Orzo Primavera with Fresh Herbs

I made this simple spring salad as a side dish for dinner with my family over Memorial Day weekend.  I love a good orzo salad, and this is one of my new favorites because it’s tangy and fresh and would go with pretty much everything! I blanched the asparagus and the sugar snaps to cook them a bit while maintaining their crisp and beautiful vibrant green color.  If you have time, it’ll taste better if it can sit in the fridge for at least an hour, even better if overnight. This would be great as a main dish with some roast chicken or turkey.

DSC_0460What to buy (serves 5-6):

  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

What to do:

  • place a large pot of water over high heat
  • when water boils, blanch vegetables, cooking to taste (I blanched the asparagus and sugar snaps very briefly, about 1 minute)
  • reuse cooking water if you like to cook the orzo according to package directions
  • mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until combined
  • transfer cooked orzo, blanched vegetables and fresh herbs to a large mixing bowl, and stir in dressing until pasta is well coated
  • chill in fridge until ready to serve chilled or at room temperature DSC_0451
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