April 9, 2010
I’m not too fond of detox diets and cleanses. Strike that. I scorn detox diets and cleanses. At least those which require days of lemon water, vegetable broth and carrot sticks or special potions consisting of maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I get crabby just thinking about not eating real food. It kind of makes me want a cheeseburger. So without getting too heated about it here (I love a juicy fad diet debate) I’ll politely tell you to blow off those detox diet claims and click past the “healthy” cleanse formula infomercials. I guarantee that bikini-clad spokes-model would not have the energy to happily prance down the beach on a diet of water and acai berry extract. I’m just sayin’.
Anyways, should you come to me looking for advice about a detox diet I will gladly give you the run down. Eat real food – good food, drink plenty of water and move your body. Groundbreaking, isn’t it? Detox can be healthy if it means you’re filling up on whole foods and abstaining from the white stuff (I’m talking sugar and white flour) and alcohol. I’ll be honest, following this past holiday weekend I was in need of a “detox”. I had my fill of Cadbury Cream Eggs (oh yes, the dietitian did just say she eats these), ham, scalloped potatoes and vino. My body was craving green. My body demanded broccolini.
Oooh, do I love this salad! It sort of makes me want to twirl around on an Austrian hilltop singing The Hills Are Alive. If that isn’t proof of an effective detox, I don’t know what is. Nutty whole wheat orzo, crisp-tender and slightly charred vegetables, bright lemon parsley vinaigrette. Just looking at it makes me feel like myself again. Adios, sugar coma.
If you’ve never tried whole wheat orzo, do! I much prefer it to regular (white) orzo and I’m not just saying that because it’s my job to promote whole grains. If you can’t find broccolini, substitute asparagus or more green beans.
Any semi-soft cheese would work here, though feta tends to be my go-to. The saltiness pairs really well with the bright tang of the vinaigrette.
Orzo with Roasted Broccolini and Parsley Vinaigrette
- 1 cup whole wheat orzo
- 1/2 lb broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper
- feta cheese
- 1 cup lightly packed flat leaf parsley
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add 1 tsp kosher salt and orzo and cook until al dente according to package directions (about 8 minutes). Drain pasta and set aside.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccolini and green beans together with some olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp tender.
Prepare the dressing: In a food processor or blender, combine the parsley through black pepper and pulse to combine. With motor running, stream in olive oil.
In a large bowl, toss together the cooked orzo, roasted vegetables and vinaigrette. Check for seasonings and serve topped with feta cheese.