Time: 45 minutes
I’ve been living some sort of Memento/Groundhog’s Day nightmare in the pasta aisle. Every time I get there, I grab a bag of orzo and think “It’ll be fun to make something with this!” Then I get home and open the pantry door and a whole pile of orzo falls on me and knocks me unconscious. Then I get amnesia, and I head back to the pasta aisle…this goes on for days.
So I thought it was about time I used some orzo. It also happens to be the week where I challenged myself not to use my three most-used spices (cumin, thyme and fennel FYI.) And even though I use anise seed (and got called a cheater on Facebook), it was a learning experience for me because I’ve always been wary of using anise in savory dishes (or fennel in sweet.) But I really dug it here!
The end result was a fun saucy pasta dish full of texture and flavor. Brothy orzo with velvetty ribbons of spinach, succulent bites of sundried tomatoes and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic! I especially loved the texture and flavor contrast with the sausagey bites of crumbled tempeh on top, and the soft saucy orzo below. It was almost impossible to stop eating, and totally perfect for a weeknight meal. Thank the stars I have that pantry full or orzo because I think I’m addicted. I’m calling it Orzilla because Orzo With Spinach And Sundried Tomatoes With Crumbled Anise Tempeh is just too long to type. And because it destroys cities.
8 oz orzo
For the tempeh
8 oz tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
For the sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (dry ones, not the oil packed kind)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup dry white wine wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 cups baby spinach
To prepare the tempeh:
For time management, I steam the tempeh first, and prep the veggies, then rinse out the pot and boil salted water for the orzo. So, tear the tempeh into bite sized pieces and steam for 10 minutes. Set tempeh aside and proceed with the recipe.
Preheat a small pan over medium heat. Saute tempeh in oil for about 10 minutes, mashing the tempeh into crumbles with your spatula as you go. Add the spices and soy sauce, and saute another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover until ready to use.
To prepare the pasta and sauce:
Boil orzo until al dente, then drain.
In the meantime, preheat a large pan over medium heat. Saute the onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.
Add rosemary, wine and sundried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat up to bring the sauce to a simmer. Let simmer until reduced by about half, 5 minutes or so.
Add broth and yeast and warm through. Then add the spinach in handfuls, letting each batch wilt before adding the next. Cook until spinach is thoroughly wilted then turn the heat off, add the orzo, mix well, and serve topped with tempeh crumbles.
Just made this…..So Good!! Thanks!
This was really tasty, but I think it was even better the next day. Makes an awesome cold pasta salad type thing.
My teen daughters have trouble with tempeh so I don’t make it often (but want to, as I need to limit tofu and soymilk). This was brilliant, I thought: steaming, then pan-frying till a bit crispy, crumbling and adding spices. My husband and I loved it! Not sure I have the teens on board yet, though. I was more wary of rosemary–used fresh from my garden–than fennel, but neither was overpowering. Wonderful blend of flavors! Great cold leftovers, too, and my husband drew a funny Orzilla picture to label it…
I just made this and think it’s SERIOUSLY one of the best things I’ve ever tasted! So good!!
This sounds so delicious! I love orzo, not sure about tempeh but want to give it a try. How would it be without nutritional yeast? Would soy sauce or a few shiitake mushrooms be a good substitute source of umami?
made this last night and it was BOSS. subbed fennel seeds for the anise, and it still ruled. THANKS ISA!!!
Yummy! I realized there really wasn’t much tempeh, so I threw in a can of chickpeas with the orzo to bulk it up. Next time I’ll do that and also double the tempeh. This was a good dish for company!
My second time making this, and I substituted farro for the orzo to make it a whole grain meal. Still completely delicious and beautiful, but the farro doesn’t soak up the broth as well as pasta does, so I’ll cut that to maybe 3/4 cup next time. Love it, either way!
This is a perfect Valentine’s Day dish, too. I add some sliced mushrooms when I saute the onions. Love this recipe!
Made this last night and it was so good! My husband and I kept repeating, “OMG, this is so good, over and over again! How do you do it? You’re recipes never disappoint! This is another winning recipe from ISA Does it! We both LOVE your recipes! It was percect!
Isa – when you say “dried coriander” – we have coriander seed and ground coriander in our spice cabinet. Should I use the seed?
I’m not seeing any sauce in the photo? After adding the broth and nooch, shouldn’t this have created a cheezy sauce?
Question (this applies to a few different recipes) – when you say ‘broth’ do you mean stock? As in very watery, or do you mean something thicker more like a soup? Sorry – I’m a UK reader/fan and we don’t really use the term broth. I always use stock where you say ‘broth’ but thought it would be a good idea to check!
Awesome recipe!! We ate the whole thing definitely a keeper .
I made this as directed except excluded the sundried tomatoes as my husband isn’t a huge fan and I didn’t have any anyway. It was outstanding!! I think I will just make the tempeh part on its own it was so delicious! Thanks for a great recipe as always!!