Orzo, the rice-shaped pasta, is a great base for a side dish because it can be mixed with an endless variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and just about any salad dressing. Here I add dried plums, slivered almonds, and scallions and dress with a refreshing orange vinaigrette . Don't have plums? You can use any dried fruit. Don't have almonds? Use another type of nut. Endless possibilities!
Orzo with Dried Plums and Almonds
1 cup orzo (whole grain variety preferred such as whole wheat or brown rice orzo)
1/3 cup dried plums, chopped into bite-size pieces (or any dried fruit)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 scallion, sliced thin on the diagonal
For the Orange Vinaigrette :
(Makes 1 cup - you will use only 1/2 cup in this recipe)
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 orange, peeled
2 tablespoons roughly chopped red onion
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Spread the slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a 350° oven for 4 minutes.
In a high powered blender, blend the dressing ingredients until smooth.
In a bowl toss the orzo with 1/2 cup of the dressing and stir in the plums, almonds, and the scallion slices. Serve at room temperature.
*This dressing keeps for several days and goes well with any salad.