“Godfather” Orzo Salad

Maple Scotch Orzo Salad

This salad is inspired by a beverage called “The Godfather” (no, not the movie). The blend of smokey Scotch and fruity sweet Amaretto create a perfect balance. Of course this makes a perfect salad! A blend of Scotch, Canadian Maple Syrup, a little soy sauce and other fun things, the dressing combines the sweet and smokey to mimic the drink.

But it doesn’t end there! The other ingredients in the salad contribute to the sweet and smokey theme as well.

Like the last orzo salad I posted, this one features some grilled veggies – but the secret ingredient is apricot, whose sweetness is important to this dish. Sweet sweet apricots, covered in grill marks… heaven!

Grilling Apricots

Perfectly grilling apricots.

This being my first time grilling apricots, I really had no idea how long to leave them on for. Of course, I screwed it up! I first grilled them butt-side down for a few minutes, then turned them over onto the cut side… and quickly realized I needed to pull them off immediately. Most of them were reduced to a soup – still delicious, but wouldn’t hold their shape. I ended up grilling a second batch of apricots – just 1-2 minutes, cut-side down. Perfect.


Grilled Tomatoes and Apricots

Grilled tomatoes and apricots. I think I may have overdone the apricots a little.

To round this out, I also grilled up some fresh zucchini and tomatoes I got from the farmer’s market, along with some portabello mushrooms. Hindsight being what it is, I would have scooped out the tomatoes a little and drained the excess liquid off of the other veggies before I cut them to put into the salad. My salad ended up a little bit wetter than I would have liked, but still so so good!

So have a Godfather – or have some Godfather Orzo salad!

Recipe after the jump!

“Godfather” Orzo Salad

Maple Scotch Orzo Salad w Grilled Apricots, Portabellos and Zucchini


  • 1/2 bag orzo pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into thick slices
  • 6-8 medium apricots, halved and pitted
  • 4 medium portabello mushrooms
  • 4 small tomatoes (I used red and yellow), halved and seeded
  • 2 green onions, whites chopped fine and greens sliced (reserve some for the top)
  • chili flakes, to taste
  • freshly ground salt & pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Scotch
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oil/sesame
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried ancho pepper powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients and let sit. Divide the dressing into two – mix half into the orzo pasta.
  2. With the remaining dressing, lightly coat the zucchini, the portabello mushrooms and the cut side of the apricots and tomatoes.
  3. Grill the vegetables. Be careful not to overgrill the apricots or tomatoes. A minute or two is all that is needed to add grill marks. You don’t want mushy vegetables!
  4. Drain the excess liquids off of the veggies and let them cool.
  5. Once cooled, cut each apricot half in half again.
  6. Cut each tomato half in half again lengthwise.
  7. Slice the zucchini and portabello into strips.
  8. Drain any liquid off of the cut vegetables. You can pat them dry, if needed.
  9. Into the dressed orzo, mix the green onion, chili flakes, vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Top with some additional green onion.

The dressing is also great on fish. We used it on some organic steelhead trout, and it was fantastic! You shouldn’t have to make a larger batch of dressing. We managed to stretch the single batch across the veggies, the salad and the fish.