Orzo Pasta Salad


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The quintessential summer salad – this orzo pasta salad is loaded with fresh flavors of lemon and dill along with crunchy asparagus and walnuts. Goat cheese gives is a welcomed creaminess and another layer of texture. Perfect for a backyard barbecue or an easy meal prep lunch during the week!

Overhead shot of a serving bowl filled with orzo pasta salad

How to make Lemon Orzo Salad:

You’ll start by cooking the pasta according to package directions until al dente. When you have about 2 minutes of cook time left on the pasta, add the chopped asparagus right in with the pasta. Strain pasta and asparagus and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature (you can speed this process up by throwing it in the fridge). Then add garbanzo beans, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.

Collage of photos showing how to make orzo pasta salad

While the pasta an asparagus are cooking, combine olive oil with fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and Kosher salt.

Collage of photos showing how to make orzo pasta salad

Give the salad a quick toss. Then drizzle with dressing and toss to coat everything evenly.

Collage of photos showing how to make orzo pasta salad

Garnish the orzo pasta salad with fresh chopped dill and enjoy!

Close up shot of a white bowl filled with pasta salad garnished with fresh dill

How long does this pasta salad last?

This orzo pasta salad will stay good in the fridge for up to a week! If you’re planning to serve at a later date, just toss the salad with half the dressing initially. Then finish it with the rest of the dressing just before serving. This ensures that it won’t get soggy.

The same goes for using this recipe as a meal prep lunch. Toss the salad with half the dressing, divide it between your containers for the week. Then each day just before eating, add another splash of dressing. This will keep the flavors fresh and prevent the orzo from soaking up too much of the dressing.

Overhead shot of a white bowl filled with pasta salad garnished with fresh dill

Tips for making the best pasta salad:

  • The pasta will need to cool after you cook it so that it doesn’t melt the goat cheese. You can leave it out on the counter for a half hour or pop it in the fridge to speed up the process. Either way, let the pasta cool to room temp or it will melt the goat cheese as soon as you start mixing it.
  • Use a log of goat cheese and crumble it yourself. The log has more flavor and moisture than the pre-crumbled goat cheese will.
  • If you’re not planning to eat the salad right away, toss with just half the dressing initially. Then add more dressing just before serving.

Other pasta salads you’ll love:

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Orzo Pasta Salad

Orzo pasta salad in a white serving bowl garnished with fresh dill

The quintessential summer salad – this orzo pasta salad is loaded with fresh flavors of lemon and dill along with crunchy asparagus and walnuts. Goat cheese gives is a welcomed creaminess and another layer of texture.

  • Author: Kylie Lato
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: PastaSalad
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 16 oz. orzo pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 4 oz. plain goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Dressing: 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking orzo according to package directions in a large pot of boiling water. 
  2. When the orzo has about 2 minutes left, add the asparagus to the pot and let them finish cooking together.
  3.  Strain orzo and asparagus and transfer to a large serving bowl and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry pop it in the fridge!)
  4. While the pasta is cooking, combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until emulsified. 
  5. Add garbanzo beans, goat cheese and walnuts to salad. 
  6. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. 
  7. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh dill and enjoy!

Notes

The pasta will need to cool after you cook it so that it doesn’t melt the goat cheese. You can leave it out on the counter for a half hour or pop it in the fridge to speed up the process. Either way, let the pasta cool to room temp or it will melt the goat cheese as soon as you start mixing it.

Use a log of goat cheese and crumble it yourself. The log has more flavor and moisture than the pre-crumbled goat cheese will.

If you’re not planning to eat the salad right away, toss with just half the dressing initially. Then add more dressing just before serving.

Keywords: lemon pasta salad, dill pasta salad, asparagus pasta salad, goat cheese pasta salad

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