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a white bowl with orzo salad inside of it.
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5 from 2 votes

Orzo Asparagus Salad Recipe

Easy and full of great flavor, this pasta salad recipe is delicious!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
0 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Paige

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt Diamond Crystal
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Pepper, freshly ground Or regular freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Shallot, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Honey
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts, toasted
  • 8 ounces Orzo pasta
  • 1 pound Asparagus
  • 1 1/2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Green Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach or Arugula
  • 3 tablespoons Italian Parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette by adding the fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, shallot and honey to a small mason (or other) jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine, then set it aside while you make the the salad.
  • Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet set over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as you see the nuts turn slightly brown, take them off the heat and keep stirring. They'll continue to brown as you stir them. Set aside.
    Wash and pat dry the vegetables - asparagus, tomatoes, green onion. Cut the asparagus in half lengthwise if they are on the thicker side.
    Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and cut the green onion into thin slices
    Cook the Orzo according to the package directions. This is usually 9 minutes, but note that's 9 minutes of boiling time.
    For the final minute of orzo cooking time, add the sliced asparagus to the pot of boiling orzo, stir it a little.
    Drain and immediately rinse with very cold water, tossing it very gently with your hands to make sure all the orzo and asparagus are covered. Let this drain for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add the orzo and asparagus, the tomatoes, green onion, feta cheese, pine nuts, greens and Italian parsley.
    Shake the dressing again and pour over the top, gently toss together and serve.

Notes

  • The simple vinaigrette for this recipe calls for diced shallots, and I'd really encourage you to use them. Just a tablespoon packs a wonderful flavor. Make the dressing first - the raw shallots will mellow with the acidity of the fresh lemon juice.
  • The asparagus is quickly cooked for one minute in the same pot as the orzo at the end of the cooking time. Makes it easy, huh?
  • When you are finished cooking the pasta and orzo, strain the mixture and immediately rinse with very cold water, tossing gently from the bottom to make sure you've got it all. This stops the cooking and keeps the asparagus bright green. (which looks much prettier than dark green, trust me :) )
  • When you toast the pine nuts, don't get on the phone or start any projects :) It literally takes seconds to see the first evidence of browning, and that's when you remove from the heat. Keep stirring, they'll continue to brown as you toss and stir.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1140IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg