Mains Recipes Savory Sides, Spreads & Stuff

Orzo with Arugula Pesto and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Hello from my brand new studio apartment! I am loving every minute of living in my obsessively clean space, from guilt-free selfishness to the occasional evening spent in a towel wrap. There is, however, one bonus I just didn’t see coming.

Perhaps I should provide a bit of background…although I don’t love math and I certainly don’t have the patience for traditional puzzles, I LOVE building Ikea furniture. While most people balk at the sight of several thin boxes, a plastic baggy of screws and washers, and a picture of a kitchen table – I salivate. I enjoy the challenge much in the same way I enjoy doing dishes. Do I really dream of dish soap and sponges? No. Do I find it incredibly gratifying to take a dirty plate and make it clean with my own hands? Absolutely. Spending an evening decoding an instruction manual and constructing a piece of furniture before bedtime, although difficult and frustrating, is incredibly satisfying.

So you can imagine my excitement at the thought of all of my possessions in one Manhattan-sized studio apartment…challenge accepted. A shower caddy-turned-spice rack? Damn straight. Adhesive hooks and closet organizers? Oh yeah. It has been quite the ride.

The biggest challenge here, if you haven’t already guessed, is cooking. My kitchen is beautiful, with granite counter-tops and stainless steel appliances. But the counter space is less than sprawling and I found myself setting bowls and ingredients all over the place yesterday (at one point I was balancing the pesto on top of the refrigerator). So listen up: if I can make this recipe happen in my teeny tiny apartment, you can surely pull this one off at home. Give it a shot, it won’t disappoint!


1 cup of orzo, uncooked

1/4 cup of roasted cashews

1/4 cup of Parmesan

1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1/2 of a 5 oz bag of arugula

6-10 medium brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered

2 tablespoons of diced red onion

1 large clove of garlic, minced and divided into two sections

1/2 cup of crumbled feta

1 teaspoon of honey

Salt and pepper


Cook orzo according to directions on bag and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the cashews, 1/2 the clove of minced garlic, lemon juice, 2 large handfuls of arugula, 1/3 teaspoon of salt, Parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I did my arugula in batches due to the size of my food processor.


Blend until smooth and add water slowly (by teaspoon) if necessary. For a greener more peppery pesto, add in additional arugula.


In a saute pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add the other half of the minced garlic clove. Saute over medium heat for one minute and add in the brussels sprouts and onion. Saute on low to medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the onions have become glassy and the brussels are slightly browned.


Add a teaspoon or drizzle of honey, a handful of arugula, and saute for another minute or two.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the orzo, pesto (I used about 3 tablespoons of pesto and froze the rest), brussels sprout/onion/arugula saute, and feta cheese.


Top with extra cheese, salt, olive oil, or red pepper flakes if desired. Serve warm.




Food lover and minimalist cook finding harmony in the kitchen.

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