Sunday, May 6, 2012

southwestern orzo salad with chili-lime vinaigrette

Have you eaten something at a restaurant that you just loved and couldn’t stop thinking about it for days? That’s just what I did. I previously blogged about my day at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu. While there, I had lunch and ordered a prosciutto sandwich; on the side I was served a delicious and refreshing orzo salad. My daughter ordered sweet potato fries with her sandwich but we both fought over my orzo salad.

This is about as close as I can come to that orzo salad. I am so pleased with the results and will cook it many more times to come. Chili powder is called out in the vinaigrette. Don’t let it scare you, once it is all tossed together, the salad becomes packed with flavor, not spicy. Try serving this salad with grilled chicken breast for a complete and light meal. The array of colors and textures in this salad will create a fiesta in your mouth.

Our yard has several lemon and lime trees.  I look for every opportunity to use them, which is why this recipe is perfect.  Fresh lemon and limes are used in the vinaigrette.

The beautiful Calamigos Ranch is located in Malibu.  Who knew that such amazing, rustic country land existed in a beach city?   This place is perfect for weddings.  Actually, my hubby's friend proposed to his girlfriend of 21 years (not a typo) last night...we were there! I caught the moment on my iPhone and posted it on Instagram.  Can you see the Instagram picture on the right had side of my blog?   Hmmm...maybe I will suggest Calamigos Ranch for their wedding.

southwestern orzo salad with chili-lime vinaigrette
Adapted from At Blanchard’s Table: A trip to the beach

For the salad:
2 cups orzo pasta
1 cup can corn nibblets, drained
1 cup can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
½ cup feta, crumbled
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the chili-lime vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil ( I use light olive oil)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime peel
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add orzo pasta and cook 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well again and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime peel and juice, lemon juice, chili powder and salt.

To assemble:

Toss the dressing with the orzo. Add the corn, beans, tomatoes, feta, and cilantro, and toss gently to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.


  1. This does look like an amazing salad. I am partial to all things southwestern so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me. Love the vinaigrette especially-yum! You are lucky to have lemon and lime trees at your place.
    Also thanks for sharing the info and pictures of the ranch- it does look like a great place!

  2. I'm in love with this salad! I'm always looking for interesting and delicious salads to take to work with me and this looks perfect! Love how fresh the vinaigrette sounds too :)

  3. Thanks Dori for this delicious and refreshing recipe. Your chili-lime vinaigrette sounds zippy so have to try it soon. We love Malibu too and come down from Santa Barbara as often as we can. Have a wonderful Mother's Day!
    CHeers :)
    J & C



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