Spring Pea Orzo Salad

Ingredients:
3 to 4 lemons
8 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 cup minced shallot or red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked fresh or frozen peas
1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas, blanched and chopped
1 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as mint, chives, and parsley)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:
Grate zest from lemons to equal 2 tsp. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons to equal 1/2 cup. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Whisk together shallots, next 4 ingredients, and lemon juice. Toss together pasta and shallot mixture. Toss together pasta, peas, snow peas, next 2 ingredients, and lemon zest just before serving. Add salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 48 hours.

I came across the recipe in Southern Living when looking for vegetarian side dishes to serve at Easter. It is definitely a vibrant spring dish. And despite having loads of great dishes at Easter, this one definitely stole the show. I’ve made it a few times since. Because it is served cold, its a great meal to bring for a potluck or for new moms as it can be made the day before. Would also be great for lunches. You can easily add cooked chicken or fish to make this a main dish.

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Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green pepper
1/2 onion
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1egg
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup corn
1/2 or 1 cup of cooked brown rice

Directions:

Mash beans and mix in green pepper, onion, and garlic. Mix together 1 egg, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili sauce or hot sauce. Mix into mashed beans. Mix in 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup corn and 1/2 or 1 cup of cooked brown rice. Form into patties. Lightly grease the pan with olive oil. Bake 375 for 40 minutes. Flip after 20 minutes.

This recipe came from my sister-in-law. She is always trying new vegetarian recipes. Even the meat-eaters in the family enjoy this one! Tastes great topped with avocado or mango salsa.

Lunch Ideas! (or 10 ways to use an avocado)

I’ve been looking for some creative lunch ideas to spice up my lunch. I do a lot of leftovers typically, but with a husband who can eat an entire box of cereal in one sitting as a “snack,” leftovers are not always a guarantee. After doing some Pinteresting, here are some creative recipes I’m looking forward to trying. Of course afterward I realized they all have avocado — something I obviously love! Not only do they taste delicious, but they have the “good fat” which is not only healthy but keeps you full at lunch without making you sluggish and weighed down with carbs. So stock up on avocados and try some of these recipes with me!

Tuna or Chicken Stuffed Avocados
Avocado & Cucumber Caprese Salad (have also seen varieties of this recipe with corn)
Spinach, Avocado & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese
Avocado Egg Salad
Avocado Yogurt Dip (to eat with fresh veggies) or Kale Dip

Of course we’ll still have our standard chicken or tuna sandwiches or leftover chili in the mix, but I’m looking forward to adding some of these into the lunch rotation!