J. Alexander’s Wild Rice and Orzo Salad

I’m sure by now you all know that I love love LOVE salads {since it seems I’ve been on a salad kick the past few posts}, but this isn’t your typical kind of salad {more like a side salad}. My sister Julie brought this salad to dinner at my house one night and it was love at first bite… and when I introduced it to two of my close friends they were in love too! So please forgive me for yet another salad post but this one is a total must! And just think you can now make it for the upcoming barbecue or better… for the fourth of July! Move over baked beans and HELLO yummy J. Alexander’s Wild Rice and Orzo!


J. Alexander’s is a popular restaurant chain scattered around the United States, and they make this very salad…and you could only imagine my delight when I found the recipe online! I actually found many versions of their salad… but this one is spot on… at least according to my taste buds! This is such a versatile salad; it goes great next to lemon-pepper Tilapia or underneath a salmon fillet, even paired with grilled chicken! Heck I have even ate it by its self!

This recipe post is dedicated to Nichole who bought & brought over all of the ingredients to my house so I could blog it for all of you to read and try. You will try it right?! I’m not kidding around! You HAVE to make this… and please don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list or all the chopping… its really not that hard… promise. Just think of it as a way to “sharpen” your knife skills… get it “sharpen”?!?! :)


Here is what is in the fantastic side salad: wild rice, orzo, garlic, parsley, red onion, red, yellow and green peppers, currants, corn, Dijon mustard, olive oil, white balsamic, honey, salt and pepper.

Cook your wild rice according to the package. After the rice is done, transfer the rice to a colander and run cold water over it to cool it down or “shock”, cover an refrigerate.

Prepare the orzo according to the package and just like the rice, transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to “shock” it.

Now while the rice and orzo is cooking you can start on the dressing. This sweet dressing is what makes this salad phenomenal! In a medium bowl whisk the white balsamic and the honey and mustard, add the garlic, basil and pepper. When those ingredients are combined…keep a whisking while you pour the olive oil in a steady stream.

Like I said there is A LOT of chopping in this recipe…so it’s wise to have a friend over to put to work! In my case it was Nichole… and she minced the parsley…

And slice the cheeks off of all the peppers, then slice into thin strips {make sure to trim off the white membrane stuff}. She then sliced them in to thin strips and dice into small uniform pieces.

Add the peppers and the parsley to a large bowl…

Dice up the red onion the same size you did the peppers…nice… neat… small and uniform!

I micro-waved this corn in plastic wrap for 2-3 minutes in the microwave, then with a sharp knife Nichole sliced off only the kernels.

Add the currants (this is my favorite ingredient!!)

Season with salt and black pepper.

and toss… isn’t it so puurty!

In a very large bowl add the orzo, wild rice, veggies and the chilled dressing.

Toss and refrigerate for at least and hour or two… the ingredients need time to soak in the dressing! Serve chilled and with shovels because people are going to eat this up!

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J. Alexander's Wild Rice and Orzo Salad


4 cups cooked Orzo*

3 cups cooked Wild Rice*

1/2 cup chopped Parsley

6 tablespoons Red Onion, diced small

6 tablespoons Currants

1 ear of Corn, cooked and kernels removed

1 small Green, Red and Yellow Peppers, diced small


1 cup of good olive oil

1/4 cup sweet white balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil {minced}

6 tablespoons Slivered Almonds {optional}

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper


For the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, except the olive oil. Stir until blended and then while whisking the dressing slowly pour the olive oil in a steady stream. Refrigerate.

Cook the orzo and wild rice according to package directions, shock in cold water and then refrigerate.

Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or two so the dressing can soak into the ingredients!

*When I was making the wild rice and the orzo, I used 2 cups uncooked wild rice and a whole 1 lb box of orzo, I did have some remaining, but you can just save it for another dinner later in the week!

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27 Responses to “J. Alexander’s Wild Rice and Orzo Salad”

  1. #
    The Answer Is Chocolate — June 8, 2010 at 3:52 am

    This looks yummy and would make a great standalone summer salad!

  2. #
    ♥ Elizabeth — June 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    FABULOUS! I am a new follower from the tag along AND a new housewife! You just might have saved my husband's health, as I am new to this whole… what do you call it… "cooking" thing! This recipe looks great, and I can't wait to browse the rest!

  3. #
    Life Happens — June 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    LOVE your blog! Following from Tuesday tag along!

  4. #
    Mary — June 8, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    That looks fabulous! I like this kind of salad more than lettuce salads, so I'll have to give this a try. I'd have to leave your favourite ingredient out though–no raisins for me!

  5. #
    ~*~ saskia ~*~ — June 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Pure deliciousness! Love love the colors together. Making a meal so much more delicious!
    Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday. Your blog is lovely! xx

  6. #
    David — July 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    This is the best salad that I make often. It always impresses people, even my mother-in-law. The ingredient I always see missing and the one I think makes this salad is blue cheese. I know blue cheese is a love hate ingredient, and I used to hate it, but it adds a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of the currants and honey. With or without blue cheese, this salad is fantastic.

  7. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — July 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks David!! I am a huge fan of blue cheese my self! I never would have thought to add it to this salad!! I may just have to try it that way the next time! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  8. #
    ja — August 22, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Thanks so much for posting this! I order this every time I'm at J.Alexander's (sometimes just so I can take it home). I do have a couple of questions though: (1) "1 teaspoon salt" is listed twice in the veggie section? and (2) You mentioned oregano in your post but I don't see it listed in the recipe?


  9. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    OOPS! Thanks for pointing those out!! That extra teaspoon of salt… should be black pepper!! Im not sure why Oregano was listed under the photo… it is not in the dressing… Sorry for the confusion!!

  10. #
    Adam M. — February 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Not too bad. That is pretty close.

  11. #
    Rachelle @ Adventures in Creating — April 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Mmm! I had this salad for the first time today and had to find the recipe online. Thanks so much for posting it.

  12. #
    Emily — February 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Just saw this on Pinterest and had to see how close you got! I worked for J's for over 3 years. A couple things are missing, namely red winter wheat, cilantro, and dried cranberries (my favorite part!). The dressing is also quite different, but as we make our own, it's difficult to replicate. There also aren't onions in ours, but other than that, pretty close!

  13. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 11, 2012 at 12:24 am

    That's so funny Emily, because the J. Alexanders by us does have red onion in it and not the dried cranberries. Currents, but not cranberries! Either way it's still delicious!

  14. #
    Sue W. — May 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Our J. Alexanders also uses red onion, currents and cranberries. I've never tasted cilantro in ours. Can't wait to try your recipe.

  15. #
    Edith — January 25, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I only use 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of olive oil and find that is plenty. Sometimes, I add purple cabbage and grated carrots to provide even more colour. Everyone loves this !

  16. #
    Stacey — January 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    thanks so much for this recipe!! do you have any idea what the nutrition facts are? mainly the calorie count and fat grams. I searched for j’s nutrition facts for this salad and i was shocked at how much fat and calories this dish has. when I look at your recipe, all the ingredients seep to be low fat and healthy so i am confused.

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 12:02 am

      I’m sorry Stacey, I don’t. :(

  17. #
    Candi R — May 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    The Js in Tampa adds dried cranberries as well, you did not add this to your recipe. They make this salad amazing. I also left out the onion as there was also none in the salad I ate. Other than that, this recipe is spot on.

  18. #
    Eric S. — June 4, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I would just like to point out that several of these ingredients are incorrect. I’m sure that this tastes great but I work at a J. Alexander’s and you missed or incorrectly chose several ingredients. For example, the champagne vinaigrette has no honey or mustard. It also has thyme and oregano along with champagne vinegar, not white balsamic.
    There is no onion in the recipe.
    You missed red winter wheat berries.
    No green peppers.
    As mentioned, you forgot dried cranberries.
    Almond slivers ate toasted.

    There is more but that’s all l I’m going into. I hope this imrpoves your attempt at imitation.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 5th, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

      Hi Eric! I’m sure there are a few incorrect ingredients… I just whipped this up by taste as I’ve never worked there a day in my life and have no idea what they use. But I do have to kindly disagree with you on some things. When I’ve had it there were zero dried cranberries or winter wheat berries and there was green pepper in it. So maybe they adjust the recipe with what ingredients they have in stock? I’m not sure but thanks for chiming in… I’ll have to try it with a few of your modifications! Thanks for stopping by!

  19. #
    Eric S. — June 4, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Oh, and the person above “from J’s” said cilantro. That is false. There is no cilantro in the “spec” recipe.

  20. #
    Erica t. — July 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The ingredient is red winter what pasta, not berries.
    But I’m about to give it a go. This salad is the only thing I miss about working at J’s. It’s a real talent that you were to replicate from taste alone. Thanks!

  21. #
    Mary — October 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    How many servings for this recipe?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 2nd, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

      Hi Mary! It’s been so long since I’ve made this salad but I remember I feeding a lot. I’d say 8-10, maybe. I’ll have to make this again and plug the servings size into the recipe

  22. #
    Tricia — November 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I, too, loved this salad at J. Alexander’s! I am preparing my daughter’s wedding dinner for 70 people and wanted to use this salad. So thank
    you so much for providing the recipe. I reviewed the comments and will
    try to adjust the ingredients I use, considering my experience having this salad at the restaurant. This has been so helpful!


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