Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach, Apples and Cranberries-the Ultimate Fall Salad

Okay, lets start with the simple question – “what is Orzo?” Many of you know that this is a type of pasta. It looks like a rice and acts like a rice, quickly absorbing up liquid. It even has the look and feel of rice but it is a pasta. This is one of my favorite recipes to make.

I have made this salad for my husband, parties, barbeques, social gatherings; you name it. It always receives great reviews. We love the pasta salad and the dressing is amazing! Its simply delicious and it is the perfect salad course or side dish for fall, Thanksgiving or all the upcoming holidays.

I will probably sound crazy, but I can eat this salad non- stop – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can eat orzo hot or cold. It makes a good substitution for risotto rice and vice-versa. It only takes about 8-9 minutes to boil a cup of orzo. While orzo is not typically gluten-free you may be able to find gluten-free varieties in your local grocery store.

Most pasta salads can be easily adjusted to match your taste. You can cook the orzo in chicken broth instead of water for a heartier flavor, add leftover rotisserie chicken or some of your favorite veggies and more.

Adding Feta or goat cheese to this pasta salad would be spectacular.

Making your own salad dressing is super easy and tastes much better than the store ones. You can make it in advance in large quantities and keep it in the fridge for a long period of time. It’s a win-win; trust me.

This Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach, Apples and Cranberries is the Ultimate Fall Salad. You can keep it in the fridge covered for up to 4 days. Actually, it tastes better on the next day because the orzo absorbs all the flavors. After all, everything tastes better on the next day!

You Need:

Orzo Pasta 1 1/2 cups
Apples1 1/2
Spinach5 cups
Fresh Parsley1 tbsp.
Dry Cranberries1/4 cup
Olive Oil2 tbsp.
Salt 1/2 tbsp.

You Need :

For the Dressing:

Apple Cyder Vinegar1/3 cup
Honey4 tbsp.
Olive Oil1/3 cup
Salta pinch
Black Pepperto taste

Start with cooking the orzo Pasta. In heavy large saucepan add water, 1/2 tbsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. of olive oil . Cover the pan, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently (about 7-8 minutes). Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl, and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside.

I like to add the dressing to the orzo pasta while it is still warm. That way it absorbs all the flavors. While you are waiting for the orzo to cool a bit, make your dressing.

Get one mason jar or a bowl, add all the ingredients listed above for the dressing, and mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, and sauté the apples. I like to cut them into small even cubes. Cook them for about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until they get golden brown. Put the cooked apples aside. In the same pan add another spoon of olive oil and sauté the spinach for a minute. Just a quick sauté to soften it a little.

Let the spinach and apples cool down. Add them to the cooked orzo pasta. Add the dry cranberries, chopped parsley and give it a good toss.

Leave it in a fridge for 2 hours and then serve. If you are like me, I can’t always wait and I usually end up eating it right away.

This Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach, Apples and Cranberries is really good when consumed on the next day. To bring it to life add a spoon of olive oil.

Enjoy!

Equipment you may find useful!

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