My lower belly has always been problematic for me, ya know that problem area most women face that I once discussed.
For the longest time, I figured I just had to workout harder to get rid of my stubborn belly fat, no matter how much I would work out and eat right, my tummy just never seemed to go down to a size that was acceptable to me.
So what did I do? In addition to working out, I tried giving up nut butter, I also tried going gluten-free and low-carb. Although limiting my gluten intake definitely did help me reduce belly bloat, it alone wasn't enough. I saw real results when I finally cut down on dairy. Yup!!!
Ladies, hear me out. I can't tell you how many times I've heard friends and health food bloggers talk about dairy causing weight gain, I just never thought it would affect me too.
In the past month, I experimented and minimized the amount of dairy I consumed, and my stomach reduced to half its size, especially when combined with a gluten-free diet. Crazy right?!?!? I know!!!
While I can't give up dairy for good because I need the calcium and also love cheese, I do plan on reducing my dairy intake and learning to adapt to a more dairy-free lifestyle. So far it's been okay.
And with that, I bring you a Mediterranean Orzo Salad that is dairy-free, almost vegan, healthy, and 100% whole wheat. Who says you need dairy to eat delicious food? Hope you guys try it.
Mediterranean Orzo SaladDairy-free
for the orzo pasta
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- ¾ cup red onion chopped
- 1 cup cucumber chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives sliced in half
- 1 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
- add lemon vinaigrette see recipe below
- 1 cup chickpeas, canned rinsed & drained
- 1 large avocado diced
- 3 tablespoon capers
- large handful fresh parsley chopped
- sprinkle dried oregano
- sprinkle crushed red pepper
for the dressing
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey for vegan option, use brown sugar or maple syrup
- to taste salt
- to taste black pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil - roughly 8 cups.
- Here are the ingredients you need for this recipe.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and kalamata olives. Place the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Check on the pot of boiling water.
- Now add 1 cup of uncooked orzo pasta - I used whole wheat. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until al dente.
- In the meantime, make the vinaigrette. Place the ingredients in a mason jar.
- Shake it up well for about 10 seconds.
- Gather the remaining ingredients... chickpeas, avocado, capers and parsley.
- The orzo pasta should be done. Add the hot orzo pasta to the big bowl of veggies.
- Top with lemon vinaigrette.
- Add the remaining ingredients... chickpeas, avocado, capers and chopped parsley.
- Now toss. Allow the flavors to marry together for 15 minutes before serving. So good!
** for a gluten free option - use orzo pasta that is gluten-free.
*** for a traditional Mediterranean Orzo Salad, if you can handle dairy, feel free to add some feta cheese to this salad - it would be delicious.
**** for vegan option - skip the honey and opt for brown sugar or maple syrup.