Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

This is kind of embarrassing, but I’m going to admit it anyway. When I was at the farmer’s market recently, I quickly grabbed a bunch of greens that I thought were mint. I mean, they were large but I just figured this farmer really knew his business and had produced a giant bushel of mint.

When I got home, I quickly realized that what I had bought was not mint. I checked the sticker that was attached to the stems and saw that it was “Egyptian spinach.”

Egyptian spinach? I had never heard of it. I love discovering new veggies, so I Googled a bit and found out some neat facts about this type of green and built it into today’s recipe (which you’re going to adore!)

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

Looking back on this mistake, I remember being in a rush and the area where the herbs are kept was extra shady and well, what the heck was Egyptian spinach doing there anyway?!

This is what I found out about Egyptian spinach (feel free to chime in with comments if you know something I don’t!):

  • It was first cultivated in Egypt and is accredited to have healed the ailments of a Pharaoh, as it is renowned for having medicinal properties.
  • It is referred to as the “king of vegetables.”
  • It carries much more carotene, calcium and B vitamins than traditional spinach.

There’s not much available here in America, due to lack of knowledge and quality of the seed for this type of green. Thus, if you can’t find Egyptian spinach anywhere, substitute in regular spinach or arugula (as I’ve noted in the recipe.)

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

Since the leaf itself is very tough, I knew it would hold up nicely when sauteed. I sauteed a few leaves at first and found them to be slightly herby, like a parsley. In this recipe, the spinach contributes loads of nutrients into the risotto but also adds a slight earthy taste to the kohlrabi “orzo.”

Why orzo? Well, truth be told my food processor was being finicky and for some reason stopped working mid way through pulsing the kohlrabi noodles into rice. What I discovered is that, obviously, if you don’t pulse the noodles all the way, they’ll be larger tubular pieces – which is very much like orzo and offers a very different texture and consistency- similar to the look of orzo.

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

When you go to make spiralized rice, don’t pulse all the way through and you’ll end up with “orzo.”

This kohlrabi “orzo” is slightly bitter, but when cooked with the chopped Egyptian spinach and seasoned with the rich cheese and lemon zest, the flavors are so robust and complex, you’ll think you’re truly eating a gourmet dish, somewhere perhaps in Egypt!

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

The kicker? Scallops! Don’t be intimidated by cooking scallops, they’re so easy. First, just heat olive oil in a pan and while the oil heats, season them generously with salt and pepper. Once the oil heats, sear one side of the scallops for 2 minutes and then flip over and sear for another 2 minutes or until firm and opaque. In this recipe, I add lemon juice for extra flavor and to complement the zest in the “orzo risotto.”

This dish looks fancy, but it’s one of those low-maintenance spiralized meals that makes you fall in love with your spiralizer all over again.

Have you ever tried Egyptian spinach? How did you cook it?

Nutritional Information & Recipe

Inspiralized

Serves 1

Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops

20 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 large kohlrabi, peeled, Blade C
  • 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white onion, minced
  • 1.5 cups chopped Egyptian spinach (or arugula, if you can’t find Egyptian)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • juice and zest of half a small lemon
  • 6 jumbo diver scallops
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint or parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the kohlrabi noodles into a food processor and roughly pulse or until shaped like orzo (not small like rice, slightly larger.) Set kohlrabi aside.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the garlic and onions. Cook until onions are translucent, 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the Egyptian spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until mainly wilted. Then, add in the kohlrabi and season with salt and pepper and let cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add in the vegetable broth and cook for about 5 minutes or until kohlrabi has orzo consistency – al dente. Remove from heat and stir in the parmigiano-reggiano and just the lemon zest.
  3. Divide the kohlrabi “orzo” onto two plates, cover and set aside.
  4. Wipe down the skillet used to cook the kohlrabi and set back over medium-high heat. Add in the remaining half tablespoon of olive oil. While oil heats, season scallops generously with salt and pepper. Once oil heats, add in the scallops in a single layer and sear for 2 minutes, flip over and sear another 2 minutes or until scallops are a deep golden brown and just firm and opaque. Then, pour on the lemon juice and take off the heat.
  5. Uncover the dishes of “orzo” and top each plate with 3 scallops. Garnish with mint (or parsley) and enjoy!
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Comments

  1. This looks divine! On my must-try list! Thanks Ali!

  2. LOVE your blog! I just got my spiralizer, and I am addicted already! Thanks for also providing the nutrition facts. I am a registered dietitian, so that makes it easy to confidently share your recipes with my clients!

  3. I am not at all surprised that great things come out of Egypt. I am likewise not surprised that Egyptian spinach is rare in the US. I really like the idea of this recipe, but I would have to find another protein source because my husband does not like scallops (personally I think they are a perfect choice for this dish). I’ll figure something out.

  4. Absolutely divine! (Agree w/chelsey post) I will definitely b making this after the next grocery trip. I will let you know how it turns out. I may not be able to find a kohlrabi but persistence prevails! Or substitution. ;-) I am an excellent cook if i follow recipes but i’ve never been too good at making up my own recipes. A few good ones to a lot of so-so ones. Some say i am just too hard on myself. I wish i had your intuition with flavors! This looks so absolutely scrumptious! Good job!

  5. I really dislike scallops. I wonder if jumbo shrimp would work for this dish…

    Also, since Egyptian spinach has tough leaves, do you think kale would be a viable substitute since kale leaves are a bit firm? I feel that regular spinach or arugula wouldn’t be a fair substitute since they are more tender and wilt more easily.

  6. Imagine my surprise to find this recipe for Egyptian Spinach! I am growing it in my garden and it grows great in the zone 9 summer heat. It is a wonderful vegetable to grow because of the big bang for the buck nutrient wise.Kale is supposed to be the most nutrient dense food per calorie and Egyptian spinach is touted to have more nutrients than Kale!!! I cook it sometimes but I generally go out and pick some every evening and put them in our salads.

    Thanks for the recipe. What a treat!.

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