12 oz. Orzo
1 Bunch Fresh AsparagusCut into 1-inch pieces
1 Pint Grape or Cherry TomatoesHalved
1 LemonZested and juiced
4 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic ClovesMinced
2 Tbs. Fresh ParsleyMinced
Kosher SaltSeason to taste
Fresh Ground PepperSeason to taste
Grated Parmigiano ReggianoSeason to taste
It’s time to make a lemon orzo salad with asparagus and tomatos.
In Washington, the months of October through May can be pretty gray, and month after month of gray can be a bit of a downer.
Today, for about a half hour, I saw blue sky. No, this is not a metaphor for life — there was blue, and even a spark of sun!
It’s the first week of April and officially Spring. The local farmer’s markets opened their season this weekend, and the vendors were just as enthusiastic as I was about the glimmer of hope in the sky.
I visited the Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market today, and while not heavy on fruits and vegetables, there were plants and herbs ready to be potted. Fresh salsa, homemade tamales and chocolate croissants (my personal favorite).
Yes, the patrons had their raincoats on (just in case) because we Washingtonians are always prepared. But alas, the rain held off and we all delighted in the ease of a Saturday farmer’s market.
Inspired by the season to come, I wanted something fresh and light for dinner.
Orzo, although a pasta, is never heavy and really perfect for a salad.
This is really a perfect combination of ingredients — fresh lemon, earthy asparagus and sweet tomatoes. Top that with salty Parmigiano Reggiano, and you are good to go.
This is perfect to bring to a barbeque or potluck because it’s great at room temperature. Pair it with some grilled chicken or shrimp for a more hearty meal.
*Note: If you want to keep this salad vegan, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.
Kitchen Must Haves
Bring 2 large pots of water to boil. Add a big pinch of salt in each.
To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.
To the second pot, add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. When tender, drain and place in a large bowl. Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.
Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into orzo and vegetables. Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
56 Reader Questions and Reviews Hide Comments
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I changed this up a bit, cooking Orzo in chicken broth with rinds left from dressing, dill and S&P. WOW, wonderful. Wished I would have let chill a bit more. Great side with salmon.
I’ve made this several times. My family loves it!
I am making this for a luncheon with 8 women. Do I need to double the recipe? Just wondering how many this serves? Thanks. It looks fantastic!
Hi Carole, Sorry I’m just getting back to you! It depends if you are serving it as a main or a side. If a side, you don’t necessarily need to double it. If it’s more of a main, double it.
a perfect clean out the fridge/freezer salad! subbed roasted green beans for the asparagus as they are in season. had corn cut from a cooked ear in freezer, added it along with some diced red onion and a diced avocado just because they needed to be used. increased dressing by 50%, perfection!!!!
I’m going to make this for a huge family party this weekend! How many servings does this recipe make with the above recipe?
I am in the uk and do you meant an actual pint measurement in tomatoes? As in measure them all in a pint glass??
Can’t wait to make this today!
I mean an actual pint of cherry tomatoes — the little clamshell they come in. Thanks!
Does anyone know the calories of this dish, say for a 2/3 cup portion? Or as a whole?
Great recipe! I made it last week and ate it every single day for lunch; couldn’t get enough! Thanks for sharing!
This is a very good dish. I’m making it again tonight, and I’m going to add baby shrimp to it. Yum!
I think you will also like this salad… Enjoy!
This looks amazing.
I made this for dinner last night. Asparagus was SO expensive that I used spinach instead. And yellow cherry tomatoes were 2/$1.50! The color looked beautiful. I had intended for this to be a side dish but once my husband tasted it he decided that was all he wanted. Next time I make it I’m going to add some grilled chicken on top. YUM. This was so delicious.
This salad has been a HUGE hit the several times I’ve made it. Definitely company-worthy for those who like to entertain. I hit the garlic and romano pretty hard and let it sit overnight then serve room temperature. FANTASTIC!
LOVED this! My family loved it and my book club loved it. Making it again tonight. Simple, healthy and best of all – delicious!!!
Aaaaamazing! beautiful picture too 😀
This is my favorite summer salad! The ingredients are all so simple, but it is delicious!! If I make it the day before, I add more lemon juice and olive oil to freshen it up!!
Made this for dinner tonight and we loved it!!!!
I am bringing this salad to a potluck today and I am sure everyone is going to like it as much as I do. Simple ingredients with beautiful colours and delicious taste are just perfect. Thank you for sharing!
Just made this salad and its simple and delicious! It’s the perfect light summer salad! Yum!
I made this for visiting company and it was a great success. I plan on taking it to a Womans Club Potuck tomorrow. I’m thinking some shrimp would go nicely in this dish also. Thanks!
So delicious! I just made it and and i’m so happy I did.
For anyone who is vegan nutritional yeast would work in place of the cheese.
Made this for lunch today, very delicious. I had no parsley on hand so substituted basil and added garbanzo beans for some extra protein. Thanks for a quick and healthy recipe!
Not sure if you gave permission for this, but this site has taken your photos and watermarked them with their own mark, and posted your entire recipe:
Found this recipe on Pinterest, and made it for valentine’s day dinner. It was sooo delicious and easy to make! It’s definitely going into our dinner rotation!
I found this Lemon Orzo Salad on Pinterest. I always have some kind of a salad on hand for “snacking”, and this one has now moved to the top of our favorites list! I did add a little bit of Kraft’s Lite Raspberry Vinegarette dressing to my serving to “sweeten” it up a little, but my hubby loves it just the way it is with the tart lemon flavor. BRAVO!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Lovely salad. I made it with beans, as Asparagus is not so easily available in Chennai, India. Writing this as I am relishing the salad
I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it earlier this afternoon! It’s completely delicious! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.
I considered adding pearl onions, but I didn’t. Maybe next time I will, since it seems like they might be an interesting addition.
wonderful, dont use entire lemon though. just add it to taste, thought it was too tart with the entire lemon juiced
You had me at lemon!
Found this recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight for the first time. It is wonderful & we will definitely be making it again & again this summer–especially looking forward to using my own tomatoes as they ripen. Thank you!
I made this simple, delicious recipe tonight. With the addition of a bet more zest and juice of lemon as my extra-virgin was not extra-expensive so I suspected it would be somewhat heavy.
Served with grilled skinless, boneless chicken breast (using the same dressing ingredients for a quick marinade) . It was wonderful, Thanks! Lee
LOVE this! So delicious! A summer staple for sure!
Thank you so much for this recipe – loved it – I might try balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon next time – it won’t be as pretty, but it sure will be good – also might try some goat cheese instead to switch it up a bit. Great recipe!
Questions: Can this be made the night before? How many people does this serve?
Your recipe looks amazing!
Lauren, Yes, it can be made the night before. I would refresh it before serving with a squeeze more of lemon juice and taste it for seasoning. It serves 6-8 as a side dish with small portions, or 4-6 with more generous portions. Enjoy!
I can’t wait to make and eat this. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
I’m going to try this it sounds and looks so good 🙂
I lived in Kirkland, WA. most of my life so I totally related to your description of the weather, spring, and the farmer’s market….so miss Washington….but not the rain. I live in Boise, ID now. Love the sunshine and warm weather but still miss home and the greenery. Gig Harbor rocks…..you lucky person! Thanks for the blog.
Delightful! I just made this for my husbands birthday, it was a huge hit. I oven roasted the asparagus instead of boiling it. Thank you for posting on pinterest.
This is so delicious and super easy to make!! I saw it on a friend’s Pinterest and just had to try it. I followed the recipe because I happen to have the ingredients on hand but I can see making it your own:)
I found this on pinterest this week, and we made it tonight for dinner. Absolutely delicious!! TFS
This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it.
I rarely comment on recipes but this one is deserved. I, too, devour this. In fact, I made it 2 nights ago and have eaten it for ever meal since. It makes a great presentation! I have been in love with this recipe since I first found it this summer. THANK YOU! (found you through pinterest also)
Also found on Pinterest! Made it tonight but added quinoa and chicken for protein and it was SO good!
Kara, What a great idea! Love it when people add their own twists to recipes to make it work for them.
Very delicious , you wanna have it every day.
I found your recipe on Pinterest and it is delish! Thanks so much for sharing =)
I just found you via Pinterest, and this looks SO GOOD. Ingredients I almost always have on hand, too. So going to have this next week. Thanks for sharing!
Looks delicious, orzo works so well in salads, beautiful colours too!
I made this tonight and it was amazing! Simple and quick to make.
so simple and delishus! I think i will make this this week with farro!