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Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for orzo salad with Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, and walnuts

Valerie Ryan for The Boston Globe / Food styling by Debra Samuels/Food styling by Debra Samuels

Serves 6

Margie Coloian, of Johnston, R.I., sent an orzo salad to The Recipe Box Project, in which readers send in their favorite family dishes. This uses just a few tablespoons of light vinaigrette dressing, which is tossed with orzo, the flat rice-shaped pasta, Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, red onion, and tomato. “The dish balances the saltiness of olives with the sweetness of cranberries,” writes Coloian. Add feta cheese crumbles to make the dish richer.

DRESSING

2tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1clove garlic, smashed
1tablespoon olive oil

1. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, salt,
and pepper.

2. Whisk in the oil. Add the garlic. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

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SALAD

½cup walnuts
Salt and pepper, to taste
1cup orzo
½red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1large tomato, coarsely chopped
¼red onion, finely chopped
½cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
¼cup chopped fresh parsley
½cup dried cranberries
½cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Olive oil (for sprinkling)

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts, shaking the pan, for 8 minutes. Cool and chop coarsely.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the

orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or

until the orzo is tender but still has some bite. Drain

into a colander; do not rinse. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Remove the garlic from the dressing. Pour over the

orzo and set aside, stirring occasionally, until it is cool.

4. Add the bell pepper, tomato, onion, olives, parsley, cranberries, walnuts, and feta, if using. Mix gently.

5. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with olive oil and toss again.

Debra Samuels. Adapted from Margie Coloian