I have been a long time admirer of Heidi, creator of the eversopopular 101cookbooks. I started off my food blog interest, knowing of only two sites, Heidi's being one of them. Her taste in food is similar to mine, so I read (and still read) every post with full attention. I like to cook with whole grains and lots of produce; keeping food fresh and natural, while not compromising flavor. She has been a pioneer of that style in the food blog world, reminding readers that food that is good for you, does not end at steamed vegetables and a dry protein. Heidi is creative, kind, and relatable in the way she presents her recipes. She emphasizes on her site and in her new book Super Natural Every Day, that recipes are there to offer ideas and get you started, but always open for change. The book is full of helpful tips, great recipes, and room for you to make them your own. It is not short of beautiful images and her humble personality is woven through every page.

This recipe caught my eye as I was thinking of something to bring on a picnic with my sister in law and sweet little niece. It travels well and is packed with flavor. I only made a few changes, to avoid yet another trip to the store. I swapped in walnuts for the suggested pine nuts, added chopped cilantro, and tossed in some adzuki beans for a little extra protein. I am going to write Heidi's recipe as given in the book, and you can make your adjustments as you desire.

Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

1 Cup Whole Grain Orzo
5 Cups Raw Broccoli, cut into small florets
2 Cloves of Garlic
2/3 Cup Pinenuts, toasted
1/3 Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice of one Lemon
1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Creme Fraiche
Grated Zest of one Lemon
1 Large Avocado, slicedundefined

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously. Add the orzo and cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
2. In the meantime, cook the broccoli. Bring about a cup of water to a boil in a large pot with a pinch of salt. Stir in the broccoli, put the lid on and cook for one to two minutes, just long enough to take the edge off. Quickly drain the broccoli, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
3. To make the pesto, combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the nuts, parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and pulse in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth.
4. Toss the orzo, remaining cooked broccoli florets, about 2/3 of the pesto and the lemon zest. Taste it and add what you like - more lemon, salt, the rest of the pesto. Fold in the avocado and top with the remaining nuts and a bit of extra parmesan if you prefer.

Reader Comments (69)

Sounds delicious! I like the idea of using broccoli. One of my favor ire veggies for pasta.

Heidi's site was one of the first food blogs I started reading religiously, too. Her first cookbook is possibly one of my most-used, and I'm not even a vegetarian! Beautiful, Sara!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

oooh! something i can make with the broccoli growing in the garden!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Call me dumb but I've never heard of Orzo before - just looked it up now, and this has really piqued my interest. Must see if I can find some around where I live - thanks a lot :)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

I am dying waiting for my copy is this books; seeing so many of her creations sprinkled throughout the blogpshere is making me very antsy. I love the way this looks; and I'm sure it tastes as wonderful as the photos look!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbianca

Heidi's blog was one of my first blogs too! She's so sweet too! Thanks for featuring her new recipe! I'm trying to hold out on buying the book til the book signing, but I just don't know if I can wait!! :)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

I love this. It is a perfect transition food from late winter into spring.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersophistimom

I, too, love Heidi's blog and her cookbooks, in fact I was just led here by her tweet... the curly-Q lemon zest is amazing! This recipe looks equally so - folding in the avocado at the end sounds spectacular with the lemon and the crème fraîche.

beautiful! orzo is one of my fav pasta shapes

What a combo! I love the shot of the curled cheese.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTender B.

Looks so good! What a beautiful dish!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda @zomppa

that photo of the lemon zest is indeed gorgeous! I too, am totally inspired by Heidi! and can't wait for the book to arrive ;)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotteAuChocolat

Yum! I am totally gonna make this. It looks divine.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Franzen

Sara, your version is just stunning. Thanks again for the nice words. I hope there's a point in the near future when we can actually share some time in the kitchen together.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

I can't wait to get my copy. I pre-ordered, but it didn't arrive:( Soon I hope!!!!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally Mae

One of the best (albeit indoor) picnics I've ever been to!! :)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMollie

I've never seen such beautiful lemon zest.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise | Chez Danisse

Heidi's site is also the first blog I started reading regularly. Can't wait to get her new book. I really like the tweaks you made to this recipe.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

Funny thing is I admire you and Heidi both so much. She is wonderful fresh and beautiful, I am sure your book will be a gem as well.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Can't wait to try this. This looks so refreshing and light.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeide M.

mmm i love broccoli pesto! this looks like a delicious dish :)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

and if you've ever met her, she is one of the kindest, most modest people i have ever had in company. i admire her through and through.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

This looks delicious. I can't have orzo (gluten), but I'll bet you it would be awesome with quinoa as well. Thanks for the inspiration! By the way, I LOVE that picture of the lemon zest. :)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpicy Bohemian

I can't wait to get Heidi's book, I love her recipes and her food philosophy! In the meanwhile, I might try this recipe, it sounds so delicious! :-)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria @ Scandifoodie

I received my copy of her latest book earlier this week, and this was the first thing I made. It was SO good! Loved it! I'll have to try your variation as well! Cheers! :)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey Joy

This does sound wonderful, like the perfect lunch. I like adzuki beans, so I think that was a good addition.


April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSense of Home

Oh yum!! I love Heidi's site. Funny because I just made a pasta & veggie dish last night. I must try this!! I have orzo waiting in my cupboard. Your blog has been to me what Heidi's has been to you :) Hope all is going well with the progress of your book!!

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYumi @ Natsukashii

I'm so very glad that my copy of this book came in yesterday because I plan on making a ton of stuff from it this weekend. Isn't it beautiful?

This recipe, along with most of the ones in her book, really resonated with me. They're exactly the kinds of dishes I love to prepare.

mmmm, i remember heidi's original post, and how quickly it slipped my mind. we used to enjoy a salad similar to this, with the addition of green peas and tiny cubes of feta. SO good!

thanks for the reminder!

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermolly

Sounds indeed like the perfect picnic salad! Will try it out... :)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene

I'm loving broccoli at the moment - so tasty and good for you!

I've been thinking about this recipe since I saw it this morning and I made it when I got home - delicious! I used Heidi's recipe, but I subbed farro, added roasted potatoes, and made the pesto with carrot tops. Its great, thanks for sharing!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterallie

We have been devouring your recipes...thanks so much! Huge fan of Heidi as well but am loving the additions you made, adzuki beans, yum. We will try this one as well!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jo

=We have been devouring your recipes...thanks so much! Big fan of Heidi as well but am loving your additions, adzuki beans, yum. We'll be trying this one as well!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

It has "pesto" in the name but there's no basil in the recipe?

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

@Lori - it's referred to as 'broccoli pesto', as it has the same ingredients as pesto (pine nuts, parm, olive oil and garlic) , except in this case, the basil is replaced by the broccoli. Make sense? I'm sure you could throw basil in there too and it would still be great.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I think I'll try this tonight. It sounds so yummy!

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterohbabydotcom

I agree, 101 cookbooks is a wonderful place to find recipes for everyday. This one looks fabulous, I love orzo and all the other ingredients in here. What a wonderful idea for a picnic!

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhealthy mamma

now there is a recipe to try!!

Sara, I just found your website and I'm absolutely enthralled, I can't stop reading and looking. Hugh's photographs are breathtaking and your recipes are so creative and delicious-sounding and beautiful. I would describe myself as an "advanced beginner" in the kitchen. I've watched a few (ok quite a few) food network shows and I love trying new things but for the most part stay in my comfort zone. I try very hard to cook healthy for myself and my husband (we're both marathon runners and very health conscious) but I know I don't use enough good ingredients. Hopefully I'll be able to use some of your recipes to learn and grow in my cooking. I usually shop at a "regular" grocery store that as an adequate but not great produce section, but I'm vowing to go to our local farmers market now. Thanks for your inspiration and sorry for the long post! I know that I'll be buying your book the day it's released!

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Love the sound of broccoli pesto! So beautiful with those lemon shavings on top. Heidi's recipes are great. I can't wait to pick up her book!

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I'm a fan of Heidi's blog too. This recipe sounds delish--broccoli pesto? Who knew?With creme fraiche, lemon and then add avocado? Unctuous. What a nice tribute to a friend.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPennie

I was looking for a recipe that I can make in my copper risotto pot that isn't risotto.. I think this will do it!

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLEAH

Orzo and broccoli pesto salad sounds fantastic! And you have such wonderful photos - I love hanging around here.

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Yum, Yum Yum!! just made your brown rice crispie treats today. My boys enjoyed them immensely.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherilyn Palmer

Oh my! This looks insanely delicious! Bookmarked to make!

Mary xo" rel="nofollow">Delightful Bitefuls

This sounds like a beautiful and simple dish! It's definitely bright and colorful too!

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

that looks divine, I am salivating and starving haha

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Franzen

My first blog was Orangette and it was through Molly that I found Heidi. Sara I think Molly even lead me to you. Either way, I love you three ladies and your unique styles. Can't wait to try this and get Heidi's book. I feel left out. Everyone and their mother owns her new book.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

[...] Orzo Broccoli Pesto Salad – Sprouted Kitchen [...]

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