Meat Free Monday

Image from healthy food guide


When I was in Florida last month, I picked up a packet of orzo (pasta shaped like grains of rice) at the supermarket. I am sure you can get it here in Ireland in speciality shops, but I haven’t come across it in regular supermarkets, so I’ve never cooked with it before. Here is the recipe that I made this weekend, using the orzo.  I was really pleased with how it turned out, particularly as it used one of my favourite ingredients – beetroot. 

While I don’t usually make any claims for cancer fighting food, it is claimed that specific anti-carcinogens are bound to the red colouring matter in beetroot which supposedly helps fight against cancer. Additional studies are taking place to add support to these claims. However, cancer fighting or not, what is proven is that beetroot is of great nutritional value in our diets. The green leafy part of the beetroot contains beta-carotene and other carotenoids,which function as antioxidants. This part of the beet also contains lots of folate, iron, potassium and some vitamin C. Try eating the leaves and stalk boiled or steam and accompany with other more flavoursome veggies like onions and garlic. Or chop finely and add to quiches, salads or stir fries.  

Beetroot, orzo, feta and walnut salad 


  • 1 medium beetroot (either freshly prepared or if preferred, precooked vac packed)
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 60g feta cheese
  • Dressing  

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Method 

    1. If cooking the beetroot,  Preheat oven to 190°C. Trim stalks off beetroot and boil whole for about 8 minutes to slightly soften. If you have large beetroot, cut them in halves or quarters first.   

    2. Drain beetroot, then peel and dice them. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and roast for 25 minutes, or until tender. 

    3. Cook orzo in boiling salted water until tender.   

    4. Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients. 

    5. Drain cooked orzo. Mix with beetroot, walnuts and dressing. Top with crumbled feta. Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with herb of your choice.   

    (recipe from Healthy Food Guide)