Orzo Asparagus Salad

Orzo Asparagus Salad

It’s not too often that when I walk through the produce section of my favorite food co-op and then all of a sudden stop dead in my tracks…  What caught my eye were these gorgeous stems of locally grown organic purple asparagus.  I’ve never seen or even heard of purple asparagus before.  I’ve prepared green and white asparagus dozens of times but never the purple variety.  What a treat!  I snagged a big huge handful and put them it in my basket.

I gotta tell you that purple asparagus is not completely purple…  When you slice it, it has a light greenish white center and the outside of the stems turn purple to greenish purple as you cook them.  Purple asparagus is as tender and tastes the same as green asparagus.  With my new found prize, I decided to make an Orzo Asparagus Salad as a side dish with our grilled salmon for dinner this evening.  If I happened to have any leftovers, I will pack it in my lunch tomorrow.

After preparing my Orzo Asparagus Salad and as I was waiting for Bruce to come home from work, I thought I’d head outdoors with my camera to capture a few shots of late spring flowers and plants…

A variety of “double” columbine.  Notice the two layers of petals?

A “single” petaled columbine.  It’s just simply beautiful!  It’s one of my favorite perennial flowers.

Now back to what’s going on in my kitchen… My Orzo Asparagus Salad is a brightly colored spring dish that is easy to make and tastes wonderful.  It’s made with orzo pasta, locally grown purple asparagus, chopped red onion, crisp red bell pepper, Roma tomato, hand picked herbs from my garden such as oregano, basil and parsley, kalamata olives, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil and then topped with crumbled feta cheese.  Makes about 4 – 6 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 cup orzo pasta (cook to manufacturer’s direction)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped asparagus (I used purple but, you can use what you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese

Begin by cooking the orzo pasta according to manufacturer’s direction (or 7 minutes in salted boiling water).  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well and set aside.  Meanwhile, bring another salted pot of water to a boil.  Add asparagus and cook for about two to three minutes.  Drain and set aside.  In a medium sized mixing bowl add cooked orzo, cooked asparagus, bell pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, onion, basil, parsley and oregano.  Lightly toss.  In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to salad and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until well chilled. Put in a serving dish and top with feta cheese.

16 thoughts on “Orzo Asparagus Salad

  1. Lasuch w kuchni

    I have never seen purple asparagus. As you write, green and white versions are regular in my kitchen but until your post I did not know that purple version exists. Orzo salad is a great summer option. I like it and I must prepare it. It will be great for lunch at work:-)

    1. Tessa

      Hi Joanna! I’m going to check the co-op after work today and see if they have any more of that asparagus. I want to grill some up!

    1. Tessa

      Thank you Tia! I’m gonna be trying your strawberry chipotle sauce next weekend at our first backyard BBQ of the season!

  2. Sissi

    Beautiful photos! It’s such a coincidence, but last week I almost bought purple asparagus too! I saw it for the first time on my market and thought it was really gorgeous.
    Your salad looks delicious and the choice of orzo pasta is perfect here. I must buy it more often because it seems ideal for salads.

    1. Tessa

      Thank you Sissi! Next time you see it, it’s worth trying. However, I noticed that with the leftover orzo asparagus salad the next day, the purple hue of the asparagus disappeared rapidly.

  3. mjskit

    Gorgeous pictures of the asparagus, flowers and salad!!! I don’t think I’ve seen purple asparagus either. It’s beautiful! What a great salad! I love making salads with orzo and this one would not be an exception. It sounds delicious!

    1. Tessa

      Thank you MJ! I was supposed to stop by the co-op today and look for some more. I could not break away… However, tomorrow is another day :).

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