Enjoy this simple and fast dish pasta salad with orzo ready in just 20 minutes! With asparagus, tomatoes and feta, this fresh orzo salad is finished off with a lemon dressing and fresh herbs.
This is a delicious pasta salad that is packed with fresh veggies and herbs and takes minimal hands-on, prep time. You’ll find that by the time the orzo is done cooking, you’ll have prepped all of your other ingredients.
Why this recipe works
What I love about this recipe is that the orzo and asparagus get cooked in the same pot, which means less dishes! This is also a pasta salad that can be prepped ahead of time which makes it perfect for summer entertaining. Not to mention lemony orzo flavour. Hello, zippy lemon dressing (my Mediterranean pasta salad has the same vibes).
Plus, orzo and asparagus? I think a match made in heaven.
- Orzo is a small cut pasta about the size of long grain rice. I like to use it mostly in salads like my Greek orzo salad, but it is also great in soups. You can use regular or whole wheat in this recipe.
- Asparagus is a sweet, quick cooking vegetable that retains its bite when blanched for two minutes in boiling water. I like to cut mine in thin, ¼″ pieces along the bias.
- Cherry tomatoes add a burst of freshness and beautiful colour. If you don’t have tomatoes, you could also use red bell pepper.
- Lemon is the key ingredient to this salad, the dressing calls for both the zest and the juice of half a lemon.
- Feta adds a tangy and delicious bite. I feel like all pasta salads need feta! You could also use goat cheese or parmesan if you don’t have feta.
- Extra virgin olive oil is a key part of any dressing–in a cold preparation like this, you’ll want to use your good stuff.
- Garlic is a must in pretty much all dressings! This recipe just has a little bit to add some depth and bite to the finished dish.
- Fresh herbs–use whatever you have on hand (especially if it’s fresh from the garden!). I’ve found fresh basil, parsley and dill all work really well in the finished dish.
- When you’re preparing the asparagus, you’ll want to cut your asparagus into pieces that almost mimic the shape of the orzo, this means that they’ll cook quickly and look beautiful in the finished dish.
- Add the asparagus to the orzo during the last two minutes of cooking. This will ensure that it keeps a little bit of its bite but is perfectly tender. (And you’ll only have one pot to wash–my kind of recipe!)
- Build your dressing in the bowl that you’ll be serving the pasta in, this means when you add the warm orzo to the bowl, it will absorb all of that delicious lemony flavour. Since this is a cold pasta salad, you’ll want to allow it to cool before serving.
- If you’re prepping this dish ahead of time, you may need to add a little bit more olive oil to loosen it up before serving.