I recently took a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Maine, where a couple of friends and I decided to turn off our phones and unplug at the beach for a few days. I’m as game for relaxing as much as the next person, but for me, the true allure of a seaside retreat is the food. A beach day just isn’t complete without a cooler full of snacks. And while I’ll gladly indulge in the usual bags of chips and cookies, I need something a bit more sustainable; a dish that will give me the energy I need to read and nap all day.
Enter this unexpectedly bright orzo salad, inspired by the flavors in a dish I ate at Slab, a new pizza spot in Portland. Toasty orzo is the backdrop for crispy garbanzo beans coated in sage and orange zest. Parsley and red onion add some grassiness and bite. And the whole dish only takes about 30 minutes to throw together, so you can be out on the beach quickly instead of cooped up in the kitchen.
Orzo with Chickpeas, Fried Sage and Orange Zest
Orzo is a pasta, so the easiest way to cook it is using the pasta method: Add orzo to boiling water, cook until al dente and drain.
2 cups cooked orzo, cooled in a medium bowl and mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon orange juice
1 can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and dried with paper towels
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup whole sage leaves
2 tablespoons orange zest
½ red onion, sliced very thin
¼ cup parsley leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sage leaves and stir until crispy, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to cutting board, leaving oil in pan. Add chickpeas and stir until they are coated with oil and resting in one layer in pan. Let cook until bottoms of chickpeas have browned, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, chop fried sage leaves.
2. Stir chickpeas until brown sides are facing upward and let cook until second side is brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chopped sage and season with salt.
3. Transfer chickpeas to bowl with cooled orzo. Stir in orange zest, red onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.