Here’s a twist on pasta salad that’ll be a highlight to any meal. It’s based on whole-wheat orzo and fresh baby arugula and provides a memorable balance of flavors, textures, and colors, along with a naturally sweet pop of California prunes. (Hint: Prunes offer potential bone health benefits!) Altogether, this salad is a delightful way to get fruits and veggies. In fact, it’s vegan—so enjoy it for Meatless Monday and beyond!
Disclosure: (At time of posting) Jackie is a spokesperson for California Prune Board. She created this recipe on their behalf. The recipe is her original creation and is also available at californiadriedplums.org.
orzo & arugula salad with california prunes
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: 1 1/3 cups
- 1 1/3 cups whole-wheat orzo (8 ounces)
- Juice and zest of 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons juice)
- Juice and zest of 1 lime (2 tablespoons juice)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup California prunes, finely diced
- 5 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup shelled roasted, salted pistachios
- 4 cups packed baby arugula (4 ounces)
- Cook the orzo according to package directions.
- While orzo is cooking, whisk together in a large bowl the lemon and lime juices, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper.
- Drain the orzo. Add the hot, drained orzo and diced prunes to the citrus vinaigrette in the large bowl and stir to fully coat. Set aside to slightly cool, then chill the orzo mixture.
- When ready to serve, stir in the scallions, mint, pistachios, desired amount of the lime and lemon zest (about 1 teaspoon each), and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Then stir in the arugula until well combined, and serve.
Per serving: 330 calories, 12g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 54g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 13g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 9g protein
The “Before” Version
compare to pepperoni pasta salad
- Go for whole grain goodness by choosing a whole grain pasta, such as whole wheat orzo
- For intrigue, choose fruity over cheesy, such as California prunes in lieu of cheddar
- Change up veggies with the season, such as opting for arugula and mint instead of cucumber and tomato—go heavy on veggies to punch up nutrient-richness, too
- For a salty element, sprinkle on salted pistachios in place of pepperoni
- Do a DIY fresh citrusy vinaigrette instead of using a not-so-fresh bottled salad dressing