Lemon Orzo with Asparagus
Pasta Salad

This simple salad makes an elegant starter or side dish, and couldn’t be easier to prepare. Make the salad early in the day, then just throw some meat on the grill at mealtime for a perfectly fuss-free feast.


Directions   Print recipe     Email to a friend

2 lemons, zested
1/2 cup lemon juice*
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Orzo Salad
1 pound thin-stalked asparagus
~ boiling water for cooking asparagus
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups orzo pasta
1/2 cup green onions, whites and stalks, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
* Add more lemon juice directly to the cooled, finished salad if you like a sharper flavor.


  1. Place the lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a deep-sided bowl.
  2. Add the oil in a thin, steady stream while whisking the mixture vigorously to form an emulsion. Set aside.

Orzo Salad

  1. Prepare the asparagus and lay them in a heat-resistant 9” x 13” Pyrex dish.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the asparagus, cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the water is slightly warm. This no-fuss method produces perfectly cooked asparagus.
  3. Remove the asparagus to your cutting board and cut diagonally in two-inch pieces. Set aside.
  4. Place the chicken stock and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and turmeric and bring back to a boil.
  5. Add the orzo and cook until tender—about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Drain, but do not rinse.
  7. Place the hot orzo in a spacious, heat-resistant bowl and add the asparagus and green onions. Whisk the dressing if needed, and pour it over the salad. Mix well.Note: The dressing tastes strong until absorbed by the hot orzo.
  8. Cool to room temperature. Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.
  9. Decorate with the lemon slices.



Preparation Time: 
30–35 minutes plus 1–1 1/2 hours cooling time.
Tips and Techniques