Orzo: the little pasta that could. Orzo is a short-cut Italian pasta shaped like a large grain of rice. It’s often used in Italian soups (Minestrone! Mmm!), but it’s also a great dish by itself, either as a side or as the main event. You can even bake it into casseroles as a replacement for heavier pastas.

This simple orzo salad is fast, delicious, and perfect for a filling, but light meal. For extra protein or bulk, you can add grilled chicken and other flavor variations, like capers and black olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, or pine nuts.

What You Need:

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  • 6 oz. orzo pasta, cooked and drained
  • 4 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 Tbs. almonds, chopped and roasted
  • ¼ cup julienned radicchio
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish

Dressing:

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. roasted garlic
  • The juice from one lemon

What You Do:

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  1. Add orzo to boiling water for 9-10 minutes (until al dente), drain, and set aside.
  1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  1. Chop almonds and roast on a shallow pan for approximately 10 minutes (until golden).
  1. Chop spinach, tomatoes, bell pepper, and radicchio.

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss.
  1. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  1. Garnish with fresh-shaved Parmesan and cracked black pepper.

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