I love a meal that physically makes me feel good after eating it. You know that feeling of eating healthy and not feeling weighed down after a meal? Instead you feel energized and more excited to take on the rest of the day? Well that’s how this pasta salad made me feel after I ate a portion of it for lunch today. I love to make good choices when eating and I’m a big fan of a healthy lunch every day. I usually have my same old boring salad, but from time to time I’ll switch it up and throw in something different. *insert this orzo salad* This vegetarian pasta salad can be eaten on its own as a meal or as a side dish. It’s packed with broccoli, asparagus, onion, tomatoes, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. The orzo salad is then tossed with a sweet honey lemon vinaigrette. All together it forms this salty/sweet/earthy salad that I am absolutely obsessing over. I made a similar salad this past summer and just knew I needed to recreate for Café Christina.
If you’re scared that this said won’t fill you up, then you can always add a protein of your choice to it. Grilled chicken or bacon would pair perfectly with all the elements in this salad. You could also add arugula or kale as a filling agent. If you happen to add lettuce or a protein, add a little more lemon vinaigrette along with it.
Although it’s January, this pasta salad will be wonderful all year round (especially when grilling season is back!). There’s nothing better than bbq and pasta salad. There’s something about smokey bbq paired with a fresh pasta salad that screams, “summer!”.
LEMON ORZO SALAD WITH BROCCOLI + ASPARAGUS
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 14 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4-6 side portions
INGREDIENTS for pasta:
- 1 cup dried orzo pasta
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1.5 cups broccoli, broken down
- 10 pieces of asparagus, ends removed and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced paper thin
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, diced in half
- 1/4 cup basil, chiffonade cut
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in turmeric and orzo pasta. Cook till al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Transfer orzo to a large bowl.
- Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add in broccoli and asparagus. Cook the vegetables for 60 seconds then drain. Immediately toss into a bowl of cold ice water. This will stop the cooking process and keep the vegetables bright green and slightly tender. Let the vegetables sit for about 2 minutes until chilled. Transfer to paper towels and blot dry.
- Add cooked broccoli and asparagus to the orzo. Also add in cherry tomatoes, basil and toasted pine nuts. Toss with about 1/2 cup (more or less to taste) of the lemon vinaigrette (recipe below).
INGREDIENTS for lemon vinaigrette:
- 1/2 lemon, juice and zest of
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1.5 tsp honey
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk till smooth in texture.