Springtime Asparagus and Orzo Salad

ysm asparagusWe have finally made it through winter! The grass is becoming greener, the trees are sprouting, and warmer days are ahead! Once it becomes warm my ideal options for meals change. I want to eat lighter food that generally can be made ahead and eaten at room temperature. This is where I start to get really creative when it comes to making the perfect springtime pasta salad. Pasta salad is a great option to remember, because they are super easy to make and you usually can use random ingredients that are already in your pantry. They are also great because the longer they sit, the tastier they become. They are great option to take with you to the park, or even to work for a snack.

This pasta salad is loaded with flavor and is really pretty once assembled. It contains asparagus, cherry tomatoes, red onions and lots of other delicious ingredients that will leave you feeling deliciously satisfied, but not heavy and full.

Asparagus is an amazing ingredient to add to your diet, especially this time of year when it is in season. Like any other dark green vegetable, asparagus contains zeaxanthin, which is a key nutrient for optimum eye health. Zeaxanthin protects the eye from harmful occurrences that may happen in the eye. Zeaxanthin is a nutrient found in many eye medications too. Asparagus also contains vitamin C and E that are also very beneficial for eye health as well as zeaxanthin. Adding asparagus to your weekly diet will ensure healthy eyes all year long.

 

Springtime Asparagus and Orzo Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 bundles of asparagus, trimmed/cut on a bias
  • ½ large red onion, small dice
  • 1 crate cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Herb de Provence
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Prepare orzo to package instructions. Drain when properly cooked and pour into large boll with a drizzle of olive oil to ensure pasta does not stick.
  2. Cook asparagus that has been sliced at a bias in boiling, salted water until slightly cooked for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water and shock in bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Dice red onion, halve cherry tomatoes and mince garlic. Place into another bowl along with cooked and cooled asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and add white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
  4. Allow those components to marinate for a couple of minutes before pouring everything into large bowl with the orzo. Mix everything together. Adjust the seasoning and add extra olive oil if needed. Add parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve along side a deliciously grilled piece of chicken, or you can enjoy it by itself.

*Feta cheese would be delicious as well. You could even throw in some fresh basil leaves and arugula for an added delicious touch.