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.
Vegetarian Meals

Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

black skillet with eggplant lasagna on white table, spinach and sweet potato pictures next to skillet

 

Public service announcement: NO NEED TO BE A VEGETARIAN to totally fall in love with this eggplant lasagna!  If my meat-lover husband can devour this lasagna in one sitting and not notice the meat is missing, then that tells me we’re in good shape for the blog!

My idea behind this dish is that I wanted to make it simple and healthy.  So let’s start with simple…

I used raw ingredients, that only required slicing, and baked them all together in a skillet (or casserole dish).  There is no need to pre-cook anything or get out a million pots and pans (which means less dishes…yay!).

For this recipe, I would highly encourage the use of a mandoline to slice your “layers”.  It is one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and can cut you a whole veggie in about 30 seconds flat!  (click the link below for more information on mandolines!)

 

 

cutting board with sliced eggplant, sweet potato, and chopped onion

 

I used a mandoline to thinly slice a sweet potato, and then a sharp knife to cut the eggplant approximately 1/4 in. thick width wise.  Chop an onion, grab some spinach, mix spices, and layer as follows:

  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • spices
  • onion
  • spinach
  • sauce
  • cheese

(repeat one more time) 

 

black skillet on white table, with eggplant lasagna
Lasagna before baking

 

Second, I didn’t want to use meat, or pasta, because I love eggplant and strongly believe it should get its time to shine every now and again!  Therefore, I substituted pasta with sweet potatoes, and meat with our star of the show…eggplant!  

The sweet potato acts as a low carb substitute for pasta and gives the lasagna structure, while the eggplant provides high fiber content and is rich with nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).  Instead of using traditional mozzarella, a cheese derived from cow’s milk that causes inflammation, I used goat cheese crumbles which contains less lactose and is typically easier to digest.

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach

 

Once all of your layers are assembled, cover in foil, bake for 50 min, then remove foil and bake for another 25 min.  You can serve as a single dish, or with a side salad!    

 

eggplant lasagna in a skillet on white table with spinach in background

 

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

A one-pan, healthy, vegetarian, eggplant parmesan made with sweet potato, spinach, onion, and spices!  Creamy goat cheese used in place of traditional mozzarella, on top of a basil marinara sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: eggplant, gluten free, parmesan, sweet potato, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large eggplant skinned
  • 1 large sweet potato skinned
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 36 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a large skillet or baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all spices and set aside.
  • Using a mandoline, slice sweet potato into round, thin pieces and set aside. Using a knife, cut the width of the eggplant to approximately 1/4 in. thick, set aside. Chop onion and set aside.
  • Take greased baking dish, and line the bottom with half the amount of sweet potato slices. Then layer half of the eggplant pieces directly on top.
  • Take spice mixture, and evenly sprinkle half the amount over eggplant.
  • Take half of chopped onion, and 1 cup of spinach and sprinkle over eggplant. Spread half of marinara sauce overtop and spread using a spatula.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of goat cheese over top marinara.  Repeat the same process again, starting with a layer of sweet potatoes.
  • Wrap tinfoil over top and bake for 50 min.  remove tinfoil and bake for another 25 min.  Let cool, garnish with extra herbs (if desired), and serve!
Holiday

Valentine’s Day Dinner Part 1: Seasoned Asparagus

baked asparagus with seasoning for valentines day dinner

 

I’m really excited for this week’s post because I will be launching a Valentine’s Day special!  This means that throughout the week I will be updating the blog with recipes I created as part of a full Valentine’s Day dinner.  So by the end of the week, all you soon-to-be cupids out there will have a super delicious meal to make for the person you are trying to trick into liking you…I mean your loved one <3

We’ll start with the simple recipe first, and work our way through the rest of the course together, as the recipes become a little bit more complex as we go.  But no worries, I will be here every step of the way!  To keep your motivation up, just think of the finished product, how proud and accomplished you’ll feel, and how special it will be for your person! 

(And if all goes to hell in a hand basket, abort mission and go to plan B.  Order a pizza and have a great laugh about it!)

Now let’s get started with our first guest of honor…the one and only, seasoned asparagus!

 

asparagus in skillet with seasoning

 

 

Never underestimate the power of some simple baked veggies in oil and seasoning.  This dish takes very little time to prep, but has maximum taste bud satisfaction…oh and asparagus is super healthy too!  For one thing, it has a really low calorie count, but more importantly it’s a good source for antioxidants, and contains high amounts of folate and vitamins A,C, and K.  

 

asparagus in skillet with oil and seasoning
Asparagus pre-bake

 

For this recipe, you’ll want to take a bundle (or large handful) of fresh asparagus, and cut off the bottom stems.  Usually this part of the asparagus is white, or I just cut the bottom inch off to keep it simple and easy.

Rinse your asparagus before placing in a greased baking dish.  Drizzle oil on top and then season with Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.  Bake and serve!

 

baked asparagus with seasoning on top ready to eat

 

And just remember, nothing says love like the gift of stinky pee…

 

baked asparagus with seasoning
Baked Asparagus

 

Seasoned Asparagus

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus, baked, everything but the bagel, healthy, seasoned, simple, trader joes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bundle fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Trader Joe's

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a small baking dish.
  • Take bundle of asparagus and cut an inch off the bottom stem.
  • Rinse asparagus, then lay in baking dish.  Drizzle oil overtop and season with Everything But The Bagel.  Add as much seasoning as you'd like, or enough to cover surface of asparagus.
  • Bake for 30 min.