February 22, 2012

Your New "Junk" Food, Day 2: Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Since we're on this "new junk food" kick this week, I decided to make a classic Mac & Cheese dinner healthy and plant-based.  Something familiar, tasty and of course plant-based/whole foods is exactly what I got.  

Cheesy Broccoli Orzo!  

I'd compare it those Lipton rice meals... except instead of Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Chicken Fat, Corn Syrup, Cream Cheese, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Chicken (Dried), Sodium Caseinate, and Disodium Inosinate Guanylate.....it has some almond milk, nutritional yeast (see benefits in this post), a bit of whole grain flour, and a touch of olive oil.  

Yeah that sounds better to me too.  

Delicious, kid-friendly and nutritious - with a ton of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and fiber, with the broccoli, the vitamins and minerals with the nutritional yeast, protein with the almond milk, and only 2 tbsp of fat (with the olive oil and Earth Balance) in the entire dish, this ain't your typical Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  It's better tasting and needless to say, about a million times better for you.

And to top it all off... it was quick AND easy!  Perfect for busy moms with picky kids. It will be on the table in less than 30 minutes and only has 5 grams of fat and is packed with over 11 grams of the all-important fiber per serving.

You could add any variety of veggies to this that you'd like - peas, spinach, etc.  You're only limited by your imagination!

The cheesy sauce would also be great over rice.... or cardboard for that matter.

Love & Kale,



Cheesy Broccoli Orzo
Yield:  4 servings and lots of leftovers.
Print here.

  • 2 cups of Whole Wheat Orzo
  • 1-2 Heads of Broccoli (I used fresh, but this can easily be made with a bag of frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond milk
  • 2 tbsp of unbleached all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of black pepper


  1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.  Chop broccoli and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until tender.  Fish out the broccoli and set aside.
  2. Now pour the orzo into the same pot and cook for 10-12 minutes (I like mine a little Al dente).
  3. While Orzo is cooking, prepare cheese sauce. In a blender (not a food processor... I learned this the hard way) blend olive oil, vegan butter, almond milk, flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and nutritional yeast until smooth.
  4. After the Orzo is finished cooking, drain it and place it back into the pot on the stove.  Turn the heat down to low and add the cheese mixture in with the orzo and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, add broccoli and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Chop your broccoli

Boil for a couple minutes

Set broccoli aside 

Add orzo to the boiling water

Ingredients for the cheeze sauce

Finished cheeze sauce

Adding cheeze sauce to the orzo

Toss in the broccoli and it's done!


  1. And where do I buy nutritional yeast??

    1. Jami, you can find nutritional yeast at Health Foods Unlimited, by the mall. It's very reasonably priced there, about $3 for a big bag that will last you months.

      I've also seen it in a smaller container in the health food section at Kroger, but MUCH higher priced. Hope that helps! :)