We love outdoor eating, and as temperatures rise in Northern Indiana, we've been honing our pasta salad line-up for the picnic season. Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta is an edgier alternative to the traditional picnic classic. In our pasta salad, we replaced the larger pasta with small rice shaped orzo, added crunchy asparagus, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, and tossed it with an assertive garlicky lemon vinaigrette, herbs and feta. Enjoy this early picnic season with Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta.
For other grain based picnic ready salads try our Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad, Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus.
Yield: serves 6-8 as a side
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 stalks green onions, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
- 6 ounces feta, crumbled or cubed
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Cook the orzo according to the package's instructions (about 7 minutes). Make sure to boil the orzo in quite a bit of water, as orzo absorbs a lot. Drain the cooked orzo and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- While the orzo is cooking, cook the asparagus. To do this you can either use a steamer, or drop the asparagus briefly in boiling water and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- For the vinaigrette: mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and honey, whisk well to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the hot cooked orzo and mix to distribute. Allow the orzo mixture to cool to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
- Once the orzo has reached room temperature, add the additional salad ingredients (asparagus, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, green onions, dill, and feta).
- Mix the salad together gently to evenly distribute, serve at room temperature. This salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, and tastes best at room temperature.