Monday, March 25, 2013

Orzo, Cranberry, and Apple Salad

Secret Recipe Club

I love a good pasta salad, but I am also very picky about my pasta salads.  As a result I don't typically eat other people's salads, nor do I try new recipes.  I stick with what I know and love.  However, this month I stumbled on to this Orzo, Cranberry, and Apple Salad when I was assigned to Life and Kitchen for my Secret Recipe Club blog.

Orzo Salad

Life and Kitchen  is run by Lindsey, a busy mom who enjoys cooking for her family and having fun.  She writes her blog for her daughter and family in a hopes that one day they will understand what day to day life was like growing up in their family.  Lindsey's most current posts don't have meat in them.  In 2012  she gave it up and no longer cooks with meat products.  But, that doesn't mean her recipes aren't super tasty! And, her older recipes do have meat so if that is what you are after you can find it on her blog. 

I searched through her blog and found many recipes I was tempted to make. I narrowed my choices down to Apple Croissant Bread Pudding , Queso Blanco, French Onion Soup , and Orzo, Cranberry, and Apple Salad.  The orzo salad won out because it looked light and refreshing, perfect for the Spring weather we have been having.

Now, like I already said I don't typically stray away from my favorite pasta salad, so this was a big step for me!  The flavors in this salad can't be explained.  The dried cranberries and granny smith apples add a delicious tart bite to the almonds and pasta.  I loved the vinaigrette made with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar too because it soaked into the pasta and created a little morsels of tastiness in each bite.  
Orzo Salad

My family had mixed reviews.  My son would have no part of it.  My husband said it was ok.  My oldest son, daughter, and I decided that we liked it best completely chilled the next day.  Really, it is up to you how to serve it.  We tried it warm, room temperature, and cold.  Cold was my favorite and the way I will eat it in the future.  I did make a few changes.  I used two apples instead of one, two cups of dried cranberries, and one cup of toasted almonds. I also chose to cook my orzo in chicken broth rather than vegetable broth and then added some cut chicken breasts so I could make the salad a main dish for my family.  I hope you ENJOY!

Orzo Salad

Orzo, Cranberry, and Apple Salad
Recipe Source: modified slightly from Life and Kitchen

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound orzo
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 medium green apples, diced into small pieces
2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted*
1-2 chicken breasts, roasted and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the orzo and cook for a few minutes until it is toasted and just light brown in a few spots.  Pour in the broth of your choice and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10-11 minutes.  Strain off any liquid that may be left in the pot.

Put the cooked orzo into a large bowl.  Add the chopped herbs, apples, cranberries, almonds and chicken.  Combine well.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Whisk well to combine all the ingredients.

Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture.  Combine well.  Serve at room temperature, or place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

*To toast almonds, spread the nuts in a single layer in a non-stick pan.  Allow to toast over medium heat, stirring often.  As soon as you can smell the nuts they are probably done.  You are looking for a very light golden color.  You can also toast them on a cookie sheet in an oven set at 350 F.  Keep an eye on them.  As soon as you can smell them, take them out and let them cool. 
Pin It!


  1. Great salad, I love orzo and pairing it with apples for a refreshing meal is a great idea

    Hope you are having a great Reveal Day!

  2. I do like orzo--this looks like a yummy spring salad. Great SRC post!
    As soon as it quits snowing and warms up I will try it!

  3. I don't see maple syrup listed in the dressing ingredients.

    1. Thank you for letting me know! I have added maple syrup to the vinaigrette ingredients. :)

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like it best cold, too!

  5. This sounds like a great, simple salad for the spring and summer. Maybe I'll add it as a side dish for my Easter dinner! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  6. LOVELY looking salad! Great SRC pick, and hello from a fellow group D SRC player! Karen xx

  7. Great combination of flavours in this salad...great SRC pick!

  8. Looks like a nice summer salad! :-)