Orzo with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

Posted by Emily Wiley on 08/16, 2010 at 04:48 PM

Orzo with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

Orzo with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing. Photo Credit Emily Wiley.

Since seeing Food, Inc. and reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve become more conscious of the food I eat — especially the meat I eat.

My husband and I do not support factory farms that follow inhumane practices, which unfortunately are the source of some supermarket meats.

And so we buy our meat — often chicken or pork or lean ground beef — direct from local farmers and butchers we know and trust.

Both Gearhart’s Meats and Holland Bros. Meats are within a 15-minute drive from our house. Gearhart’s has great bourbon marinated chicken breasts, and Holland Bros. does specialty smoked meats and sausages. Also, when I have time after work to stop at the Boalsburg Farmers Market, I buy pork chops from Bill from Cow-A-Hen Farms in Mifflinsburg.

While the aforementioned film and book convinced us to change the type of meat we eat, they convinced some to stop eating it altogether.

A few weeks ago we invited vegetarian friends for dinner, and I happily accepted the challenge of preparing a vegetarian meal for our guests.

This orzo side dish was an exceptional success with Moroccan-inspired cinnamon-cumin spices. The eggplant gives it substance, and the golden raisins give it sweetness. I highly recommend it, whether you’re vegetarian or not.


2 - 3/4 lb unpeeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (8 to 9 cups)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup orzo
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place eggplant cubes on sheet; drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender, turning occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Place in large bowl.

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Grind seeds in spice mill; place in small bowl. Add vinegar, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons oil. Whisk to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add onion.

Add raisins, cilantro, eggplant cubes, and dressing to couscous. Toss to coat.

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

Tags: summer | recipe | eggplant |

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{name} Author: Emily Wiley

Bio: WPSU Multimedia Producer | Wife and Mother | Lover of Food and Photography | One-Half of The Culinary Couple


Posted by Tanya
03/14 at 03:12 PM
Birmingham, AL

Emily Reddy shared this recipe ... Can’t wait to try it for our family food blog http://www.necessarypleasures.blogspot.com.

I was a vegetarian for three years, but am now eating meat again, but only that which is humanely-raised (which is much easier now that there’s a Whole Foods nearby).

I wonder if you had the same discussion we did after seeing Food Inc. If you don’t eat meat you don’t support factory farming. On the other hand, you don’t really send a message in support of those who farm responsibly. Interesting stuff, food systems!

Emily Wiley Posted by Emily Wiley
03/14 at 05:44 PM

Thanks for your comment, Tanya! So glad you enjoyed the orzo dish and am happy to hear you support humanely-raised meats, as well. I think even vegetarians can support responsible farmers by purchasing local and organic produce. Cheers!

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