With warmer weather here, I tend to lean towards “lighter” dishes. I wanted a little something different the other day for a side dish and noticed I had a full container of orzo in the pantry. One quick click onto foodnetwork.com, and I found this orzo salad by Giada DeLaurentis. The combination of flavors sounded interesting, and since I love both arugula and dried cherries, I thought I’d give it a try. This salad was a huge hit with my family, and MM (Marlboro Man) even said it just might be his new favorite salad! That’s quite an endorsement!
Orzo Salad with Dried Cherries & Arugula
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis
Serves 6 as a side dish
- 1 lb orzo pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and spread onto a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out again, and set aside to cool. (I put mine in the fridge for about 15 minutes).
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.
1. If you’re not a fan of arugula, try baby spinach. You might also try substituting slivered almonds for the pine nuts if desired, as well.