An easy 6-ingredient recipe for Lemon Garlic Orzo with Asparagus! This is a lovely side dish especially in the springtime with seasonal asparagus. Plus it only takes 20 minutes to prepare.
This easy lemon orzo side dish highlights one of spring's finest harvests - asparagus!
Plus it is only 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to prepare.
It's such a simple dish but includes bright pops of flavor from the fresh lemon, garlic, and parsley. (You could even add a bit of lemon zest for more lemon flavor.)
Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Orzo
For this simple recipe you will toss together in a medium bowl:
- Fresh asparagus: You will need about one pound asparagus spears for this recipe. I like to snap or trim off the tough, woody ends before cooking. Usually I try to purchase spears of medium thickness, rather than too thin or too thick. You can look for spears that are firm with closed tips and bright color for best quality. Also be sure the ends are not dried out as this usually means they are past their prime freshness.
- Orzo pasta: Orzo is not gluten-free, so you can substitute with rice if needed (or a gluten-free orzo if you can find it).
- Green onions (scallions)
- Fresh parsley: I like parsley best in this recipe, but you can absolutely substitute other fresh herbs of choice.
- Fresh lemon juice: You will need about one large lemon or two smaller lemons.
- Garlic cloves
- Salt and black pepper to taste
I either lightly steam or sauté my asparagus to desired tenderness then drain. But this recipe works with whatever your cooking method, such as roasting, grilling, broiling, etc.
Need more guidance? Here's an article from The Spruce with 8 Ways to Cook Asparagus.
Herbs + greens: Stir in fresh basil or other fresh herbs, baby spinach, or arugula for a peppery kick.
Vegetables: Include other veggies like spring peas, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, etc.
Nuts + vegan cheese: Toss in pine nuts for crunch, vegan parmesan cheese, vegan feta cheese crumbles, etc.
Olive oil: I make this recipe oil-free, however feel free to toss in a tablespoon of olive oil if desired. (Or cook your asparagus with vegan butter for a richer taste.)
For more inspiration, also browse all vegan spring recipes.
Lemon Garlic Orzo with Asparagus
- 1 lb. asparagus
- 1 cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
- 2 green onions
- 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley (more to taste)
- Salt/pepper to taste
For the lemon-garlic dressing:
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon, plus optional zest)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- Cook orzo: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. (You can use vegetable broth for more flavor.) Add orzo, stir well, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Place minced garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. (Zest a bit of lemon peel first if desired.)
- Prepare asparagus: Trim off woody ends, rinse, and cook until just tender. (*See notes below for cooking suggestions.)
- When cooked, cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
- Roughly chop parsley, stems removed. Slice green onions.
- In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and pour lemon-garlic dressing on top. Toss to combine and salt/pepper to taste if desired.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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Looks amazing, can I cook it ahead and reheat it somehow? Thanks.
Hello Claire and thank you! Sure, this can be made ahead and simply reheated in the microwave if you wish. You could even squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on top before serving to brighten it up after reheating. Hope you enjoy!
LOVE this recipe!! Made a couple of changes. I cut and roasted my asparagus for speed. I also toasted my orzo to bring out the nutty flavor. I added chopped fresh spinach and parsley. After I had the asparagus in I added parmesan cheese. Added a little olive oil to the dressing and topped with toasted sliced almonds. So nutty and flavorful. I hope you don't mind.
Awesome Stacy! Absolutely love that you made this your own. It's always so fun to hear other people's creative variations. Thank you so much for sharing!
Can this be served room temperature? Would like to have it made just before company arrives!
Hi Barbara! Yes! We think it does well made a little ahead of time and served at room temp.
Yum, yum, yum! I think I may try this with risotto, as I'm not a fan of orzo. Thanks!
Kaitlin | The Garden Grazer