Asparagus and Lemon Orzo

Cooked with turmeric and lemon juice, this asparagus and lemon orzo is bright in flavor and color. A perfect spring side dish.

Orzo pasta is cooked with turmeric for wonderful color and flavor, then tossed with fresh asparagus and a lemon vinaigrette in this delicious spring time side dish.

Asparagus is one of my favorite spring vegetables, and this Lemon Orzo Asparagus Salad is one of my favorite ways to serve it.

If you’re an asparagus fan like me, I think you’re going to love this salad too. It’s easy to make, a little on the lighter side, and definitely a show stopper with that gorgeous yellow color.

The secret is adding a pinch of turmeric to the water when you cook your pasta. It adds gorgeous color that takes this salad from average to extraordinary. This dish really has spring written all over it!

Which makes it perfect for Mother’s Day or any spring time celebration or get together. And it’s perfect for taking along to potlucks and brunches. Just be prepared to get asked for the recipe.

Rather than cooking the asparagus using a traditional method for this recipe, I just lay it in a 9×13 inch glass dish and cover it with boiling water. After it sits for 10 minutes or so, the asparagus is “cooked” perfectly for this dish.

Just don’t forget to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus before you cook it.

For more color and variety, you could easily add additional veggies to this salad. Combined with the lemon vinaigrette and a few handfuls of fresh herbs, this is destined to become a new favorite side dish this spring.

It’s also wonderful with grilled meats and fish, so I plan to make it all summer long too! Feel free to serve this chilled, or at room temperature, whichever you prefer.

Click here for the dressing recipe.

Asparagus and Lemon Orzo
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Side
Ingredients
FOR THE DRESSING
  • Click the link above for the recipe.
FOR THE SALAD
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (dill, parsley, chives, etc.)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Set aside.
  2. Wash asparagus and snap off tough end pieces. Lay in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Pour boiling water over asparagus to cover. Let stand until water is warm, about 10 minutes. Drain water and cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, bring chicken stock, turmeric and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add orzo and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain but do not rinse.
  4. Place the warm orzo in a large bowl and toss with the asparagus, herbs and dressing. Mix well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

Danelle MC

Danelle combines her love of cooking and photography at her food blog, Let's Dish. A friend once described her culinary creations as “uptown foodie meets real life,” which sums up her cooking philosophy perfectly. When she's not cooking or baking , you'll often find her behind the lens of her camera photographing the beautiful Colorado outdoors, or visiting her local farmers' market. She has been sharing recipes at Let's Dish since 2009.

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