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Lemon Garlic Orzo with asparagus in a bowl with spoon

Lemon Garlic Orzo with Asparagus

This light & easy lemony orzo with asparagus is a lovely spring side dish with a pop of fresh flavors.
AuthorKaitlin - The Garden Grazer
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Total Time:20 mins
CourseSide Dish
CuisineGluten-Free Option, Oil-Free, Vegan
Servings6 side servings


  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1 cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp. plus optional zest)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 green onions
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley (more to taste)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh basil, baby spinach, spring peas, cherry tomatoes, shallot, pine nuts, dairy-free parmesan for topping, etc.


  • 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 – I use a microplane grater/zester.)
  • Prepare asparagus: trim off woody ends, rinse, and cook as desired until just tender.* (See notes below for cooking options.)
  • 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.


*Two methods of steaming asparagus:
1. If you have a steamer basket, steam for about 3-7 minutes, depending on how thick the stalks are.
2. Place 1 cup water in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add asparagus, cover, and steam for 3-7 minutes or until stalks are just tender (taking care not to overcook!)
You could also grill, roast, or broil, etc. the asparagus – any will work for this recipe.
Gluten-free option: use GF orzo, or substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta, quinoa, or rice instead of the orzo.

Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)

Calories: 117 kcal | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 1 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Potassium: 274 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 1214 IU | Vitamin C: 24 mg | Calcium: 38 mg | Iron: 3 mg