spring vegetable orzo salad with tahini & sumac dressing

The 'Explore' page on Instagram has lead me down some interesting paths in the past: the insanely positive, exclamation point-heavy world of high school cheerleaders in former Confederate states; exuberant displays of wealth from men with pet cheetahs; dozens of feeds dedicated to increasingly intricate nail art...

But none seem to have the temporarily motivation as the bevy of food-and-fitness devotees. A complex world of squats and fruit and hundreds of reminders to Drink! More! Water! I will occasionally loose myself in a k-hole of these detox-tea-shilling accounts, suddenly deciding that yes! I will start tomorrow with a kale smoothie! But then tomorrow comes and I glance forlornly at my blender, and wouldn't you know it, toasting a bagel sounds far more appealing.

Sometimes it's best to throw away the insipid #eatclean aphorisms, and just... #eat.

#eat a bagel when you want.

#eat some chocolate when you want.

But also #eat your veggies!

Any so I've found myself coming back to this salad time and time again this spring, when my body is craving something fresh and raw and delicious. It is beautifully crunchy, flavourful, and filling. Orzo adds some body to the salad, and tahini gives it a nuttiness that takes the salad from okay to great. The salad is hearty enough to be dressed and kept in the fridge ahead of time, and lasts for a few days (hello, office lunches!) Although I sometimes add shredded chicken to the mix (and I encourage you to as well, if you want), as it appears here it is a vegan dish, and one that is perfect for a picnic: no creamy dressing to spoil or lettuce to wilt here!

So go forth and #eat it!

orzo and spring vegetable salad with tahini & sumac dressing

 
 

salad

1 cup orzo
6-7 stalks of celery, and as many celery leaves as your bunch provides
2 green onions, white and light greens parts only
1/4 fennel bulb
6-7 radishes
4-5 brussels sprouts
1 1/2 tbsp chopped dill
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

The body of the salad is infinitely adaptable. Don't have fennel? Throw in some shaved asparagus! Don't like brussels sprouts? That's crazy, but I grudging respect your life choices, so grate in some carrots! Don't have any dill or oregano on-hand? That's fine! Basil, mint, and chives would all be wonderful additions.

dressing

2 tbsp tahini
6-8 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey (or maple syrup, if you want to keep the dish strictly vegan)
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt &freshly-ground pepper, to taste

ย 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until al-dente, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Drain, toss with olive oil (don't forget this step, lest you be left with a hardened block of orzo!), and lay out on a large plate or sheet pan to cool.

While the orzo cools, finely chop the celery and green onions into a large bowl. Using a mandolin, or otherwise finely slicing with a very sharp blade (either way, watch those fingers!), add the fennel, radishes and brussels sprouts. Finally, mix in the herbs.

In another bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined.

 
 

Add cooled orzo and dressing to the veggies, and toss everything together, and #eat to your heart's content!