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Top down view of a bowl of orzo salad with a spoon tucked into the side.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Lemon Orzo Salad is refreshing and bold in flavor thanks to the lemon zest, umami packed sun-dried tomatoes and seasoned chickpeas. A light spring salad that’s easy to meal prep ahead of time.


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb asparagus, woody stems removed and then cut into smaller pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and divided
  • 2, 15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest, about 2 medium lemons
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry orzo
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 2 medium lemons
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste as desired
  • 1/4 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in herbs and oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or more to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and then add your orzo and allow your pasta to cook until al dente according to the package. Drain the pasta well and add it to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate large skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil, then add in the chopped asparagus and sauté until it starts to turn bright green, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add in half of your minced garlic and sauté again until fragrant. Pour in the chickpeas and continue to stir until the chickpeas warm through.
  4. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest and continue to sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, then add the mixture to the bowl of orzo and set aside to prepare the remaining ingredients.
  5. To a small jar or bowl, add in your remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 3 tablespoons oil and 2 crushed garlic cloves, tahini, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, oregano, and salt and stir well to combine.
  6. To your bowl of orzo, add your onion, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, parsley and top with the dressing. Give everything a good toss to coat. Adjust salt to taste and serve with extra grated lemon zest if desired.


Just drain your pasta, do not rinse with cold water. This will allow the dressing to better coat the orzo and also absorb more into the pasta, making it more flavorful.

Cook your orzo until al dente. If you overcook this pasta it will get gummy and stick together.

This salad can be enjoyed both warm or cold. You can enjoy this salad freshly made or allow it to sit and marinade in the fridge longer and enjoy cold.