March 2, 2014

Carrot and Bean Orzo

Beans, beans... we truly do love them so. Not only do we eat them just about every day, but I even have a little song reciting each family member's favorite variety. Without question, you should be grateful that I keep these talents hidden from company, but in case you are interested (and for full effect, picture this sung at top volume and with a smiling baby bouncing on your lap and a three year old on back-up), 'brother's favorite are kidney beans, and mama's favorite are cannellini beans, baby's favorite are gonna' be garbanzo beans, and daddy's favorite are black beans'... and so daddy is in luck because black beans are the can that I cracked for this hearty dish with just a bit of a kick.

Carrot and Black Bean Orzo: 
  • about 3 c pealed and chopped carrots (roughly 1/4"-1/2" chunks)
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 c diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 c orzo pasta
  • 1 tsp  cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground chili's (adjust according to variety and your taste for heat!)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the orzo according to instructions just until al dente, run under cold water to prevent sticking and set aside. Peal and chop carrots, drain and rinse beans and set aside, dice and mince onion and garlic. 

In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for another five minutes. Add 1 cup of the diced tomatoes and cover to simmer until carrots are soft, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove one cup of the cooked mixture and puree in a blender or processor. Return to pan, along with the second cup of diced tomatoes, beans, orzo, and spices. Cook together for an additional minute or two. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is great served with a generous spoonful of plain yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheese or sliced avocado are also welcome additions. Adjusting spice is one of my big challenges these days, I enjoy heat (and would probably double the ground chili's here!) but also believe in serving one meal for the whole family, which means toning things down for a three year old palette. 

Little Smith is more and more opinionated with his food lately, and he often wants to pretend he's eating trains (odd, I know). Initially I was opposed to this kind of 'bribe' to eat, but I totally gave in. In this dish, the carrots were stream trains and the beans were the coal tenders... he ate it all up without complaint. Whatever works, right?

James and I enjoyed our helping by the fire tonight while watching the preamble to the Oscar's. Perfect for these frigid temperatures March is doling out. I'm embracing a few more weeks of comfort foods before those first baby greens make an appearance. Spring is on the way, no doubt,  although honestly I can't yet feel it.


  1. This looks so wholesome Lilly, love the colour of those carrots! x

    1. Thank you Jane! I know, those carrots were so lovely they really belonged uncooked in a salad or something, but it was too cold out not to indulge in a warm meal :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, I needed something to brighten these cold days :)

  3. the photographs of the carrots are stunning, lady!
    and ps: yes, whatever gets them to eat -- do it!

    1. I know, I don't want to feel like he's being bribed to eat, but ultimately he loves naming every bight and what can you do?! At least he's eating well which is probably the most important thing right? Thanks Jesse.

  4. Ha, ha! I love your little song! And black beans are my favorite, too. I will have to try them in this beautiful dish.

    1. I'm a black bean fan too, but nothing can compete with cannellini ;)

  5. Looks super yummy and the carrots are gorgeous. I'm a chickpea girl myself.

    1. Thanks, chickpeas are awesome. They were my favorite as a kid!


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