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orzo, greens & pan-charred corn salad

by Jackie Newgent  |  August 21, 2016  |  5 Comments

orzo, greens, and pan-charred corn salad

I recently had a mini-getaway to the Hamptons for a badly needed stress break. Clean air and a beachy breeze does wonders for the psyche! I also get slightly giddy over the farmstands and fresh produce that’s so readily available there. One of the local dishes that a friend served me while visiting was a corn and orzo salad picked up from my favorite little market, Round Swamp Farm. That provided the inspiration for this seasonal vegan salad. It’s a perfect fit for the Recipe Redux theme this month: “A Vacation-Inspired Recipe!” And it’s absolutely scrumptious!

Calories saved: 62

Why it’s better for you? I used a whole grain orzo rather than the “white” version–plus added arugula–to boost an array of health-promoting plant nutrients.

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orzo, greens & pan-charred corn salad

  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 1/3 cups whole-wheat orzo (8 ounces)
  • Juice of 1 small lemon* (2 tablespoons juice)
  • Juice of 1 lime* (2 tablespoons juice)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen thawed organic yellow corn kernels
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts divided
  • 5 cups packed baby arugula or mizuna (5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Cook the orzo according to package directions.
  2. While orzo is cooking, whisk together the lemon and lime juices, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until combined.
  3. Drain the orzo. Add the hot orzo to the citrus vinaigrette in the large bowl and stir to coat. Set aside to slightly cool, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. While orzo slightly cools, heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium-high. Add the corn and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and sauté until corn begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add white part of the scallions and continue to sauté until the corn is well caramelized (“pan-charred”) and scallion whites are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes more. Stir into the orzo mixture.
  5. Chill the orzo-corn mixture in the refrigerator until cool. (Hint: This can be done a day or two in advance, if desired!)
  6. When ready to serve, stir in the arugula, cilantro, green part of the scallions, and remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Adjust seasoning. If desired, serve lime and lemon wedges on the side.


Per serving: 250 calories, 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrate, 6g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 6g protein

*Grate the zest of the lemon and lime before juicing. Use it to season other parts of the meal.


  • Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups

The “Before” Version

I don’t have the original corn and orzo recipe from Round Swamp Farm (it’s probably a secret!). So here’s a similar recipe for nutritional comparison purposes:

Orzo Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil

Per serving: 312 calories, 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 318mg sodium, 59g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 10g protein


Tasteover Tips

  • Use a whole grain instead of “white” pasta whenever you can; it’s not just healthier, it provides a slight nuttier taste
  • Caramelize (“char’) corn on occasion to bring out the natural sweetness and add a color dimension
  • Rather than a lemon vinaigrette or a lime vinaigrette, combine them together to create a citrus vinaigrette and provide more flavor interest in select recipes, like those that include corn or cilantro
  • Add plenty of leafy greens, like baby arugula, to a grain-based salad to boost overall meal appeal while making the serving size significantly larger









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