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This entire veggie-laden pasta salad recipe can come together within 20 minutes. While you are bringing the water to a boil, trim and slice the sugar snap peas and asparagus. Cook the orzo, and add the vegetables to the orzo for the last couple of minutes of cooking time. Then drain and rinse everything together in cold water to stop the cooking, and lock in the green color of the Spring vegetables.

While the pasta cooks, make the very simple dressing. Add the cooled orzo, asparagus, and sugar snap peas and toss. Done. The salad turns out delightful, straightforward, and fresh. if you’re cooking for a vegetarian or vegan audience, pair it with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms or a hearty Turkish Chickpea Salad instead. Scroll down for meatier main course options!

Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad in an oblong, yellow bowl.

Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad Recipe: This cheery, fresh green-and-white orzo salad features asparagus and sugar snap peas.

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Ingredients

Snap peas, asparagus, orzo, and other ingredients for a fresh spring salad.
  • Orzo – The rice-shaped pasta at the heart of many of my favorite pasta salads, from Chicken Piccata Orzo Salad to Spinach Orzo Salad.
  • Asparagus – You can use thick or thin asparagus; just give skinny asparagus a shorter time in the pasta water.
  • Sugar snap peas – Sugar snap peas add such a lovely sweetness and crunch to this salad.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar – White wine or white balsamic vinegar both work well here. The most important thing is that you add that bright acidity, but use a clear vinegar so the dressing doesn’t muddy the brilliant green of your veggies.
  • Dijon mustard – A bit of Dijon adds a touch of kick.
  • Honey – See variations below if you’re vegan and you don’t do honey.
  • Thyme – Chopped, fresh thyme makes all the difference here.
Woman scooping Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad onto a glass plate.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Skip the honey or add agave instead if you want this to be a purely vegan salad and you don’t eat honey.
  • This vegetarian salad would also be great with some non-vegan, non-vegetarian add-ins, like diced chicken or shrimp or crumbled feta or goat cheese.
  • Green chopped olives would be a lovely optional addition to this salad and would stick with the green-and-white color theme.
  • I also usually add shallots or onions to salads like this, and might do that next time I make it!
  • A handful of chopped parsley would also be very nice sprinkled on top (all-in on green and white)!
Oblong, yellow serving dish of Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad.

How to Cook Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad

  1. Cook orzo with asparagus and sugar snap peas: Cook the orzo according to package directions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus and sugar snap peas. Drain everything and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.
  2. Make dressing and toss: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, honey, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the cooled orzo with the vegetables and lightly toss to combine.
Salad of orzo, asparagus, and peas in a yellow serving dish.

FAQs

What is orzo?

Orzo is a pasta shaped like a grain. It often confuses people who assume it must be a type of rice. The word “orzo” translates to “barley” in Italian. For that reason, Italians cooking with orzo sometimes call the pasta shape “risoni,” which translates to “large rice grains,” just to avoid kitchen confusion.

Is vegetarian orzo salad also vegan?

The answer to this depends on your definition of vegan. This orzo salad uses honey, which some vegans choose to eat since it’s made by insects instead of animals, and others avoid because it is still an animal byproduct. If you’re a no-honey type of vegan and you want to modify this orzo salad, use agave instead.

What to Serve With Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad

Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb

Panko Crusted Fish with Tzatziki

Baked Chicken Legs with Herbs and Lemon

Green plate with Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad, meat, and beans.

More Orzo Recipes

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Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 People
This cheery, fresh green-and-white orzo salad features asparagus and sugar snap peas, two of the most loved vegetables of spring!

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces dried orzo
  • 1 pound thin asparagus (cut crosswise into about 1/2-inch pieces)
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas (trimmed and cut crosswise into about 1/2-inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Instructions 

  • Cook the orzo according to package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the asparagus and sugar snap peas. Drain everything and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Let it sit in the colander while you make the dressing.
  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, honey, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the cooled orzo with the vegetables and lightly toss to combine.

Notes

  • Skip the honey or add agave instead if you want this to be a purely vegan salad and you don’t eat honey.
  • This orzo salad would also be great with some non-vegan, non-vegetarian add-ins, like diced chicken or shrimp or crumbled feta or goat cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 36mg, Potassium: 376mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1095IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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