Spinach and Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

Spinach and Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

I’m in love with this salad.  Actually, I started out being in love with Jamie’s Spinach Salad recipe that I found on allrecipes.com, but after making it 3 or 4 times I wanted to turn into something a little more.  The kids and I were heading over to a friend’s house for a playdate with their classmates and their mommies and I wanted to bring over something healthy and yummy for the mommies to munch on for lunch.  I love using orzo in pasta salads, especially whole wheat orzo.  It has a nice punch of protein (7g) and fiber (9g) already in the pasta and turns the salad into more of a meal in itself.

The recipe for the dressing makes a good amount, so I’ve been actually keeping it in the fridge to dress pretty much anything and everything from leftover black beans and quinoa to a Spicy Slaw Salad that I’ll be posting later this week.  Enjoy!

Spinach and Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

Spinach and Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com


(Printable Recipe)

1 cup whole wheat orzo, uncooked
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
about 3/4 of a 6 oz bag of baby spinach, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
4 oz gorgonzola, crumbled
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I toast in a nonstick skillet over med heat for about 5 minutes)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1-2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 – 1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed oil, but canola or light olive oil will work)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to instructions on package, set aside to cool.

In bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, vinegar, oil and pinches of salt and pepper.

In a large salad bowl combine orzo, almonds, spinach and cranberries. Gently toss ingredients with 1/3-1/2 amount of dressing, add more or less to your liking. I don’t like my salad overdressed. Add gorgonzola and gently toss again. Serve immediately at room temperature or slightly chilled.

   

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26 Responses to “Spinach and Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Almonds”

  1. Erica posted January 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    YUM! I bet the moms were loving this. Love the addition of the gorgonzola. Perfection :)

  2. HoneyB posted January 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Aggie, you are the one who finally convinced me to try orzo! This salad looks yummy!

  3. Amy from She Wears Many Hats posted January 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    This looks good. I was actually trying to decide what to put with my spinach salad other than the regular bacon or boiled eggs. Perfect combo.

  4. Betsy posted January 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    It was good…everything about it. Thanks Aggie!

  5. Bob posted January 24, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I’ve been wicked bad and haven’t been eating salads much lately. That looks really good to me right now! Heh.

  6. April Marie (so spiffy) posted January 24, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Now this is what I call a salad Aggie = ) How have you been? Were your holidays smashing?

  7. Julie posted January 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Beautiful salad! I’ll bet it’s loaded with flavor!

  8. patsy posted January 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

    What a refreshing salad! I need to try adding orzo to my salads like this… what a great idea!

  9. bellini valli posted January 25, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I do love jamies’s Spinach Salad amd make it with bacon, feta or sometimes blue cheese so adding orzo would be a natural.

  10. Maria posted January 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I make a similar salad. Your photos keep getting better and better! Nice work:)

  11. teresa posted January 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    bookmarked! this looks fabulous!

  12. Duchess of Fork posted January 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This looks amazing, Aggie! I’d probably substitute feta for gorgonzola, though. Might have to add this to a menu in the near future!

  13. Jessie posted January 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    i truly love orzo pasta! this is such a great salad very light yet tasty

  14. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen posted January 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Aggie! I am so loving your salads lately! YUM

  15. Natalie (The Sweets Life) posted January 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    This looks AWESOME. bookmarking it and trying it soon!

  16. Leslie posted January 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    ohhh girl…you are rockin that ego light!!!

  17. Jamie posted January 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Aggie,
    I need to make that Jamie’s Spinach salad (since it does have my namesake) and I also need to try your version. Your salad looks so delish, flavorful and healthy. Everything a salad should be.

  18. Diana @ frontyardfoodie posted January 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Wow, that’s beautiful. I love anything with orzo. I don’t know why but that the texture is so smooth that you can’t go wrong.

  19. eatingRD posted January 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    That looks delicious and fresh! I love salads like that because there are so many possibilities for ingredients too :) Love the light, must try that out soon. I may try to make my own, but we’ll see how that goes lol

  20. Kiki posted June 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    This was delicious! I will definitely be back to try some more of your recipes!!

  21. Jacob posted January 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    One idea I had for salads with a cranberry theme was to add cranberry powder (or dried cranberries sent through a blender) to a vinagrette. This way there is a more prominent cranberry theme great for the summer time.

    It may be too strong for some but its worth a try.

  22. Daniela posted November 24, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Made this for our thanksgiving salad- It was a hit!!
    I changed a few things to tweak to our tastes:
    Slivers of Parmesan
    1/4 cup of lemon olive oil
    Apple cider vinegar
    lots of salt
    2 tablespoons of sugar
    (no poppyseeds)
    Added sliced cucumbers and tiny sunburst tomatoes (like cherry but sweeter and smaller)
    Def used the cranberries and almonds and spinach base.

    Everyone loved it!
    Thanks and by the way I found this recipe on Gojee.com ( who scours the internet for the best recipe’s on earth!)

    • Aggies Kitchen posted November 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Yay! Sounds like an absolutely wonderful version of the salad, thanks so much for letting me know! And I love Gojee :)

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