Health Food [orzo with roasted vegetables]

I don’t believe in health food.  That whole low-sugar, low-fat, low-carb thing is lost on me.  I don’t believe in cutting anything out of your diet completely.  You know that, though.  Because you have, no doubt, read about my 36-ish hour attempt to give up sugar.

But I do believe in eating a lot of fruits and veggies and a comparably little amount of brownies and cupcakes.

I am telling you this not so much for you, but for me.  I’m in the midst of what are, traditionally, the two busiest weeks of the year at work, and have I ever told you I’m a stress eater?

Big time!

So this is my attempt to get myself back on track.  To make time to cook the kinds of foods I should be eating, instead of the kind of foods I crave this time of year.

Ina’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables is possibly the most wonderful lunch salad ever thought up.  It’s chock-full of veggies, and I’ve even been known to dial back the pasta on occasion (yes, that comes from the queen of pasta) to get more bang for my veggie buck.  This is perfect for those dog days of summer trips to the farmer’s market as you can swap whatever is in season in and out of the recipe.  Although, as always, Ina’s can’t be beat.

You will need:

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced (A secret?  I don’t peel it, and neither did the folks who took the picture on the Food Network website!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

While the veggies are roasting, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

2 thoughts on “Health Food [orzo with roasted vegetables]

  1. Pingback: Orzo 2.0 | a glass of milk

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