Lemony Asparagus Orzo Pasta

Lemony Asparagus Orzo Pasta, an easy plant-based orzo pasta with fresh asparagus in a lemon, garlic, and herb sauce. Great served warm or cold!

a bowl of orzo pasta with asparagus and fresh herbs with a lemon on a table with a gold fork

Love the season’s fresh asparagus? Put it in a pasta! This light and flavorful orzo pasta is incredibly easy and comes together in only 25 minutes. It’s a great meal prep dish that’s tasty served warm or cold!

👉 Ready to learn how to make orzo with asparagus? Let’s do it!


🍋 Ingredients

  • Orzo: a thin and rice-shaped pasta, orzo is the base of this light pasta salad
  • Asparagus: fresh asparagus stalks (you can also use frozen) are pan-friend until browned, then mixed with the orzo
  • Herbs: fresh parsley and basil are chopped and mixed into the pasta
  • Olive oil: a light sauce is made with olive oil to coat the pasta; extra virgin is best
  • Lemon juice: either fresh juiced lemons or packaged lemon juice will work
  • Garlic: fresh minced cloves or pre-minced garlic are added to the lemon and oil sauce
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, dried red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast add flavor
  • Recommended tools: large dutch oven, cast iron skillet or other pan, small mixing bowls, whisk
asparagus, basil, parsley, lemons, garlic, and bowls of orzo and seasonings for orzo pasta
Ingredients: orzo, asparagus, herbs, oil, seasonings, garlic, lemons

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Mix lemon garlic herb sauce

Before cooking the orzo or asparagus, first make the olive-oil based sauce that you’ll season it with when finished (it’s best to have it ready for when the orzo is done cooking).

Do this by adding olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine. Then set aside while you cook the asparagus and orzo.

a bowl of olive oil with lemon juice and minced garlic with a whisk on a white table
Whisk olive oil, lemon, and garlic sauce

2️⃣ Step Two: Cook asparagus

Next it’s time to prep and cook the asparagus. First wash asparagus and then trim the ends, then cut the stalks diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces.

cut asparagus on a wood cutting board with a knife
Cut asparagus

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add a small amount of olive oil, then add the asparagus pieces and cook until they begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes, using a spatula to brown on all sides. When finished, remove from heat.

cooked asparagus pieces inside a pan
Pan fry asparagus until golden brown

3️⃣ Step Three: Cook orzo

While asparagus is cooking, heat a pot of salted water over high heat until boiling.

Add orzo and cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 7-8 minutes. When done, drain but do not rinse.

a colander with orzo on a table with fresh herbs
Cook and drain orzo

4️⃣ Step Four: Combine lemon sauce, asparagus, and orzo

When pasta is done, place the pan with asparagus back over medium heat and once it is heated, add the lemon garlic sauce to the pan to let it heat and let the garlic become fragrant.

Then add the orzo, chopped parsley, and nutritional yeast and mix until the sauce coats the pasta. Then serve and enjoy!

a pan with orzo and asparagus pasta with a wooden spoon
Mix orzo ingredients

🧊 How to store

  1. Refrigerator storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  2. Freezer storage: Store in a freezer-friendly container for up to 1 month. Thaw by removing from the freezer to the refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating.
  3. To reheat: Reheat in a pan or in the microwave; add a small amount of water to rehydrate the pasta if it is dry.
a bowl of lemon asparagus orzo with fresh herbs on a white table with a lemon

👉 More plant-based pasta salad recipes

Want more plant-filled pasta recipes? Try this Enoki Mushroom Orzo Salad or Vegan Fusilli Pasta Salad.

a bowl of lemon asparagus orzo with fresh herbs on a white table with a lemon

Lemony Asparagus Orzo Pasta

Kristina Todini, RDN
Lemony Asparagus Orzo Pasta, an easy plant-based orzo pasta with fresh asparagus in a lemon, garlic, and herb sauce. Great served warm or cold!
5 stars (2 ratings)
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 208 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pot
  • 1 large pan
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 knife

Ingredients
  

  • ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 whole garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pound asparagus about 1 bunch
  • 1 pound dry orzo pasta about 2 cups dry orzo
  • ½ cup parsley chopped
  • ½ cup basil chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Instructions
 

  • Make lemon garlic herb sauce: Add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine.
  • Cook asparagus: Wash asparagus and then trim the ends, then cut the stalks diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add a small amount of olive oil, then add the asparagus pieces and cook until they begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes, using a spatula to brown on all sides. When finished, remove from heat.
  • Cook orzo: While asparagus is cooking, heat a pot of salted water over high heat until boiling. Add orzo and cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 7-8 minutes. When done, drain but do not rinse.
  • Combine ingredients: When pasta is done, place the pan with asparagus back over medium heat and once it is heated, add the lemon garlic sauce to the pan to let it heat and let the garlic become fragrant. Then add the orzo, chopped parsley, and nutritional yeast and mix until the sauce coats the pasta. Then serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make ahead: This orzo pasta is a great meal to prep ahead. Make it up to 4-5 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. It’s also great served warm or cold.
  • Leftovers and storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. To freeze, store in a freezer-friendly container for up to 1 month. Thaw by removing from the freezer to the refrigerator for 24 hours before reheating.
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is an estimate and is calculated using all ingredients, as written. It uses all plant-based ingredients, which makes it suitable for vegan diets. This recipe is not gluten free as the orzo contains gluten.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 5gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 424mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2446IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 4mg
Keyword asparagus orzo pasta, orzo pasta
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