Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Spinach and Feta
Packed with veggies like asparagus, spinach, and olives and a sprinkling of toasted almonds and feta, Lemon Orzo Salad is easy to pull together! Finished with a lemony dressing, make it for lunch, an easy dinner, potlucks or picnics. vegetarian + easily vegan
Servings 6 - 7 Servings
For the Salad:
- 1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 C (185g) Orzo Pasta
- 1 3/4 C (410g) Vegetable Broth
- 1 lb (430g) Asparagus ends snapped, cut into bit size pieces
- 1/2 C (70g) Almonds blanched or whole
- 1 1/2 C (215g) Yellow Bell Pepper medium dice
- 3 C (105g) Spinach packed, then chopped
- 3/4 C (110g) Kalamata Olives quartered
- 1/2 C (85g) Feta crumbled
- 1/3 C (12g) Chives chopped fine, or use 3 green onions, chopped
- Fist-Full of Fresh Herbs such as Parsley and/or Basil curly or flat leaf, chopped fine
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt more to taste
- Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
- 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice from about 2 lemons (add up to another teaspoon for even more lemony goodness!)
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest about one lemon
- 2 tsp Fresh Garlic microplained or finely chopped, from about 2 medium cloves
For the Salad:
Cook the Orzo and Asparagus: In a large saute pan, heat the Olive Oil on medium heat until shimmering. Add the orzo and stir, coating the orzo thoroughly. Stir occasionally on medium low heat for about 3 minutes or until the orzo is toasty and golden. Add the vegetable broth. Be careful here because the broth will spit and sputter. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the asparagus. Relid and cook on low for another 4 or 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the asparagus is tender crisp. Stir. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and toast the almonds for about 8-9 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool. If using whole almonds, give em' a good rough chop. *Note: I use my toaster oven for this rather than heating up my big oven. The almonds can also be toasted on the stove top in a dry pan on medium heat. Toast for 2-4 minutes, depending on which variety of almond you use, and stir/toss frequently so that they toast evenly. Remove from heat and pan when fragrant and golden.
To Assemble the Salad:
To the chilled orzo and asparagus add the bell pepper, spinach, olives, chives (or green onions), almonds, herbs, salt and fresh ground pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to share, or in individual meal prep containers for up to four days.
Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 1285mg | Potassium: 500mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2540IU | Vitamin C: 82.7mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 3.4mg