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

BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

This weekend was our first true forecasted snow storm of the year.  One of those, “batten down the hatches” type storms, so get where you need to go cause you’re staying there for the weekend.  WELL…my dearly beloved had already gone wheels up on his flight out to Puerto Rico for a bachelor party, leaving Tito and myself to fend for ourselves in the icy abyss of Ohio.

So that was right around the time I called my super wonderful, yet autoimmune-food-restricted BFF, and made plans to get snowed in at her place!  We had this grandiose plan to stay in with our pooches and wait out “the storm to end all storms” by way of food and Netflix.  And you know what happened?

The storm never exactly came.  (Although, 24 hours after its predicted arrival, it came in the form of ice.)  Sick, right?

So we sat around all day Saturday, seeing as though we’re not quitters, and stuck to our “snow day” plan.  Four documentaries, and the start of a new Netflix original series later, we started to dabble in some culinary experimentation. 

 

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

I will admit, we had the odds stacked against us.  With loads of sleep in our system, lethargy due to extended length of immobilization, limited cognitive function as a result of “Netflix and chill”, and a finite supply of ingredients due to my BFF’s autoimmune protocol diet…the odds of yielding an edible substance were looking bleak.  

In short, here were our options…a handful of sweet potatoes, lemons, garlic, and one can of chickpeas that was going to waste ever since my BFF started her AIP diet.  So in the spirit of not being wasteful, I set out on an adventure to make HUMMUS!

 

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

This hummus ultimately combines two ingredients I hold very near and dear to my heart…chickpeas and sweet potatoes.  All in all, a simple recipe, it does require 60 min of baking time to get the sweet potato spectacularly mushy 🙂

Once the sweet potato is finished softening, all thats left is to throw all ingredients into a blender and give it a go!  I found that my original idea of just a plain sweet potato hummus, actually came out rather bland.  I was stewing over what I could use to spruce it up a little bit, and thats when I saw it (in the pantry)!

It was as if Moses himself had parted the sea of autoimmune protocol ingredients, showing me a clear path to…the BBQ SAUCE.  I added a 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce to give it some TANG, and oh what wonderful TANG it was!

 

BBQ sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

Alas, the creation of BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus!  Which, by definition means: a snack entirely suitable for munching during ones Netflix binge sesh.  

Before serving, I added a little extra BBQ drizzle to the top, with some scallions and that was about the extent of my productivity on Saturday…and Sunday (I blame the new Netflix series for that though).    

And in case anyone is wondering…Tito survived the storm too, 

 

bernese mountain dog sitting on a couch

 

but just barely…    

 

bernese mountain dog holding a donut toy

 

BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: bbq, gluten free, hummus, sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato cut in half, long ways
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup EVOO or avocado oil
  • 2 lemons juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp bbq sauce
  • scallion garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Take sweet potato and cut in half long ways and place over foil.  Drizzle avocado oil over front and back of each half.  Wrap tightly in foil and place on baking pan.  Bake for 60 min.
  • Remove potato from oven and let steam in the foil for 10 min before unwrapping.
  • While the sweet potato is steaming, take all ingredients and add to blender or food processor.
  • After sweet potato is finished steaming, scoop out the inside flesh (leaving skin) and add to blender with rest of ingredients.  You can either use a spoon to remove flesh, or take a sharp knife and cut around the inside edge of the potato.  Proceed cutting down the length, then across the width of the potato to create cubes.  Pull out cubes with a fork.
  • Add sweet potato to blender and blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with extra BBQ sauce and scallions.  Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips!