Orzo and Asparagus Salad

I’ve been out of town – on vacation for spring break, visiting J – until yesterday. Vacation was FANTASTIC, but I’m awfully glad to be back in my own kitchen. Eating out is fun, but when you do it for a solid week, you start to crave something homemade.

This Orzo and Asparagus Salad is something that I adapted from this recipe over at Feasting at Home. It is light but filling enough to be a dinner, it can be served warm or cold, and it has a lovely combination of the acidity from the dressing and the olives balanced by the pasta and the feta. Oh, and it is pretty healthy, too. (Except, carbs, yeah yeah whatever I need my pasta.)

Prep and cook time: ~30 minutes

Servings: 4

What you’ll need:

1 bunch of asparagus

1 1/2 cups of orzo, uncooked

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup feta cheese

2 green onions, finely chopped

For the Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus (if you’ve never done this before, it is very easy – you can just snap the bottom inch or so off with your hands). Put some tin foil on a cookie sheet, spread the asparagus out on the tin foil, give them a light coating of olive oil, and put in them in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the asparagus is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the orzo according to the package directions (about 10 minutes). Drain the orzo and put it in a large bowl. Chop up the green onions and the olives.

Make the dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the asparagus is done, chop it up into bite sized pieces. Mix the asparagus, onion, and olives in the bowl with the orzo. Mix in the dressing. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve warm, or cover and chill.

After a wonderful week of gourmet meals at fancy restaurants (ok, and a couple not so fancy ones that might have included several colorful cocktails), it was so relaxing to cook a simple meal in my own kitchen. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

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