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Teeming with fresh herbs, bright lemon, tangy feta, crunchy salted pistachios, artichoke hearts, and tender asparagus, this orzo salad is the perfect spring side dish.

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Salads of all kinds are my jam. From grain salads like my healthy quinoa salad and potato salads like my Greek potato salad to pasta varieties like this Nicoise pasta salad, I love them all. This orzo salad is a prime example of my favorite kind of salad because it has everything—fresh veggies with bright herby zings alongside the salty crunch of roasted pistachios, and tangy feta cheese. And it couldn’t be simpler to make.

The orzo is cooked al dente with a quick blanch of the asparagus so it’s tender but still has a firm bite and keeps its pretty bright green color. Lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil make up the salad’s bright and zingy vinaigrette that doubles as a marinade for the canned artichoke hearts. Plenty of fresh dill and mint brings an herbaceous punch, feta cheese adds a creamy tang, and roasted, salted pistachios knock it out of the park with an addictive crunch. I love how quickly and easily this vegetarian salad comes together, and how you can eat it at room temp, or chill it for a while and let those flavors meld. It’s super delicious either way and makes for an awesome picnic or potluck side or a lovely lunch.

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What’s in This Orzo Salad

This orzo salad is teeming with fresh, vibrant flavor thanks to lemon zest and juice, herbaceous dill and mint, tangy feta, and salty, crunchy pistachios. It’s the perfect way to put fresh spring asparagus to great use. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Orzo
  • Kosher salt
  • Asparagus
  • Lemon (both zest and juice)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Canned artichoke hearts (I choose quartered artichoke hearts then cut then in half again)
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh mint
  • Roasted, salted pistachios
  • Feta cheese—choose the kind sold as a block kept fresh in water
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How to Make Orzo Salad

This orzo salad can be whipped up quickly and easily and enjoyed at room temperature or chilled. If making it ahead of time, that’s great! The flavors get even better after they’ve had time to mingle for an hour or up to two days ahead of serving.

Here’s how to make it:

Chop the asparagus and slice the artichoke hearts. In this salad, I like to use thin asparagus cut into ½ to 1-inch pieces. If using thick asparagus, make the pieces a little smaller so they’re bite size. For the most flavor, keep the bulb part of the artichoke heart intact so the leaves don’t separate and disappear into the salad.

Cook the orzo and blanche the asparagus. This step is a two-fer. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. Add the orzo and cook for about 8 minutes or until tender and al dente. Add the chopped asparagus to the orzo and cook for 1-2 minutes then drain. This keeps the asparagus bright and green while eliminating that raw taste.

Make the zesty vinaigrette. While the orzo cooks, add the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt to a large serving bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add the artichoke hearts to the dressing and stir to coat so they absorb the flavor.

Assemble the salad. Once the orzo and asparagus are ready, drain them then add them to a serving bowl. Add the artichoke hearts and toss to combine. Wait a few minutes to let everything cool down, then stir in the dill, mint, and feta. Top with chopped pistachios just before serving.

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Is Orzo a Pasta or Rice?

Orzo is a pasta and its petite size lends itself well to salads like this one. It’s one of my favorites to use in recipes like my Mediterranean Orzo Salad and even as a substitute for rice in this Lemony Orzo Faux Risotto.

More Asparagus Recipes to Try

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More Pasta Salads You’ll Love

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