Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

A zesty, peppery orzo arugula salad topped with sweet and tangy cranberries, sun-dried red peppers and a homemade lemon basil vinaigrette.

Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette | lifemadesimplebakes.com

The other day while we were grocery shopping my four year old asked me why we stopped buying lettuce! I had a good giggle. The kid LOVES salad. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made salad for our family. With our baby now eating solids I find it so much easier to steam or roast veggies that we can all enjoy, instead of having to make something separate. Salads have definitely taken the back seat and that’s kind of shame.

This salad is perfect for late summer and early fall. It’s got fresh greens and a homemade lemon basil vinaigrette, but also cranberries and toasted almonds. It’s a unique yet flavorful combination that I love. And don’t even get me started on the burrata being all cool over in the corner. Dying that I can’t eat it… don’t worry though, it did not go to waste!

Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Inspired by one of our favorite pizza places in SLC (yes, we do order salad on occasion… I know my husband will be rolling his eyes when he reads this), this dish is easy to make yet so impressive looking. It’d be perfect for dinner club, a busy weeknight meal, or as a holiday side.

The original, authentic recipe includes pine nuts, not almonds. Pine nuts can be pretty expensive AND my husband may or may not be allergic to them. We’d rather not test that one again. It also called for a scoop of ricotta which is probably a lot easier to find in most grocery stores, however, if you can find burrata I highly recommend grabbing some!

What is burrata?

Burrata is a ball of fresh Italian mozzarella cheese. It is filled with rich, thick cream.

It is perfect in salads or with grilled fruit and vegetables. It also tastes amazing with toasted bread and fresh pesto or bruschetta.

Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette | lifemadesimplebakes.com

When making this salad, you’ll want to cook the orzo first. Let it cool and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the greens, chop the ingredients for the dressing, and toast the almonds. Once everything is ready, toss it in a large mixing bowl, then plate on a large serving platter or on individual salad plates. Add the burrata and drizzle with olive oil, add a crack of black pepper and a pinch of flaky sea salt.

Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette | lifemadesimplebakes.com

This salad has so many textures and flavors going on and they all work so well together! It’s a fresh, vibrant salad perfect for those last few days of summer and early fall.

Do you have a favorite salad inspired by a restaurant? Leave a comment below and let me know! I can think of a few that I’ve shared here on the blog: Chicken Gyro Salad | Chicken Ala Mondo Salad | Chicken Ala Mondo Salad


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Orzo Arugula Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

A zesty, peppery orzo arugula salad topped with sweet and tangy cranberries, sun-dried red peppers and a homemade lemon basil vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

For the orzo:

  • 1 c. uncooked orzo
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

For the salad:

  • 5 oz. baby arugula or baby arugula blend, washed and dried
  • 3 tbsp. chopped sun-dried red bell peppers in oil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 balls burrata or 1/3 c. ricotta cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice + 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • half a small shallot
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • pinch ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Set a large saucepan with water over high heat, bring to a boil. Cook orzo according to the package’s instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, then drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine arugula, bell peppers, cranberries, nuts, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients for the dressing, pulse until emulsified.
  4. Add cool orzo to greens. Toss with dressing and plate on a large platter or on individual salad plates. Serve with burrata.

These are the bell peppers I used: https://www.delallo.com/shop/delallo-sweet-tangy-sun-dried-peppers

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