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Melon Orzo Salad with Orange Poppyseed Vinaigrette

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.



I feel like I am full of complaints here lately, but I have been suffering from some serious foodie mental block. If you haven’t noticed, it has been a couple of days since my last post. I’m not usually this lazy, and am usually pretty good at having a good 3-4 posts/recipes up a week. I’m going through this thing called “I need to eat because I’m hungry, but I don’t have an appetite for anything.” Does this ever happen to you guys? I think it’s my being constantly surrounded by food all day and night. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for all of you, I think my gears are a-turning again. This makes me happy because I have been hungry for some good food. Memorial Day is Monday. Did you know that? Well I completely FORGOT! Ahh! Because my anxiety for this weekend has completely taken over my soul, I came up with this bad boy of an orzo salad. It’s delicious guys. Soooooo good. It is great for a picnic or potluck, and I HIGHLY suggest you whip it up for this weekend. You’ll love it.








Beer Love:
Beer: Prairie Ale
Brewed By: Prairie Artisan Ales
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 25
Description: Have I ever mention my never-ending love for Prairie Artisan Ales? Holy moly guys. If you have yet to try ANYTHING from Prairie, please, please, please do yourself a tremendous favor and try it! I have never had anything from Prairie that I absolutely didn’t love. They do some crazy things, and somehow, it always works. I really wanted a great summer brew for this beer pairing, and Prairie makes a great saison in their Prairie Ale. You get some fruity notes, but it’s not out of control in fruit flavor. It is crisp and delicious and really enhances the flavors going on in this orzo salad (especially the cantaloupe). Try it. You’ll love it. I promise.






For some “Pintastic” inspiration for Memorial Day weekend, head over to Pinterest and check out my pinboard dedicated to all things Memorial Day!


Follow Justine’s board {memorial day} on Pinterest.


I know things look a little bit different as far as the recipe format is concerned (see below). We have been suffering some problems with our recipe widget. We are currently in the process of a site redesign (Which should be up soon, I promise!), and it will be featuring a new recipe format all together. For now, I’m keeping it simple and just inserting the text for the recipe. I know. It’s super boring, and you don’t get the nutrition facts. Sad face, but I promise good things are a-coming!

As a side note, if anyone has any problems viewing older posts, please shoot me an email through the contact page. Our recipe widget has caused a lot of older recipes to crash. Boo! I’m working on fixing them, but it’s taking some time, so if you come across an error on a page. Please let me know!

Ok, I’m done being boring. Here is the recipe. Wee!

Melon Orzo Salad with Orange Poppyseed Vinaigrette

Cook Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 8

2 cups orzo pasta
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cooked through and diced small
1 1/2 cups cantaloupe, diced small
1 1/2 cups cucumber, diced small
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups baby arugula, loosely chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
zest from one orange
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon mustard powder

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the orzo pasta, chicken breast, cantaloupe, cucumber, cranberries, almonds and arugula. Toss the ingredients until combined. Set aside.

Prepare your vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, vinegars, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, sugar, a dash of salt and pepper, poppy seeds and mustard powder. Whisk until all of the ingredients are smooth and incorporated. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

This salad can be served warm, at room temperature or cold! Enjoy!




Other Great Pasta Salad Recipes!
Mediterranean Olive Couscous Salad


Greek-Style Couscous Salad


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I’m the voice, author, creator, and photographer behind Cooking and Beer. We started things about 10 years ago and Cooking and Beer has morphed and grown into what it is today: providing hundreds of recipes to thousands of people.

18 Responses

  1. Foodie block is no fun, but if that means you’re coming up with fabulous recipes like this one, I’d say it’s well worth it :). I too had no idea that Memorial Day was just around the corner until a couple of days ago. Crazy!! I am so ready for the biggest BBQ day of the year and your salad couldn’t be more fitting. Looks soo good!

  2. I totally feel you with the foodie block, I’m having a bit of one myself right now. I think the only reason I was remembering Memorial Day this year is because I wanted to BBQ, that was until we went to light our grill last weekend and it wouldn’t work. Thank goodness you made this awesome salad, now I don’t have to have a grill and can still make something delicious!

    1. Our grill is done for too! It fell over when we had all that wind, and that was that. I think we will be grilling indoors this Memorial Day…haha. So sad. Thank you so much, Danae! You’re the best.

  3. OMG, I can totally relate to your foodie mental block! Every now and then I get into these moods where nothing tastes good to me and nothing looks appealing to me. Somehow it goes away on its own. What’s up with that? I thought I was alone…
    This orzo salad looks deeelicious! Perfect for BBQ or my lunch. :)
    Tina at

    1. I have no idea what is up with it. I’m thinking it’s because we are constantly surrounded by food, so like anything else … too much of anything can get daunting. I’m slowly crawling my way out! Thank you so much, Tina. ;)

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Hello! I'm Justine.

I’m a blogger and web developer from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where my loving husband, two adorable kids, and two mischievous dogs keep me on my toes 24/7. My idea of heaven includes endless summer days, getting lost in a good book, and whipping up some delicious homemade bread.


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