I could not wait to make this salad. I had visions of a deconstructed Waldorf, you know, with the grapes and cheese and olives and of course, almonds. Only The Nudge told me, quite authoritatively, that a Waldorf has apples and walnuts and no orzo.
Poo-poo on him. OK, let's just call it a reconstructed Waldorf-style Pasta Salad. He certainly did not go poo-poo after tasting this.
I am enamored with the Mediterranean Orzo side the Macaroni Grill serves with most of their main dishes. It gave me a reason to love orzo as a side and not just in soups. Orzo works so well in salads and supplies the chew that can support a crunch, a salty and a sweet mixture of ingredients and, allows them to shine. Some pasta salads are all pasta and can be starchy, sticky and require a ton of dressing to keep it loose. This is light and refreshing and worked well with grilled chicken breasts.
The next day, I chopped the chicken and made a chicken & orzo salad wrap, yummy! I will be making this many times this summer. It would travel well and be a nice surprise treat for picnickers.
Orzo, Grape and Blue Cheese Salad
Makes: 6 servings
* 3/4 cup orzo
* 2 tablespoons EVOO
* 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon honey
* Salt & pepper to taste
* 2 cups quartered green or red grape
* 1 ounce buttermilk blue cheese or, feta cheese
* 2 tablespoons almonds or, walnuts
* 2 tablespoons chopped red onion or shallot
* 2 tablespoons minced Kalamata olives
1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
2. Whisk oil, mayo, lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper. Add the grapes, onion, almonds to the orzo. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine.