Recipe/ Salad/ Side Dish/ Vegetable/ Vegetarian

Asparagus Pasta Salad

March 6, 2020 (Last Updated: March 10, 2020)

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Light asparagus pasta salad made with fresh asparagus, orzo pasta, fresh basil and a lemony vinaigrette. This versatile asparagus salad is a perfect side dish for dinner or as a main dish for lunch. 

Pasta salad with chopped asparagus and tomatoes.

I love salads that I can make ahead of time and serve for dinner or pack up into small containers and take in my lunch. This asparagus pasta salad holds up well and is perfect for bringing to a potluck. You can easily double this recipe to serve a crowd. 

Orzo Pasta

Orzo pasta is a small rice shaped pasta. It’s perfect in salads because of its size, but it also perfect because it can be used in a lot of recipes instead of rice. When my kids were little I often served orzo pasta with butter and herbs. They also called it rice. I always corrected them, but in their mind it was rice. As teenagers they still love orzo and now they’ve got the name down. They love this salad and if it’s in the fridge they will eat it as a snack after school and sometimes as a midnight snack. Teenagers seem to be hungry all the time and can eat, eat, eat!

Asparagus salad served in a small bowl.

This pasta salad is best when asparagus is in season. 

A board topped with asparagus, tomatoes, orzo, green onions and a half of a lemon.

To Make Salad

  1. Blanch asparagus by drooping chopped asparagus into a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove asparagus and plunge into ice cold water.
  2. Cook and strain orzo pasta
  3. Mix vinaigrette by coming lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes and honey.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over warm pasta. Allow pasta to cool to room temperature
  5. Add cooked asparagus, tomatoes, onions and basil. 
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
Chopped asparagus on a wooden cutting board.
Pouring a dressing over orzo pasta.4
Chopped asparagus in a pot filled with boiling water.1
Fresh chopped tomatoes along with asparagus in a bowl.5

Once this salad is made, I like to cover and chill in the refrigerator. You can eat at room temperature, but I prefer to let the flavors meld together a bit first. 

Asparagus, tomatoes and pasta in a bowl.

 

Variations

  • To make this a complete meal, add chopped cooked chicken breasts to the salad.
  • I’ve added a small amount of honey to balance the acidity from the lemon and vinegar. You can omit if desired.
  • Red pepper flakes are added to provide a bit of spice. If you prefer a milder taste, add half the red pepper flakes called for or omit altogether.
  • Small salad pasta or small shell pasta can be substituted for the orzo 

Other delicious salads

Do you have extra asparagus? You will want to make this Roasted Asparagus too!

Don’t forget to PIN for later!Orzo pasta mixed with tomatoes and asparagus.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Be sure to check out all my delicious salad recipes!

5 from 3 votes
Pasta salad with chopped asparagus and tomatoes.
Asparagus Pasta Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Orzo pasta with fresh asparagus and tomatoes with a light lemony vinaigrette.

Course: Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: asparagus orzo salad, asparagus pasta salad
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 306 kcal
Author: Kathy
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 pound asparagus cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes quartered
  • 2 green onions sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil sliced into thin strips
  • salt and pepper
Vinaigrette
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey optional
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Instructions
Salad
  1. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and put hot asparagus into a bowl full of ice water to cool.

  2. Cook orzo pasta. Drain pasta and place in a bowl. Allow to cool until warm.

  3. Pour prepared vinaigrette over orzo and stir to combine. Allow orzo to cool until at room temperature.

  4. Add blanched asparagus, chopped tomatoes, green onions and sliced basil. Stir gently.

  5. Add salt and pepper to taste

  6. Cover and refrigerate or serve right away

Vinaigrette
  1. Place olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and red pepper flakes into a bowl. Combine with a whisk until smooth.

Recipe Notes

Recipe can be double to serve a larger crowd.

Variations

  • To make this a complete meal, add chopped cooked chicken breasts to the salad.
  • I've added a small amount of honey to balance the acidity from the lemon and vinegar. You can omit if desired.
  • Red pepper flakes are added to provide a bit of spice. If you prefer a milder taste, add half the red pepper flakes called for or omit altogether.
  • Small salad pasta or small shell pasta can be substituted for the orzo 
Nutrition Facts
Asparagus Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (0.75 cup)
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 25mg1%
Potassium 373mg11%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 1199IU24%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    March 10, 2020 at 4:27 am

    5 stars
    Yes! I love a good orzo pasta salad, and the asparagus and tomatoes in here just scream spring to me. I’m so ready for a recipe like this as a side dish to a good grilled meal! Definitely keeping this one on the short list, Kathy…it sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      March 10, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks! And spring is coming!!!

  • Reply
    Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    March 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    5 stars
    Love these fresh flavours, Kathy! And pasta salads are so delicious!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    March 6, 2020 at 6:19 am

    5 stars
    I just love orzo pasta so this salad is right up my alley! Plus, it’s giving my all sorts of spring-time vibes, which I’m super happy about (we have more snow coming this weekend). Bring on spring, I say! Pinned and trying this one out soon 🙂 Happy weekend!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      March 6, 2020 at 6:51 am

      I’m so ready for spring, but sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate! At least it can be springtime in your kitchen!

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