Warm Orzo and Walnut Salad

California Walnut Board
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins


1cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2cup chopped California walnuts, toasted
1/2cup halved small red grape tomatoes
1/3cup diced red bell pepper
1/3cup diced English (European) cucumber, unpeeled
1/4cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4teaspoon salt
3/8teaspoon pepper
3ounces goat cheese, or chevre, crumbled (plain, or a garlic and herb flavored cheese)
-- Additional chopped or whole chives for garnish


  1. Spray 6 (6 – 8 oz.) ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Have all the measured ingredients at hand when you are ready to prepare the salad. 
  3. Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 9 – 10 minutes, or according to package directions, until just tender.  Drain well.  (If you are cooking the orzo well ahead of time, after draining toss it with 2 tablespoons additional olive oil, to keep it from sticking, then reheat in a microwave before assembling the salad.) 
  4. In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, olive oil, parsley, mint, chives and lemon juice; mix well.  Reheat the orzo in microwave if necessary, until it is hot, and add to the other ingredients.  Stir and toss to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the cheese.  Divide the orzo salad evenly among the prepared ramekins, packing it tightly.
  5. Invert onto individual serving plates, then gently remove ramekins.  Garnish with chives as desired.  Serve warm.  

*Note: The salad can also be served cold, or at room temperature.  For a simpler presentation, omit the ramekins and spoon the salad onto plates. 

Recipe courtesy of Mary Hawkes.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 320
  • Glycemic Load 0
  • Fat 17g
  • Saturated Fat 4.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 7g
  • Cholesterol 10mg
  • Sodium 450mg
  • Potassium 210mg
  • Carbohydrate 32g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 3g
  • Protein 11g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 15%
  • Vitamin C 30%
  • Calcium 6%
  • Iron 10%