Asian Orzo Salad

This is supposed to be served hot, but I actually served it cold on Shabbes, and it was fantastic. I also made it parve by using cubes of tofu rather than chicken, but really you could use anything.

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad,
courtesy of Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network (YES! She made something without pork!)

1 (9-ounce) package frozen sugar snap peas
1 bunch asparagus, cooked until just tender, cooled and diced (my addition)
1 (16-ounce) package orzo, cooked and drained
1 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup baby corn, cut into cute flower slices (my addition)
3 cups diced cooked chicken or cubed tofu
3 green onions, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 lb. shitake mushrooms, cooked until tender and sliced in half (my addition)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce (I actually added more like 2-3 tablespoons)
1 (2-ounce) package slivered almonds, toasted (1/2 cup)

Cook sugar snap peas according to package directions; drain well.

In a large bowl, combine sugar snap peas, asparagus, orzo, water chestnuts, baby corn, chicken or tofu, green onion, mushrooms and red bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Pour over orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Stir in toasted almonds. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Just as a note, I made a extra dressing and served it on the side in case someone wanted more. I also added a touch of honey, as we like sweeter dressings in the EK house.

This serves a huge amount of people as a salad, and if you add a lot of chicken or tofu, probably serves at least 6 as a main course – probably even 8. This is a great vegetarian alternative when you have people who don’t eat meat for shabbat. My veggie sister-in-law loved the break from portobello mushrooms! I also took this dish to a picnic (no mayo, so no worries about spoilage), and this is a really inexpensive, healthy dish. My kids LOVED it. If anyone makes it, let us folks at the diner know! We’d love to hear how it came out!

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3 Responses to “Asian Orzo Salad”

  1. Ezer K'negdo Says:

    Excellent modifications! I often make this salad with tofu, rather than chicken. I also use much less oil. I’ll have to try it with peanuts!

  2. elf Says:

    Oh, yeah: I also replaced the almonds with dry-roasted peanuts, because I have an almond allergy. They gave the dish a nice crunch and the flavors went together very well.

  3. elf Says:

    A friend moved out of town recently and left me the contents of his pantry including a package of orzo, so I decided to try the vegetarian version of this recipe for a Friday night potluck. I was surprised at how tasty it was and how little time it took to make. I was especially surprised at how good the frozen snap peas were. (I had been hoping to get fresh ones, but no luck.)

    I couldn’t find kosher hoisin sauce, so I used 2 tbs teriyaki sauce plus 1 tbs sesame oil and a dash of hot sauce. The sauce came out well, but next time I will probably use less vegetable oil and more of everything else (except the vinegar, which was about right). I may also try using tricolor orzo.

    Thanks for the great idea!

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