Have you tried the Mediterranean diet for better eating?
At some point, I tried it out. And if you don’t know about this diet, let me tell you that you are missing out on a lot.
Mediterranean cuisine is a culinary style typical of those countries bordering the sea of the same name, ranging from the westernmost part of this sea to its eastern end. Throughout this area, countries such as France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and even Israel, base their gastronomy on wheat, grapes, and olives.
Now I’m mentioning wheat, there is an ingredient that is part of daily life in this region, and that has been the star ingredient in many dishes of Italian and Greek origin: the orzo.
In this post, you will learn a little more about this nutritious ingredient and we will show you an exquisite zucchini and spinach orzo recipe that will help you take care of your figure.
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Orzo: what you don’t know about this ingredient
Orzo is an ingredient of Italian origin that can be categorized as dry pasta. It is a pasta based on durum wheat semolina.
In Italy it is very popular and is known as ‘risone’; and as we had said at the beginning of this post, it is also used in other Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, Turkey, or Cyprus, where it is known as ‘kritharaki’.
Benefits of this zucchini and spinach orzo recipe
Now, you will learn all the benefits of this recipe’s main ingredients.
Zucchini is ideal for people who suffer from digestive diseases. This is due to mucilage, a type of soluble fiber that takes care of the intestinal mucosa and regulates intestinal transit.
Since water is its main component, it is a low-calorie ingredient that makes it ideal for any kind of diet.
Also, It has a diuretic effect due to it being rich in potassium.
Due to its high content of Vitamin C, cherry tomatoes facilitate the absorption of iron and calcium, fight against skin aging by increasing collagen synthesis and contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.
It is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is more potent than vitamin E. In addition, tomatoes contain other carotenes, which makes them a powerful antioxidant that cares for our body.
Spinach contains high levels of carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin). These phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.
Also, spinach provides a considerable amount of vitamin K, which is important for bone health.
Orzo is impressively high in protein content. Up to seven grams per half cup, which is even more than you get from a full cup of oatmeal, is considered one of the most protein-rich grains.
Orzo has a fulfilling function that works splendidly due to its abundance of carbohydrates, making it a great source of energy for all your day’s duties.
Zucchini, cherry tomatoes and spinach orzo recipe
- 300 gr of orzo.
- 400 ml of passata or crushed tomato puree.
- 20 cherry tomatoes.
- 50 gr of baby spinach.
- 1 zucchini.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- 1 glass of water.
- ½ vegetable stock cube.
- 2 tsp. of sweet red pepper.
- 2 tbsp. of tomato paste (concentrate).
- 1 tsp. of hot bell pepper paste.
- 3 tbsp. of olive oil.
- Put a pot of water (with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt) on the stove and cook the orzo pasta according to the instructions on the package. Do not let it cook too long because then it will fry. Place the pasta in a colander, discard the excess water, and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure it doesn’t stick.
- Wash the zucchini and cut it in half lengthwise and then cut it in half again lengthwise. Now cut thin slices. Mince the garlic cloves.
- Rinse the tomatoes and spinach.
- Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep frying pan and fry the zucchini for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, the spinach, cherry tomatoes, tomato concentrate, and the hot pepper paste (if you don’t have bell pepper paste, use 1/2 tsp chili flakes). Stew and stir until the spinach has wilted. Crumble in the stock cube and sprinkle with the paprika.
- Add the passata and stir well. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Now add the orzo pasta and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat.