Spring Orzo Salad with Arugula, Asparagus, Pine Nuts
This spring orzo salad is full of bright and fresh flavors that will make you happy from the very first bite! Crisp asparagus, spicy arugula, and flavorful pine nuts are all dressed in a basil lemon vinaigrette. It’s a huge hit every time! Make it for your next party, you won’t regret it!
I first made this spring orzo salad in December. Totally out of season at the time, but still completely delicious. If you remember, I talked about my cooking club in the past, and this was a recipe I made for our Christmas cooking club when we let the husbands tag along. Needless to say, it was a hit, along with all the other food the rest of the group made.
No one cared that asparagus wasn’t in season at the time. They only cared about the fresh and bright flavors of this pasta salad. They cared about the peppery arugula, the salty artichokes, the irresistible pine nuts, and the bright citrus herb dressing. Or at least I’m guessing they did. I sure did!
We had some leftovers of this salad the next day and it tasted fantastic leftover, too. I might have eaten it for breakfast. Ben always gives me the side-eye when I eat stuff like this for breakfast but I don’t let it stop me from living my best life.
This is one of my favorite pasta salads for summer, and I think you guys will love it just as much. I love orzo salads! I looked through my recipe archives at my other orzo salad recipes and it appears I have a problem. But if loving orzo salad is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
We have Bruschetta Orzo Salad (another one of my faves!), Creamy Southwestern Orzo Salad (this one is always a HUGE hit!), Orzo Salad Recipe with Yogurt Dill Dressing, and Greek Orzo Salad with Shrimp.
I love how orzo pasta fits right on your fork with whatever else may be in the salad – you always get a little bit of everything in one bite. However, if orzo isn’t your favorite or you don’t have it stocked in your pantry, you can always substitute with any pasta shape you’re smitten with. It’s definitely an area of this spring orzo salad recipe where there is some flexibility.
I have a guide on how to toast pine nuts, as well as the dressing recipe I use in this recipe, a bright and tangy lemon basil vinaigrette dressing. It all comes together perfectly and I cannot wait to make this all spring and summer long!
- Buy artichokes that are packed in water – try to avoid the kind packed in oil or brine.
- Add pine nuts immediately prior to serving. This salad is best served immediately or within a few hour. It tastes great leftover, but the pine nuts do get a bit soggy and the arugula will wilt. Doesn’t stop me from eating the leftovers for a couple days, but you should be aware of it.
Make it a meal!
This spring orzo salad would be absolutely fantastic (like so, so, so good) topped with grilled chicken or grilled salmon for a complete summer meal! It would serve 4-6 if plated in this manner.
Make this spring Orzo Salad tonight!
You will LOVE IT.
Looking for more salads? Try:
- Asparagus Panzanella Salad
- Arugula Salad Recipe — a simple classic
- Fattoush Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad with pepperoni and Italian vinaigrette
- Taco Salad
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with crispy chickpeas
- Spring Salad with asparagus, grapefruit, and avocado
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 8 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 bunch (16 oz.) asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- 5 oz. baby arugula
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup pine nuts (toast them first for best flavor)
Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- 1 cup (2 oz.) fresh basil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook according to package directions. Two minutes before orzo is fully cooked, add asparagus to the pan to cook. Drain orzo and asparagus; rinse with cold water until cool; drain well.
- Meanwhile, make dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. Makes ¾ cup dressing.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, asparagus, artichoke hearts, arugula, and parmesan cheese. Add the lemon basil vinaigrette, stir to coat. Add the pine nuts right before serving the salad.
- Serve immediately, garnished with lemon wedges, if desired.
- If you don't have time to make the vinaigrette, purchase lemon basil dressing (Newman's Own, Wishbone, or another brand). You'll need ¾ cup (6 oz.).
- Substitution ideas or add-ins: baby spinach, peas, sugar snap peas, feta cheese, fresh mint leaves, parsley.
- Learn how to toast pine nuts (3 methods).
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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