisking together until combined.
  • When shrimp have cooled, chop into small pieces and add to large mixing bowl with veggies.
  • Drizzle on dressing, mix together, and serve.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.