Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Spinach

Orzo salad with asparagus and spinach – a quick and healthy pasta salad full of vegetables and flavor.  In less than 20 minutes dinner is on the table.

This orzo salad with asparagus and spinach is one of my favorite ways to serve orzo pasta. 

I make this orzo salad all the time – it’s quick to make, healthy and full of flavor – all my favorite things in a recipe.

This recipe is super easy to make.  The orzo and asparagus are cooked together at the same time in one pot.  When the orzo and asparagus are ready, they are added to the fresh spinach mixture and tossed until the spinach wilts.

How to make orzo salad with asparagus and spinach:

Side by side photo of spinach, olives, walnuts and red onion in a white bowl.

1. While the orzo and asparagus are cooking, add chopped spinach, kalamata olives, red onion and walnuts to a large bowl.  Add half the dressing, stir to combine and let sit until the orzo and asparagus are done.

Side by side photos of orzo, asparagus and spinach mixture in a white bowl with a wood spoon.

2. When the orzo and asparagus are ready, drain and add directly to the spinach mixture in the bowl.  Add remaining dressing and stir the hot orzo, asparagus and spinach together for a minute or two until the spinach wilts.

Side by side photo of orzo, asaparagus, spinach salad with feta cheese on top.

3. Add feta cheese, gently stir to combine and you’re ready to serve.

What is orzo?

  • Orzo may look like rice, but it is a small oval shaped pasta that you can find in the pasta aisle at the local market .
  • Orzo is also know as risoni.
  • Orzo expands as it cooks, so it may not look like a lot when you first measure it out but it doubles in size when cooked.
  • Besides pasta dishes, orzo can also be added to soup – it’s a great addition to broth based soups.

Orzo pasta salad in a white bowl with a wood spoon.

Additional ingredients you can add to this recipe:

  • Want to add more veggies to this dish?  Then try adding minced sun-dried tomatoes, sliced cherry tomatoes or marinated artichoke hearts.
  • If you want to boost the protein in this dish, black beans or chickpeas would be a great addition.

Tips for making this recipe:

  • This recipe comes together quickly, so prep all your ingredients first.  Having everything ready will make assembling this dish a breeze.
  • You’ll be using only one pot for this recipe – the orzo and the asparagus cook together in the same pot.
  • You can make this orzo salad a day ahead if you want – it holds up well in the fridge.
  • I love orzo salads since they are so versatile – it works as a main dish or a side dish.  It’s good warm or cold.  Leftovers are perfect to pack up for lunch the next day.
  • I used the Dececco brand of pasta – their orzo is a bit smaller than regular orzo.  But regular orzo will work just fine in this recipe.

Are you looking for more spring recipes?  Then try one of these reader favorites.

Want to stay in touch?  You can subscribe to receive free recipes or find me on Pinterest and Instagram too.

If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please come back and leave a comment and rating.  I’d love to hear from you!

Print

Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Spinach

Orzo salad with asparagus and spinach – a quick and healthy pasta salad full of vegetables and flavor.  In less than 20 minutes dinner is on the table.

  • Author: Geraldine
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 19 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked orzo

1 veggie bouillon cube

12 oz bunch of asparagus

3 cups fresh baby spinach – roughly chopped

1/4 cup walnut pieces

12 kalamata olives – chopped

1/4 cup red onion – finely minced

2 oz feta cheese – diced

Dressing

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs red wine vinegar

1 minced garlic clove

8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

As you bring a large pot of water to a boil, prep all your ingredients.  Snap off tough ends of the asparagus and cut into bites sized pieces.  Roughly chop spinach, chop up the olives, mince the red onion and dice the feta cheese.

Once the water comes to a boil, add orzo and bouillon cube.  Cook orzo for the amount of time on the package.

You are going to be cooking the orzo and asparagus together in the same pot.  Add the asparagus to the orzo when there are 4 minutes of cooking time left before the orzo is done.

Add chopped spinach, walnuts, kalamata olives and minced red onion to a large bowl.

Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss half the dressing over the spinach mixture and stir to combine.  Set the remaining dressing aside.

When the orzo and asparagus are ready, drain and add directly to the spinach mixture in the bowl. 

Add the remaining dressing to the orzo, asparagus and spinach mixture.

Stir everything together for a minute or two until the spinach wilts.

Add feta and gently stir to combine.

Serves 2 as a main meal and 4 as a side dish.

Notes

You are cooking the orzo and asparagus together in the same pot.  Follow the cooking time on the box of orzo.  You’ll be adding the asparagus to the orzo 4 minutes before the orzo is done cooking.  So if your orzo takes 11 minutes to cook then you will want to add the asparagus after the orzo has cooked for 7 minutes.

If your asparagus is on the thin side, add it to the orzo 3 minutes before the orzo is done.

Nutrition info is based on 4 side servings.

If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please come back and leave a comment and rating.  I’d love to hear from you!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 of 4
  • Calories: 383
  • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Fat: 20.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.6g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 12.5g
  • Cholesterol: 13mg

 

Subscribe

Never Miss a Recipe
from Green Valley Kitchen!

32 comments on “Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Spinach

  1. Ginette

    I used balsamic vinegar in lieu of red wine vinegar. Switched toasted pine nuts for walnuts and arugula for spinach. Finally, added a chiffonnade of basil. Amazing result!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Ginette – Love hearing how you changed this recipe up! Thanks for leaving a comment and a rating – I really love to hear from readers how they liked the recipe!

      Reply
  2. Rosie

    It was amazing!!! I added some tomatoes I had on hand as well but it was perfect!!! It’s going to be my new go to salad!!!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Rosie – thanks so much for letting me know! I’ve been adding in tomatoes as well – you can change this up so easy – artichoke hearts would be a great add in also. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and rating – I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  3. Anita

    I made this for dinner this evening. My husband and I loved it! I didn’t use the bouillon as I need to watch my sodium intake. I added a little sea salt and Mrs. Dash onion & herb to the water when cooking the orzo and asparagus. I would never have thought to cook them both in the same pot, great idea! I served the salad with fresh wild salmon. It was a delicious combo! I am anxious for my daughter to try this salad. She is a vegetarian and I’m always looking for quick meals she can enjoy with us. Thank you, it’s a winner!!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Thanks so much for letting me know, Anita. So glad you and your husband enjoyed it – I’m sure your daughter will enjoy it too. If you have any leftovers, add some cherry tomatoes for an easy lunch!

      Reply
  4. Aimee

    I’m sooooo into orzo at the moment and this looks like it would compliment all those basic chicken dinners I’ve been making lately and maybe even bump them up a level from basic. Love this!

    Reply
  5. Sheila

    This is a fabulous recipe, the asparagus is bright green, the spinach melts into everything.The dressing is lovely and garlicky. Quite sensational.

    Reply
  6. Mimi

    Lovely. I always cook pasta and veggies, or potatoes and veggies together in the same pot! So smart! The ingredients are incredible. I like the spinach and asparagus combo.

    Reply
  7. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    I am loving this salad, Geraldine! I’m a huge fan of orzo… and asparagus and spinach for that matter, so this is right up my alley! I wish I had this for lunch AND dinner today! This is definitely a MUST try! Cheers!

    Reply
  8. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    For the love of Orzo!! I completely understand, Geraldine! And this salad.. so versatile, so many ways to enjoy. I’m all in and you know would love to take this on a picnic with me! Delicious work so beautifully captured… Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Lol, Traci – you made me laugh when you said “for the love of orzo” – that’s what I should have called this post! And yes to picnics!

      Reply
  9. Geraldine

    Hi Geraldine. Your delicious recipe caught my eye. I can’t wait to try it. I’m not used to making my own dressings, would I be able to substitute apple cider vinegar for the red wine vinegar? And is there a store-bought bottled dressing that could be comparable to the home-made for this recipe.

    Thank you for your input,
    a fellow Geraldine

    Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hello Geraldine! I haven’t tried apple cider vinegar so I don’t know how that would taste. There are some really good store dressings – I like the Annie’s Organics line. They have a red wine vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette – but I would add the crushed garlic and red pepper flakes as described in the recipe instructions. If you use store bought you’ll want about 4 tablespoons of dressing to cover the salad. Hope you try it!

      Reply
    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Annie – glad the dish is making you happy! I’ve been seeing a lot of asparagus in the market (at a good price) and knew this was the recipe to share! Hope you enjoy it.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.