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.

J. Alexander's Wild Rice and Orzo Salad l SimplyScratch.com (22)

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 Wild Rice and Orzo Salad l SimplyScratch.com (24)

J. Alexander’s is a popular restaurant chain scattered around the United States, and they make this very salad.  So you could imagine my delight when I found the recipe online! Actually, I found many versions of their salad and decided to use them as a guide and come up with my own. 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 a salmon fillet, even paired with grilled chicken.

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


J. Alexander's Wild Rice and Orzo Salad l SimplyScratch.com (31)
I recently updated this recipe with more precise ingredients and measurements. Click HERE for the step-by-step and printable recipe!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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34 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!

  23. #
    G — July 22, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Tasted great! And I’m no fan of raw peppers!! Thank you for the recipe.

  24. #
    Kathy B — August 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    i don’t know if this clears anything up, but wheat berries aren’t berries. They are a whole wheat kernel that is sometimes red in color.

  25. #
    William Ingramm — August 29, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I worked at J. Alexander’s a few years back and I loved this salad. I want to make it this coming week to pair with a lamb burger so thank you for this recipe! I know it’s not accurate (there should be red winter wheat included for instance) but it is very very close from what I remember (J. Alexander’s trains every employee to know every recipe by heart).

    Can’t wait to try it!

  26. #
    Kris — April 20, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    i really want the recipe for J Alexander’s champagne vinaigrette.
    Anyone know it?
    This orzo salad and the regular salad are my favorites. I only get to eat them when I’m in FLA. So the rest of my life in Maine, I’m dreaming of these salads!

  27. #
    Christine V. — May 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I have made this several times and have received rave compliments about it. I even used the dressing with tortellini, cucumbers, walnuts, cranberries and peppers and again….people asked for the recipe! Love it and am making it again this weekend.


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