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!)
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.)
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.
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!
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
Kohlrabi and Egyptian Spinach Creamy “Orzo” with Seared Lemon Scallops
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the kohlrabi “orzo” onto two plates, cover and set aside.
- 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.
- Uncover the dishes of “orzo” and top each plate with 3 scallops. Garnish with mint (or parsley) and enjoy!