Lighten Up

by jenna on September 14, 2010

I like to use pretty ingredients when I cook.

Fresh figs from the farmer’s market, organic red quinoa, colorful heirloom beans….all very pretty indeed. I threw some roasted brussels sprouts and Parmesan cheese in there as well to come up with this simple dinner last night.


Simple, wholesome and delicious, this dinner was exactly what I needed after two weeks of rich, meat-heavy meals.

What’s your favorite “detox” meal?

You know, the meal you go to after a week of vacation or a rich dinner out? As much as I love (read: love) dining out, there’s always something comforting about returning home to your own kitchen and cooking a light meal for yourself to enjoy.  A few of my other favorite “detox” meals can be found here, here and here.

Also, I may or may not eat a light dinner as an excuse to eat numerous cookies for dessert. Who do you think I am anyway?

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Heather's Dish) September 14, 2010 at 9:36 am

i am in LOVE with these gorgeous ingredients. i love figs but i’ve never tried them with brussels sprouts! it is gorgeous and i’m sure tastes amazing.

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Tabitha (From Single to Married) September 14, 2010 at 9:40 am

I agree – pretty ingredients usually make pretty meals! :)

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hira September 14, 2010 at 9:46 am

andddddd i like to eat lighter dinner to make room for daily gelato. im just saying. we have to do what we have to do.

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Jessica @ How Sweet September 14, 2010 at 9:47 am

Usually something light, like some eggs and kale chips? Or fruit. What can I say? I hate veggies.

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Tina September 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

I’m always all over simple meals. Especially after eating lots of heavy stuff. That looks like a winning combo.

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) September 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

I eat lighter dinners in favor of dessert far too often. I love a good bean salad or veggie hummus wrap. Simple yet satisfying. Then it’s time for SUGAR :)

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Jess (Bmore Balanced) September 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

Figs are one of the prettiest ingredients to cook with, and to photograph ;) but I’ve never actually tried cooking with them myself. I may have to try very soon after seeing your gorgeous meal.

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Maissa September 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

My favorite is a simple veggie stir-fry over quinoa, or a massive mixed green salad topped with whatever veggies are in my fridge. Simple, clean, flavorful, refreshing.

Ps. Those figs look wonderful.

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Caleb September 14, 2010 at 9:53 am

What is the difference in the red quinoa and regular quinoa? Don’t know that I have ever seen the red before.

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Viviane September 14, 2010 at 9:57 am

Favorite detox meal? Lots of veggies, olive oil, beans, whole grains and sea vegetables!

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Jasmine @ Eat Move Write September 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

I love detox meals. It’s weird how good they taste after days/weeks of indulgence. My body craves good, wholesome foods in the same way some people crave pizza and fish sticks. I also crave cookies, though. :p

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Jackie September 14, 2010 at 10:01 am

You’re so lucky you can find figs! I can’t find them where I live anywhere! I’ve never even had a fresh fig, I’ve only had a fig compote at a restaurant in Seattle…Boo.

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Caitlin (EatFeats) September 14, 2010 at 10:02 am

Brussel sprouts are so good. I usually crave broccoli and salad after days or weeks of indulgence.

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Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) September 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

I really to to branch out and try figs… & brussel sprouts…

and I call myself a healthy living blogger ;)

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theemptynutjar September 14, 2010 at 10:04 am

You don’t need a detox. Just keep eating!
And I say eat the big meals ++ the desserts…no need to save up :)

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jenna September 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

ive been craving roasted brussel sprouts like crazy. they are my favorite.

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Angharad September 14, 2010 at 10:19 am

Figs are all over the place right now and such beautiful things to look at! I love brussels sprouts too. It’s not super inspirational but I do love me a big ass salad after a day or week like that. When I got back from a week in Austin (read: at Salt Lick) last year I focused on delicious, fresh, homemade soups. Love the red quinoa!

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Liz September 14, 2010 at 10:20 am

I tried fresh figs recently and I have to say I’m not a fan! They are very pretty though. Soup is a really good detox for me – lots of veggies and a light broth.

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Stacy September 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

My go to detox plan is a Green Monster smoothie chock full of spinach, drink tons of water with lemon, and get in a great sweaty work out.
Those sugar cookies by the way look so yummy! I feel like they always get overshadowed by chocolate chip :)

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Martha W September 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

Your Chicken Enchilada recipe. I guess that’s not a detox food but so much better than a salad to my husband. Would it be possible to post your recipe on my blog when I make it again? I definitely would give you credit and a link to your blog. Thanks

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Shelly September 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

I think my favorite detox meal is something like white beans and Kale, or an omelet with lots of spinach and a little tomato and feta.

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Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete September 14, 2010 at 10:41 am

My favorite detox meal is a variety of different things but it is always colorful!! Most of the time they are salads, but anything with beans or quinoa does the trick too!

I LOVE LOVE red quinoa. I first tried it in Germany, and I have been hooked ever since! They look like little red jewels covering your plate. Beautiful. ;) Sigh…

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) September 14, 2010 at 10:41 am

I love having a big bowl of roasted veggies, a heaping salad or a green smoothie as a “detox” meal!

xo
Kris

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Sarah (Oc2Seattle) September 14, 2010 at 10:46 am

Whole wheat pasta with campari tomatoes and onions is mine (when in season). I’m definitely a fan of the light dinner = more cookies concept ;)

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Coley September 14, 2010 at 11:00 am

Figs have to be one of the prettiest foods!!

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Madeline - Greens and Jeans September 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

I think I am the only person who is weirded out by figs. I love the way they taste but they way they look… not so much

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Franziska (www.justalittlechocolate.com September 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

I always need a couple “detox” meals when returning from vacation. My go-to is usually a salad with mixed greens, loads of veggies and maybe beans or grilled fish. I also love a simple stir-fry with quinoa or brown rice.

The figs are beautiful – I like them wrapped with procuitto ;)

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Kendra September 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

Brussels Sprouts are always part of my detox meals. Normally accompanied by chicken. It’s pretty minimalist.

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Jessie September 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

I used to think that figs were ugly. My grandmother would pick them and then make preserves with them (which I hated, by the way). Now I think they are pretty and am dying to try one and make something tasty.

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf September 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

I love, love, love eating colorful food. More antioxidants, as well! ;)

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Emily September 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

Mmm. After a taco and mac and cheese laden weekend, last night I made a salad with arugala, feta, figs, red onion and garlic/spinach chicken sausage. Delicious, light and easy to throw together after I got home late.

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Stacey September 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

My favorite detox dessert is a big salad loaded with tons and tons of veggies and a boiled egg. After eating so many heavy meals, it feels and tastes light and refreshing :) And of course a detox wouldn’t be a detox without a few cookies here and there ;)

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Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) September 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm

A great soup–either lentil or minestrone (homemade) is one of my favorite ways to detox after a lot of really rich foods.

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Amber K September 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I love a huge salad when I’ve been eating too much junk. It usually contains : romaine, spinach, black beans, sunflower seeds, broccoli, radishes, cucumber, carrots, and my homemade ranch dressing.

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary September 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Dinner looks great Jenna. Keepin it simple is the best sometimes!

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Kate September 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Pretty indeed! Usually I’ll have something like a big salad with lots of raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, etc. when I feel like I need a fresh start after overindulging.

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Sharon September 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Figs are so beautiful-personally I like to have them with a little goat cheese spread on top!
As far as a detox meal, nothing beats a nice big salad. I love to go to WF or Oliver’s market salad bar, and load up on mixed greens, spinach, carrots, beets, chickpeas, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms….maybe a sprinkling of feta, and some sunflower seeds, and then a little balsamic vinaigrette or vegan ceasar salad dressing (love this stuff!!! wish they would bottle it and sell it) Raw, fresh veggies = detox to me.

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Daisy September 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Detox meals! I should get into that.

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Jenny September 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Cookie looks scrumptious!:)

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Scargosun September 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I love a HUGE salad with very fresh greens, balsamic vinaigrette, toasted nuts and dried cranberrries. I feel like all the bad stuff it being pushed aside by greens with superman capes. ;)

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I like a nice, light soup. I usually go for minestrone that is heavy on vegetables and light on pasta. I always feel good after I eat it!

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elyssa September 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

steamed kale makes it into almost all of my ‘detox’ meals in some form :)

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Justine September 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I know it isn’t a ‘meal’ per se, but nothing makes me feel healhtier than a HUGE bowl of blanched broccoli with s&p, and red pepper flakes. I also adore fresh figs! It’s a shame their season is so short!

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Gree September 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My favorite detox meal is a nice big pile of garlicky greens (collards or kale) and some roasted beets with walnuts and goat cheese!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Arent figs just the prettiest!

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Camille September 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm

For me, there is nothing like a salad or a sweet potato to detox after some rich meals!

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eatmovelove September 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

LOL +1 to the cookies!

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Catherine @ Life 2.0 September 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Green Monsters are a must in my detox routine!

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MoniMeals September 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Great meal! Love Figs. :) I think the best way to detox is hydration and greens and fruits, Nothing crazy or strict- just eat lots of veggies and fiber. Water and Lemon juice is great too.

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Marie September 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

My detox meal=avocados! I love them. They make me feel whole again :)

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Krista September 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Totally off topic but will you still be doing the ELR book club? My vote is for “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen or “Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House” by Meghan Daum. Btw, love the new direction of your blog and especially how you’ve blossomed since moving to California. There’s a french expression: “Bien dans sa peau” and you personify this now. Big hugs from northern Canada!

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Paige @Running Around Normal September 14, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Every ingredient in this meal is amazing – but I’ve never thought about combining them! Figs + brussels? Who knew?!

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Laura (Starloz) September 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I’ve gotta say, i’m in love with fresh fruit after a rich delicious meal out. it’s a totally amazing way to end the night.
or i’ll steam veggie & devour those!

figs & brussels sound perfect!

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Natalia @asideofsimple September 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I just made some red quinoa for dinner tonight and I sprinkled some parmesan on top in your honor. Love that stuff!

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Katherine September 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

My favorite light dinner is roasted veggies. Maybe with a little rice. Those figs look amazing. Figs are soooo yummy.

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Karen September 15, 2010 at 5:12 am

I agree with the comment above re. the loss of the ELR book club. If it does not fit into your current blog format (which I love, love, love BTW) it would be great if you could work some book reviews or recommendations into your posts periodically. The list you posted this summer was stellar and propelled me to get back into reading routinely. So, thank you for that! I’d love to hear more thoughts from you, given that you are such an avid reader. (Listing your choices/ratings on Goodreads.com might be an efficient method of offering recommendations to those of us interested.)

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jenna September 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

yes!! I was going to announce that this week–thank you for reminding me :)

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sarah k. @ the pajama chef September 15, 2010 at 6:24 am

i love fresh foods after indulging or vacationing. gimme fruit and veggies please!

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Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) September 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

i love light on dinner, heavy on dessert. life is better that way.

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