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Heirloom Carrots and Orzo Salad

I was delighted yesterday when I discovered that my local market carried baby heirloom carrots. My mind began working on how I can prepare a dish with these carrots that is easy, quick, and my whole family would enjoy. I decided to make an orzo salad and roast the carrots wit rosemary, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric for a Middle Eastern flavour as carrots lend themselves well to a sweet and smokey flavour. It is then tossed in an orange juice and balsamic dressing.
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Heirloom “insert produce here” has been a rising star in the food world for a few years now, most namely tomatoes. Horticultural societies are formed trying to preserve and maintain seed varieties for various fruits and vegetables. Traditionally heirloom varieties (also known as heritage) are the varieties that were not used for mass market sale and consumption, but known to be varieties that have existed through generations of sowing by farmers within their own ethnic or geographical community. Many heirloom produces continue to maintain their traits through open pollination. As the foodie culture grew and the need to find unique and different flavours bloomed, heirloom produce became increasingly popular. Nowadays you can walk through any big box grocery chain and find varieties of heirloom tomatoes, apples and other vegetables.

Ingredients

1 lb heirloom carrots (if you cannot find heirloom carrots, regular carrots will do)
1 cup orzo uncooked
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the dressing:
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Directions

1. Boil the orzo in a large pot with 5 cups water and salt

2. Pre-heat oven to 425. Toss the heirloom carrots with the olive oil, salt, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and rosemary (remove leaves from stalk). Roast for approximately 40 minutes or until carrots are soft and browned.
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3. As the orzo and carrots are cooking, assemble the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together. Yo may wish to marinate the cranberries int he dressing to plump them up.
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4. Once the orzo becomes opaque and al dente, drain the pasta and let cool. If you are concerned with the orzo sticking, you can toss in 1 tbsp of good olive oil.

5. Remove carrots from the oven and in a large bowl combine with the orzo.

6. Drizzle dressing over the carrots and orzo and toss together.
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This dish can be served warm or cold.

One comment on “Heirloom Carrots and Orzo Salad

  1. Terry
    September 19, 2013

    My family will love this recipe!

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2013 by in Recipes and tagged , , , .
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