A crunchy, light twist on orzo salad - this Coleslaw Orzo Salad is made with a light and tasty citrusy dressing, toasted almonds for crunch, and dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness. Take a moment to read the notes below the recipe for tips on customizing the dressing to your liking!
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Servings: 4large servings, or 8 smaller snack servings
Cook 1 cup of orzo according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cool water to cool the orzo completely.
While the orzo is cooking, prepare the dressing: In a large bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper, if desired.
Add the coleslaw to the dressing and mix. Let sit while the orzo finishes cooking.
Dice the scallions. Toast the almonds in a large dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown, stirring frequently.
Add the cooked, drained orzo to the large bowl with the coleslaw and dressing. Add the diced scallions, toasted almonds, and dried cranberries. Stir, and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with additional scallions, toasted almonds, and dried cranberries. Serve chilled or room temperature.
This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to two days. A couple of people commented that this salad is a little bland (while many love it like this). Everyone's tastes are different, so if you make it and it tastes bland, try adding an extra splash of vinegar, a pinch of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and/or red pepper flakes. You can essentially double all the dressing ingredients except for the orange juice to intensify the flavor.Try these variations for this salad:
Use cooked brown rice instead of orzo
Use whole wheat orzo or other pasta
Try toasted cashews instead of almonds
Use sesame oil instead of olive oil in the dressing
Add a squeeze of lime juice to the dressing
Use 2 teaspoons of honey instead of sugar in the dressing
Use purple cabbage slaw for an extra boost of antioxidants
Add cooked chicken, chickpeas, or tuna for a protein boost and to make this a more filling lunch or dinner salad