Two sisters cooking and creating...and neglecting laundry. Welcome to our slice of the internet!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Asian Orzo Pasta Salad


Orzo pasta is cute and when I use it I feel like I'm really pushing the envelope in the kitchen.

j/k.....it is cute though.

I contributed this salad to my niece, Elle's, 1st birthday bash. You can eat it like a salad with a fork (duh) or you can do like we did last night and serve it in lettuce cups. NIFTY!

1 16 oz pkg orzo pasta
1 heaping cup fresh sugar snap peas, cut into small pieces
1 smallish medium cucumber, chopped finely (or you can use 1 cup drained and chopped water chestnuts)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
3-4 green onions, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 2.25 oz pkg raw cashews, chopped roughly

1 head of iceberg, you will need this if you are serving the salad as lettuce wraps.

Dressing:

1 whole lime
8 Tbs olive oil
8 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs sesame oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs fresh ginger, grated finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped finely

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add orzo pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta in a colander. Pour drained pasta into a large serving bowl and stir a few times with a spoon. This helps the pasta from glueing together. Cover and place in fridge to cool off. In a small skillet, over medium heat toast all cashews for a few minutes. Making sure you keep the nuts moving, so they don't burn. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat when they have changed to a nice golden color. Season with a little salt and turn nuts out onto a plate to cool. Remove the pasta from the fridge and add diced cooked chicken, snap pea pieces, chopped water chestnuts, chopped green onions, and diced bell pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients. Use a spoon or fork to break up any orzo pasta that may have stuck together. Re-cover and refrigerate. Now you need to make the dressing.

Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk rapidly to combine. Take salad from the fridge and pour all the whisked dressing over the top. Toss the salad to coat thoroughly. Cover and place back in fridge to chill. To prep the iceberg lettuce into cups, cut off the stem and cut the head in two. Run cold water over both pieces to wash. Remove any leaves that are wilted or seem unsuitable to serve as a "cup". Remove the Orzo Asian Salad from fridge, mix again and garnish with all the toasted cashews. Serve the bowl of salad along side the lettuce cups and scoop salad into each lettuce cup at will. Refrigerate leftovers.

image by Briana
dressing recipe is from the one, the only- Pioneer Woman!

3 comments:

Haley and Lance (but probably just Haley) said...

Maybe I could plural-marry Jason so that I can score an automatic invite to all your family gatherings. I'm sure Lance wouldn't mind, as long as I bring home the leftovers.

qadesign.jenna said...

oh my gosh you guys. made this yesterday for lunch and am posting it on just cook already today!

DIVINE. i seriously am obsessed with talk chow!!! keep posting!

Briana said...

You are so sweet, Jenna!