Saturday, April 24, 2010

Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

I love everything about this salad. It would make a great lunch or dinner and is perfect for this time of year. If you want to use this as more of a main dish, add some grilled chicken. This is a great dish to bring to a party or picnic because it is delicious, simple and looks really pretty too. If you want to make this even more quick and easy, skip making the dressing and use your favorite bottled vinaigrette. This recipe came from All Recipes, one of my favorite websites because everything is rated by people who have actually made and tried the recipes! Speaking of which, if you try a recipe from here (and even if you don't) I would love to see comments from you!

What You Need:
1 cup orzo, uncooked
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
About 3/4 of a 6 oz bag of baby spinach, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
4 oz gorgonzola or feta cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I toast in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1-2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 - 1/2 cup oil (I prefer olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to instructions on package, set aside to cool.

In bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, vinegar, oil and pinches of salt and pepper.

In a large salad bowl combine orzo, almonds, spinach and cranberries. Gently toss ingredients with 1/3-1/2 amount of dressing, add more or less to your liking. I am sort of bad and like extra dressing on my salads. Add cheese and gently toss again. Serve immediately at room temperature or slightly chilled.

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