Garden To Table: How To Make Orzo Salad With Aran Island’s Goat Cheese & Ground Dillisk Seaweed


Quick and easy, filling and nutritious.  Loved by both children and grown-ups.  Such a great recipe I couldn’t help but share it, after all, this recipe is asked for everywhere I bring it.

It is made extra special with the addition of goat’s cheese and ground seaweed made by local artisans right here on my lovely little island of Inis Mor.  Anytime possible, I encourage everyone to use in-season, local produce.

Support your local artisans!!

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  • 325 g orzoorzo collage
  • 100 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil or 50 g dehydrated
  • 100 g sunflower and pumpkin seed mix
  • 1 ts olive oil, plus 2 Tb olive oil, plus 1 ts olive oil
  • 25 g garlic
  • 125 g spinach, Swiss chard, or kale
  • 1 1/2 ts dried oregano or 4 1/2 ts fresh oregano
  • 150 g cooked fresh garbanzo beans or a 400 g can, drained and rinsed
  • 200 g Aran Islands Goat Feta Cheese
  • 15 g capers
  • 1 ts dried dillisk

DSCF2932Ground dillisk is a low sodium all natural salt replacement made from the dried seaweed palmaria palmata–also called dulse, duileasc, creathnach, and sea parsley. Dillisk is very nutritious–high in fibre, protein, and very high in iron.  It has all essential amino acids, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, D and B complex.  Fresh it has a gorgeous deep brown/red colour to it and grinds dull to a brick rose like colour.  Other than grinding, it can be eaten fresh raw, dried, boiled, steamed, fried, and, of course, fermented.  I got mine from a company here on the island called Blath na Mara.

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Rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes if needed.  If they are in oil, chop them into small pieces (about the size of large peas).  Set aside.

If using kale, chop the leafy bit of it to salad size pieces and steam until softened (exclude the celery-like rib and stem, but save it for a future stir fry).

DSCF2879Line a baking sheet and lightly toast sunflower and pumpkin seed mix.  I do two minutes in the toaster oven.  No toaster oven?  Then 25 to 30 minutes in a 300°F / 150°C oven ought to do it.  Remove from pan to cool.

Drain and rinse chick peas; set aside.

Bring 4 cups of water to boil.   Add orzo and cook for five minutes exactly.  Set a timer if needed, just don’t overcook. When five minutes is up it will still have a slight bite, this is good.  Strain and rinse immediately in cool water.  Drain orzo completely before pouring into medium mixing bowl.

DSCF2913Add chick peas and 1 ts olive oil to orzo and mix well.  Put in the refrigerator or another cool spot.

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Warm 2 Tb olive oil on lowest heat in a heavy bottom fry pan, I like cast iron.

Fine chop garlic.  The 25 g came to nearly 1/4 cup when chopped.  Drop chopped garlic into warm oil in frying pan.

If necessary, tear greens to medium sizes (about 1 1/2″ pieces).  If fresh, then rinse and set aside.  If frozen, then steam until heated through, cool, squeeze out excess water, then set aside.

DSCF2899Turn heat up under garlic to medium-low.  Add remaining 1 ts of olive oil and immediately add sun-dried tomatoes, greens, oregano, and capers and mix together.  Continue stirring until greens are wilted to your liking and then remove from heat.  To speed up the cooling process, remove mixture from pan and put on a sheet or plate to cool.  When cool, mix into the bowl with orzo and beans.

Everything must be cooled completely before adding in feta cheese.



Chop feta cheese into 1/2″ cubes and, along with dried dillisk, combine all ingredients together.  Season with black pepper and additional oregano or ground dillisk as desired.  Serve at warm temperature.

Makes 1.5 kg/11 cups/ 2.75 q/ 2.6 l/ 2.5 lbs

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Smile, Eat, Share, Enjoy

…and then check out Connemara Odd‘s documentary Dillisk, about a pop-up diner here in the West of Ireland that harvested and sourced their menu from completely local sources–‘Diners were treated to a set menu of seven courses with a subtle emphasis on using seaweed throughout.’  What a great dining experience!

Eat, share, and enjoy!  Cheers, Melissa Xx


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