Orzo with Roasted Beets, Greens and Goat Cheese

This is a hearty, one-dish, meatless dinner that features a truly wonderful flavor combination – roasted beets and goat cheese. For added flavor, the orzo is toasted dry with onion and garlic, then cooked risotto-style and combined with sautéed Swiss chard and the greens from the beets. Pair with a salad for a complete meal.

Orzo with Roasted Beets, Greens and Goat Cheese

Orzo with Roasted Beets, Greens and Goat Cheese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This satisfying, meatless dinner combines orzo with sautéed garlic, onion, Swiss chard, roasted beets, pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium golden (or red) beets with tops (about 1 lb)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 average bunch Swiss chard (about 1 lb)
  • 1 lb orzo
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Rinse the beets and remove the leafy tops and root ends, reserving the tops.
  3. Place the whole beets on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, seal the packet tightly and roast until they are easily pierced with a knife, 1 to 1-1/4 hours (depending on their size). When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel with a paring knife, cut into small cubes and set aside.
  4. While the beets roast, remove the thick stems from the beet greens and discard, then cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Remove the thick stems from the Swiss chard as well, but don't discard. Cut the chard leaves into bite-sized pieces, combine with the beet greens, rinse thoroughly, drain and pat dry. Slice the chard stems into 1/2-inch pieces, rinse, drain and set aside.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add the dry orzo and stir to coat with the oil.
  6. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the orzo is nicely toasted, 5 to 6 minutes longer.
  7. Stir in 3 cups of the chicken broth and cover. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed, about 4 minutes.
  8. Although it will most likely still be too firm, check the orzo for doneness. Add another 1/2 cup of broth, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed again - 2 minutes. If needed, repeat the process, adding broth in 1/4 cup increments until the orzo is al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  9. Wipe out the pan, add the final tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add the Swiss chard stems and sauté until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Add the greens, a handful at a time and sauté until wilted. Add the pine nuts, then return the orzo to the pan and combine with the greens. Add the cubed beets, combine gently and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  10. Plate individual servings and top each with crumbled goat cheese.