Orzo Roasted Vegetable Salad and Overwhelming Nutrition Concerns?

Hi everyone. I was thinking about how overwhelming it is to cook healthy meals for ourselves and our families when there is so much conflicting research out there regarding what the best diet is for our health. Are we doing what’s best? Must we buy organic? Should we eat fats, carbs, only juice, raw food or unpasteurized milk, etc.?

It’s a LOT to think about and if we are non-cooks or novice cooks, we may have neither the time nor the inclination to bother with researching. Instead of investigating what is best nutritionally, we may take the easy way out and buy what many of us believe to be healthy prepared foods. We also may be winging it with basic ingredients and preparation but with bland, unsatisfying process and results.

One reader from Minnesota commented:
“I think it is interesting how sensitive the whole debate is becoming about what constitutes a “healthy” diet. Like religion and abortion, I rarely share my opinions anymore because I don’t want to get into it with someone as convinced as I am that they are right.

That being said, and since you brought it up 🙂 I am intrigued by the latest nutrition research coming out which calls into question much of our preconceived ideas about what a healthy diet looks like. I encourage you to check out this article and see what you think: http://www.dlife.com/dLife/do/ShowContent/food_and_nutrition/what_if_saturated_fat_not_problem.html

Also, for anyone trying to lose weight, do a search on the recently released study done by Stanford University that compares 4popular diets. The results confirm my experience (-60 lbs). So… don’t hold back Alma baby, please, bring on the cheese! (and the eggs, steak, pork, cream…) 🙂

My feeling is that we try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish and moderate amounts of meat. If we focus on these and eat the junk sparingly, we can have a balanced life both emotionally and physically. Let’s not dwell on the food fears, but try to eat locally and think globally, to quote a cliche. Please don’t let your food concerns be a deterrent to cooking. It is always better to make homemade meals.

Here’s another great recipe from a friend that can be made in bulk for BBQs, potlucks, brunches or dinner. I made a rookie error by adding the dressing too soon before serving-add it right before serving so the salad doesn’t dry out. Enjoy!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1″ diced
1 yellow pepper, 1″ diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1″diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 pound orzo

For the dressing:
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, minced
1/4 c. pine nuts
3/4 pound feta (diced) (I only use 1/4 lb-feta is powerful)
15 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Preheat oven to 425 degreesF.

Toss the vegetables with olive oil and roast for 40 minutes, turning once.

Cook orzo in boiling salted water for 7 – 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add vegetables.

For the dressing combine the lemon juice, olive oil salt and pepper and pour over the pasta and vegetables. Then add scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Serve at room temperature.

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