Monday, August 29, 2011


Green bean quinoa

This past couple of weeks have been, even by my standards, pretty heavy on the meat and wheat-based beverages. We just came back from a weekend in Montréal and between the Blanche de Chamblay, the Fairmont Bagels, and the Schwartz's, the work week dawned with me feeling more than a little sluggish and bloated. At times like these, a brief dietary digression can go a long way to restoring the balance.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about a cleanse. Despite the claims of noted scienticians like, say, Gwyneth Paltrow, I think the whole notion that temporary changes to your diet will have any real effect on the gunk that cleanse proponents say is building up in your body like hair in a drainpipe is, to be blunt, a total crock of shit.

Regardless of how many cheeseburgers or whisky sours you put away over the weekend, if you’re practicing a healthy lifestyle overall with a decent diet and exercise, you’re not going to need to spend a week or two “cleansing” your system. Over the past several millennia, the human body has developed a variety of complex mechanisms for eliminating unpleasant substances from the body that are more than capable of keeping things ship-shape and Bristol fashion. If your body’s regulatory, er, bodies are insufficient, you’ve got problems than cayenne and lemon juice won’t fix.

So no cleanses. I’m talking about a simple temporary dietary course correction, which probably has just the same result as a store-bought cleanse without the hours spent in the bathroom. After my indulgent spell, I found this recipe to be a perfect way of doing penance. And now I'm free to go forth and sin no more (until next time).

Green Beans with Quinoa and Tarragon (adapted from here)

2 cups green beans, trimmed and washed
¾ to 1 cup quinoa
¼ red onion or two small shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup hazelnuts or almonds, chopped
A handful of raisins or dried cranberries
A few crumbles of feta cheese (preferably goat feta)

For dressing:
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp strong mustard
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch sea salt

Toast nuts in a small pan until fragrant and set aside.

Add quinoa to a pot with twice the amount of water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

In another pot, bring a small amount of water to boil below a steamer basket. Add beans and steam for 3-4 minutes until tender crisp. Remove from heat and rinse in cold water

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.

Toss everything together in a large bowl, season with freshly ground pepper and serve.


  1. Cleanses be gone! Totally agree with you.
    And I think green beans are generally highly underrated.

  2. hey! something on your blog i can eat!