This Orzo Asparagus Salad is bright and fresh, and it’s perfect for your next gathering! With tomatoes, vegan parmesan, cannellini beans and other delicious goodies, this dish will surely hit the spot.
Orzo salads are one of those meals that always satisfy. Plus, you can customize them in so many ways! This salad has delicious additions like tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, cannellini beans and fresh herbs.
With fresh basil, dill and parsley, there’s lots of vibrant flavor that goes so well with the lemon vinaigrette in this salad. This salad is very veggie-heavy. If you’re looking to have this more orzo-forward, feel free to use an additional 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry orzo. You may want to add a bit extra olive oil to the salad, but that’s personal preference.
I also love the texture in this salad. The asparagus is cooked crisp-tender, and is a great combination with the creaminess of the cannellini beans. Bright bursts of sweetness come from the cherry tomatoes.
Tips for Making This Orzo Asparagus Salad
You can make this salad the day before, with a couple suggestions. Slice the fresh tomatoes the day-of, as their flavor won’t be as fresh after being in the fridge. If possible, add the fresh herbs on the day of as well. This is especially for the fresh basil which may lose its bright green color overnight. Just prior to serving, stir in some additional lemon juice.
Blanching the asparagus then using the ice bath:
The asparagus will blanche only around 2 to 3 minutes, but anything further will run the risk of mushy asparagus. You’ll want the asparagus to be crisp-tender, and you can test it by tasting a piece (very carefully – blow on it first!). I suggest having a bowl full of ice cubes and water at-the-ready, to dump the drained asparagus into. This will stop the asparagus from cooking further. The asparagus will cool down very quickly, then remove the asparagus from the ice/water and dry it off with kitchen towel. This will avoid soggy asparagus!
Other Delicious Salad Recipes
If you make this Orzo Asparagus Salad, I would love to see it! You can tag me on Instagram @janetsmunchmeals and leave a star rating here!
Orzo Asparagus Salad
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 3/4 medium bundle asparagus
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil drained
- 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts drained
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans drained, rinsed and patted dry with kitchen towel
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 5 to 6 large basil leaves thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded vegan parmesan to taste
- 2 tbsp capers drained, optional
- 3 to 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to taste
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- Cook orzo according to package directions in salted water (1 to 2 tablespoons) until al dente, then drain and rinse in warm water, then drain well again. Transfer orzo to a large mixing bowl.
- Cut tough ends off asparagus (usually the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of stems). Cut remaining stalks on a slant, into around 2 cm pieces. Blanche in boiling water for 2 to 3 min until just crisp-tender, then place into a large bowl filled with ice cubes and water, to cool down. Then once cooled, drain away water and ice and dry asparagus with kitchen towel. Add to bowl with orzo.
- Add cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, chopped herbs, and most of parmesan to mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients and mix well with a fork or whisk. Add most of dressing to the bowl, toss well. Prior to serving, drizzle in remaining dressing and top with remaining parmesan and capers.