It’s asparagus season, hungry people! That means it’s time to incorporate this delicious veggie into all kinds of dishes.
Today, I want to share with you a fantastic recipe for Mediterranean Asparagus Orzo Salad. The best part? You can enjoy it either hot or cold, making it suitable for any occasion, from a fancy dinner to a simple picnic.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Orzo: Small pasta shape used as the base ingredient for the salad.
- Asparagus: Adds a fresh and vibrant taste, providing a crunchy texture to the salad.
- White onion: Adds a subtle onion flavor and enhances the savory notes of the dish.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese ball (cubed): Optional ingredient that adds a creamy and mild taste to the salad.
- Lemon juice: Provides a tangy and refreshing flavor to brighten the salad.
- Olive oil (best if infused with Italian herbs): Adds richness and serves as the base for the dressing.
- Cherry tomatoes: Brings a burst of juicy sweetness and adds vibrant color to the salad.
- Baby carrots: Offers a mild sweetness and provides a crisp texture to the dish.
Let’s Get Started
Let me tell you, this recipe is so incredibly easy that I only needed to take three pictures to document the process. That’s how quick and straightforward it is!
To start, boil a large pot of water and add the orzo pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the box to ensure it’s cooked to perfection. You want the orzo to be al dente, meaning it should have a slight bite to it. Nobody wants a mushy pasta salad, right?
Now, here comes the fun part. This salad can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference. If you’re serving it hot, simply transfer the cooked orzo to a serving dish and proceed to the next step. If you prefer it cold, drain the orzo and rinse it under cold water to cool it down. This step ensures that the pasta stays fresh and prevents it from sticking together.
Next up, it’s time to prepare the star of the show: the asparagus. Trim off the tough ends and cut the spears into bite-sized pieces. You have two options here. You can either blanch the asparagus in the same boiling water you used for the orzo, cooking it for about 2 minutes until it’s tender-crisp. Alternatively, you can sauté the asparagus in a separate pan with a drizzle of olive oil until it reaches the desired tenderness. Both methods work like a charm, so choose whichever suits you best.
Once the asparagus is ready, it’s time to bring all the flavors together. In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, the blanched or sautéed asparagus, thinly sliced red onion, halved Kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. These ingredients not only add depth of flavor but also bring beautiful pops of color to the salad.
To give it that Mediterranean touch, sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese and freshly chopped parsley over the salad. These additions will elevate the taste and make every bite more satisfying. Don’t be shy with the feta cheese—it adds a wonderful creamy and tangy element to the dish.
Now, let’s dress up the salad. Drizzle it with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. The tanginess of the lemon juice and the fruity richness of the olive oil will tie all the flavors together and add a refreshing zing.
Give everything a good toss, ensuring that all the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing and well combined. This will ensure that every bite is full of flavor.
And that’s it! Your Mediterranean Asparagus Orzo Salad is ready to be enjoyed. You can serve it right away while it’s still warm, or you can pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors mingle and enjoy it chilled. The choice is yours!
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy the wonderful flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a simple yet delicious dish that will impress your guests or make your picnic spread extra special. Heck I served mine with a sandwich in the shape of a dinosaur. So go ahead, get cooking, and savor the taste of asparagus season.
Mediterranean Asparagus Orzo Salad
- Boil a large pot of water and add the orzo. Cook according to the instructions on the box.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, then sauté the sliced onions and carrots for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are turning translucent. Toss in the asparagus and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are losing their moisture and the asparagus cuts easily when pressed – about 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly.
- Add the cooked orzo to the skillet and stir to combine the veggies together.
- If you are using feta, wait until the orzo has cooled completely before adding it. Add the lemon juice and stir completely. Sprinkle on a touch of salt and pepper. This side can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!