‘Mince’ orzo pasta salad with green beans, almonds and feta + what I learned in a social media detox

I took some time off social media aps throughout the holidays and, as rumour has it, it’s been GREAT.

There’s tonnes of articles on the topic of social media detox already so I won’t bore you with a journal entry on it. Mostly because what I have to say has been said before. I do however want to share a few bullet points on the impact it’s had on me and my business. And then we move onto pasta salad!

1. I cannot highlight enough the extent to which I was using it WITHOUT REALISING IT. This must have been my biggest eye opener – multiple times throughout the day I have been reaching for my phone unconsciously, especially in the first 3-4 days.

2. It had control over my impulses at times when I had to ‘fill a gap’. You know those moments… waiting for the kettle to boil, getting home and wanting to put your feet up for ‘5 minutes’ before getting onto something else, waiting for a friend to arrive on a coffee date – all these in between moments I would previously use to breathe, think or just be, somehow turned into mindless scrolling.

3. I have HEAPS more time. All of a sudden I now know what I actually spend my time on and I have been incredibly more productive – at home, yes, but mostly at work. My attention is more focused and the lack of distractions allowed me to dive deep into strategy and planning for 2020 for a little over a week.

4. There’s less comparison, less anxiety as a consequence and less of a feeling that I’m not enough or not doing enough.

5. I have been experiencing less pressure and more freedom. This last point in itself is enough to take it home.

There’s more to say, the benefits are tenfold, but maybe at a later time. If you’re wondering how I did it – I just deleted the apps and went cold turkey. And I will be doing this every month this year to keep myself grounded and focused on what matters – life and being.

Now onto food. I made this pasta salad on a whim. I was walking down the supermarket isles, the carby isles to be more precise. I saw orzo pasta and realised I haven’t used it in years. I picked it up and walking further down the isle I spotted passata – another ingredient I haven’t used in a while. At this time I remembered I had a beautiful vegan mince mix at home and thought the three ingredients will be a perfect match.

Paired with feta, herbs and toasted almonds, this dish turned out about ten times more delicious than I was expecting. So there you go, another pasta salad to add to your archives.

And yes, it is a perfect picnic food.

‘Mince’ orzo pasta salad with green beans, almonds and feta

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 200g orzo pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g mince
  • 330g passata
  • 100ml water
  • 1 big handful green beans, chop off the tips
  • 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 handful toasted almonds
  • 3 TBSP crumbled feta

Steps

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil.
  2. Add orzo pasta and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse the pasta, add it to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil and mince to a medium pan on medium heat.
  4. Cook while stirring for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add passata and water to the pan and stir and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
  6. While sauce is simmering, prepare and steam the green beans – I did them for 4 minutes in the microwave.
  7. Chop the green beans into 2cm pieces and add them to the orzo bowl.
  8. Add the parsley to the bowl (reserve about 1 TBSP for decoration).
  9. When the mince and sauce are cooked, add them to the bowl as well and toss to combine.
  10. Top the pasta salad with the leftover parsley, toasted almonds and feta and serve warm.

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