I love Orzo pasta salads. There are so many combination possibilities with Orzo. In my latest Orzo creation, I chose veggies that I love and paired them with a fresh lemon and chive dressing to feature the flavors of Spring.
I'll be making this for our family Easter dinner next Sunday. Total time to make this salad, less than 30 minutes. If you're looking for something fresh, simple and a little out of the ordinary, it's staring you in the face.
Not me, the salad.
Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Fresh Lemon-Chive Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
1 lb orzo
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped chives, divided (half for dressing, half for garnish)
1 lemon rind, grated fine, using a microplane grater
sliced lemon, for garnish
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Cook the orzo according to package directions, set aside. This may be done up to three days before serving salad.
Wash and snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut into one inch pieces on the diagonal. Place about 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Put the asparagus in the pan, heat until water boils. Cover and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Asparagus should be bright green. Drain off hot water and pour cool water into the pan. Drain again and place asparagus in the bowl with the cooked orzo. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl with the orzo and asparagus. Add one half cup of the chopped chives and the grated lemon rind.
In a large measuring cup, Mix all of the dressing ingredients with a whisk, or place in a blender, or use an immersion blender and pulse until ingredients are blended well.
When ready to assemble, toss all of the salad ingredients. Pour about 3/4 cup of the dressing over the salad. Toss. Let the salad sit a bit before placing in serving bowl or platter. Just before serving, toss with additional dressing if needed. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of chives and lemon slices.
Serves 12 as a side dish
-Try to assemble and serve the salad on the same day. The pasta may be cooked ahead, but the asparagus is best when tossed with the dressing on the same day.
-You will have leftover dressing. Don't be tempted to drown the salad in dressing. Use the leftover dressing on a green salad, or chopped avocado and tomatoes. This dressing would also make a great marinade for grilled chicken.