Cauliflower Pistachio Orzo Salad

It is definitely spring!  Walking the dog this morning, the trees are fully in bloom, and the bulb flowers have come up.  The birds are chirping.  With the rain of winter moving behind us, the people of the US’s Pacific Northwest come out to play.  Friendly neighbors smile and wave.  

  Grape hyacinths
Grape hyacinths

All this great weather makes me think of picnics and pasta salad.  We still have a bit of time before BBQ season, but honestly, I can’t wait.  I love an excuse for gathering friends and family around a delicious meal.  

In today’s recipe, cauliflower offers a crunchy counterpoint to chewy raisins and crisp parsley.  Fresh basil, pistachio, lemon and olive oil conjure the flavors of Southern Italy.  It doesn’t take much to make an unforgettable pasta salad with a serious yum factor.  

It’s important not to be shy with the salt and black pepper–adding some, mixing it together, tasting it, and then, figuring out if it needs more. If you choose to refrigerate overnight, you likely will need to refresh the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Lemon juice can lose some of it’s oomph overnight.  For a variation, stir in fresh spinach or arugula, or top with vegan parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower Pistachio Orzo Salad

1 lb orzo, boiled, drained and rinsed

2 cups cauliflower florets 

½ cup raisins

¾ cup pistachios, roasted and shelled

2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn into pieces

½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Vegan parmesan cheese, to top – optional

Mix everything in a large bowl.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  

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