Looking for Orzo Pasta Recipes? Look no further than this Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad! Packed with plenty of bright greens, crumbled feta cheese, and orzo tossed in a lemony dressing, this pasta dish comes together in less than 30 minutes for a light and refreshing springtime side.
Orzo (also known as Risoni) is a short pasta with tapered ends similar in shape to over-sized rice. This versatile pasta is perfect as the base for salads, pilafs, casseroles, and soups and can be cooked in a variety of ways. For the pasta salad, I boiled the orzo in a large pot of salted water, but it can also simmer in a smaller amount of water like rice or even be toasted first.
To make the Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad, I tossed the al dente orzo with a lightly seasoned lemon olive oil dressing before adding the asparagus, diced cucumbers, green onions, crumbled feta, and fresh thyme. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and can easily be made up to a day in advance. It is especially perfect as an accompaniment for a springtime picnic.
Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe Tips
- Stir the orzo often as it boils, especially at the bottom. It tends to stick to the pan more than other types of pasta.
- Not a fan of asparagus, green onion, or cucumber? Substitute with another favorite vegetable such as halved cherry tomatoes, diced bell peppers, or baby spinach.
- I love using thin and tender asparagus spears in this dish so the pieces don’t overpower the small orzo pasta.
- Serve the orzo warm or refrigerate up to a day in advance for a chilled and refreshing pasta salad.
- Don’t have thyme on hand? Basil, dill, or mint would also be nice additions.
- I added a small pinch of sugar to the dressing to help round out the flavor, but you can also use a drizzle of honey if avoiding granulated sugar.
Looking for more Orzo Pasta Recipes?
Adapted from RecipeTin Eats
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- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch sugar
- 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 8 asparagus woody stem discarded and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 English cucumber diced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, 5 tablespoons olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and sugar. Adjust the sugar and salt as needed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook, stirring often, until al dente, just tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the lemon dressing.
In a skillet, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the asparagus pieces and cook until bright green, another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with the coated orzo.
Mix in the diced cucumber, green onion, feta, and thyme. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.