This spring orzo salad with asparagus and peas is a colorful and fresh pasta salad that is bursting with the seasonal flavors of Spring. Features tender orzo pasta, fresh asparagus, sweet peas, all tossed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and finished with creamy goat cheese.
Spring is in the air, I’m so excited! Winter is definitely my least favorite time of year, the days are short, cold and gray.. I’m ready for lots of sunshine, warm weather, and dinner parties where I can serve this Spring orzo salad! I feel like the unofficial start of Spring is Easter, at least for me it is. It’s the first major gathering my family hosts after Christmas and New Year festivities. Everyone’s been cooped up for months, so by the time Easter rolls around, everyone is in party mode. When it comes to food that symbolizes Spring, it doesn’t get better than asparagus and peas.
How To Make Spring Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Peas
Asparagus and fresh peas are always one of the first Spring veggies to pop up at my local farmer’s market, so I knew I had to make them the star of a Spring orzo salad. Lemons pretty much taste like sunshine, so of course I had to use some fresh lemon zest and juice for the perfect light and fresh dressing. To round of the dish, I add some fresh parsley and crumbled goat cheese to the pasta salad for that verdant, grassy flavor that I love. You can also use crumbled feta cheese…I’ve tried this salad with both types of cheese, with delicious results.
What Veggies Can I Use For A Spring Orzo Salad?
The sky is the limit for the veggies you can use in this recipe. Some options are are broccolini, snow peas, lima beans, sugar snap peas, arugula, or green beans.
Not a fan of goat cheese? Use feta cheese instead. Don’t have white balsamic vinegar? You can use white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar. or apple cider vinegar. Just use a pinch of sugar or a touch of agave nectar to add the tiny bit of sweetness you get from the white balsamic.
What Can I Serve With Spring Orzo Salad?
This Spring orzo salad is delicious with my grilled lamb recipe, and it’s a perfect side to grilled chicken, fish, pork or even steak. It’s such a versatile dish, and it’s great for an outdoor picnic since it’s only dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Can I Make This Ahead?
Yes! This is a great make ahead dish. Just blanch and shock your veggies, toss the hot orzo with the lemon vinaigrette and refrigerate them separately. When you’re ready to serve, toss the veggies, parsley and cheese with the lemony orzo. This will keep the dish nice and green. Try this dish next time you want a spring-y spin on your regular ol’ pasta salad. You can also serve this dish warm or room temperature.
Check out these other Easter & Spring recipes from Delish D’Lites!
- Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Arugula
- Roasted Shrimp and Sweet Corn Pasta Salad
- Hasselback Potatoes with Macadamia Nut Pesto
- Baked Crab Cake Bites with Lemon Remoulade
- Pesto Crusted Salmon
- Salmon Cakes with Creamy Mustard Sauce
- Bacalao Guisado (Stewed Cod Fish)
- Garlic Butter Steelhead Trout in Foil
- Pesto Puff Pastry Pinwheels
- Crab Empanadas (Empanadas de Cangrejo)
Spring Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Peas
A delicious orzo pasta salad with fresh Spring veggies, lemon vinaigrette and crumbled cheese.
- 4 cups water
- 8 oz fresh asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 8 oz dried orzo pasta
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup red onion or shallot, finely diced optional
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 8 oz crumbled goat cheese or feta
- salt and pepper, to taste
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add salt. Blanch the asparagus and peas for 30 seconds in the boiling water, then immediately shock the veggies by dunking them in ice water. Once cooled, drain the blanched veggies from the ice water, and refrigerate them until needed.
In a glass bowl, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, red onion/shallot, and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine, then set the bowl aside.
Cook the orzo according to the package instructions, then drain and add the hot orzo to the bowl with the lemon vinaigrette. Toss to coat.
Cover the orzo with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until cooled completely.
When you’re ready to serve the Spring orzo salad: toss the veggies, chopped parsley and crumbled cheese with the orzo. Serve immediately.