This post will be a short one. My go-to pasta salad is, admittedly, not an original production. I was compelled to back-engineer it after having a similar dish during a catered lunch in 2009 that was held in honor of someone who I didn’t know who was retiring from a position at an organization that gave me an internship that I had just started. Run-on sentence? Maybe. However, the original salad was so incredibly delicious that after eating two servings, I found myself hoarding an entire plate of it in my cubicle after the party, feverishly dissecting and analyzing the ingredient list so that I could somehow possess its power.

However, after only three variations, I managed to essentially piece the original dish together. The ingredient list is deceptively small, the actual preparation is very easy, and this salad is honestly the easiest go-to recipe I have. So easy, I didn’t even take any pictures. It doesn’t really need any pictures, outside of the finished product. Just follow the directions. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.


  • 1 pound of orzo
  • 2 – 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large apple (firm and tart, granny smith never goes wrong)
  • Handful of curly parsley (DO NOT substitute with flat-leaf parsley in this case)
  • 2/3 cup (approx.) of cashews, either whole or pieces
  • 1/2 cup (approx.) of dried cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  1. Boil orzo in a large pot of salted water. Because the pasta is so small, it should only take about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Mix the butter and olive oil with the cooked orzo well. Allow the pasta to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Grate the peeled carrots with a medium-sized grater (larger than what you would use for your parmesan, but the actual size isn’t terribly important).
  4. Dice the apple into relatively small pieces, but like the carrots, size is approximate.
  5. Finely mince the parsley, small as you can make it. Curly parsley will essentially fall apart after you mince it enough, which is important, because you want small pieces! Flat-leaf parsley just gets all sticky and gross.
  6. Toss the parsley, carrot, apple, cashews, and cranberries with the cooled orzo.


Interracial love begets the best offspring.

Daddy was pasta and mommy was rice. Or the other way around. Either way, orzo is so fucking multicultural.

This in, in my humble opinion, a great example of a perfect salad. Simple ingredients come together and make something so much more than the sum of themselves.

– Max.