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Easy Lemon Orzo Broccoli Salad

Make this Orzo Broccoli salad for an easy, plant-based family-meal. Full of fresh, spring vegetables and beans, this cold broccoli and orzo salad is filling and quick!

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I usually prefer warm pasta dishes to cold, but this orzo broccoli salad has changed my mind. It’s the perfect blend of crunchy, creamy, tangy and savory.

I love to just throw all the colors and veggies into this lemon orzo pasta salad with asparagus because it’s just bursting with spring flavors.

There’s just something refreshing about looking at a colorful salad, and then enjoying it at family gatherings, summer BBQs, or even a relaxing family dinner night.

Broccoli orzo salad in clear bowl with asparagus, tomatoes, olives and goat cheese

Broccoli orzo salad is a nutritious, versatile, and delicious cold pasta salad option that fits well with the casual, laid-back nature of summer meals.

Low prep, easy, quick and flavorful – on par with my 10 minute low prep brown rice and quinoa salad!

This delicious broccoli asparagus salad is the epitome of spring and summer!

There are some definite greek flavors going on, but it just tastes so good as a side dish or main meal.

sarah schlichter drinking smoothie on kitchen counter

Why Sarah Loves this Recipe

Orzo broccoli salad is a great recipe for spring and summer gatherings. It’s light, yet the perfect combination of tangy and savory, is ready in under 20 minutes and makes for a great side dish or light main meal!”

I feel that as a vegetable, asparagus gets looked over as a key salad ingredient! I mean, I forget about it often as well.

I really ove it cooked in my asparagus mushroom quiche recipe.

But, when chopped up, it’s a great firm add-in for this broccoli orzo salad.

When you cut it up, the flavor expands and it takes on the lemon flavor so well.

chopped broccoli on wooden cutting board

Why You Should Make This Orzo Broccoli Salad

We love this creamy broccoli and orzo salad with goat cheese for so many reasons!

  • Easy and Quick – Don’t you love easy weeknight recipes that are ready so quickly? Orzo cooks in less than 8-10 minutes, plus canned beans are instantaneous! Make it a quick side for chicken tenders.
  • Full of flavor – Picture creamy goat cheese, a squeeze of lemon, charred broccoli and asparagus, orzo pasta, and white beans together. So so good, and can even be topped with this pine nut free pesto!
  • Customize it how you like! Leave the white beans out, or substitute them with garbanzo beans, or even your favorite meat or soy product. Tofu or rotisserie chicken pair really well in this orzo broccoli salad.
  • Enjoy it warm or cold – Orzo is technically a pasta, but it looks and acts like a grain. So, you can enjoy it warm or as a cold orzo salad.
  • Great for a summer BBQ or picnic – Because you can enjoy it cold, it’s a great bring-along for any summer gathering, picnic or BBQ. I’ll usually opt to bring this salad and my favorite silken tofu brownies.
broccoli and asparagus salad with orzo on blue plates for serving

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this orzo and broccoli salad.

  • orzo – Orzo is a pasta, but acts more like a grain, making it a great base for this goat cheese orzo salad. If you don’t have orzo, you could use rice or any whole grains. I like couscous because it has a similar texture. Check out this vegan couscous salad to see!
  • broccoli florets – You can use frozen or fresh broccoli, but I prefer the texture of fresh,.
  • asparagus – A great way to use spring asparagus! Frozen asparagus will also work, just microwave it ahead of time. It may not retain the hard structure if you do microwave.
  • lemon – The lemon zest adds some acidity and a light refreshing touch for this summer orzo salad.
  • white beans – White beans are the main protein source here to add some sustainance without an overpowering taste. They mesh nicely with the orzo and lemon flavor. You could also use garbanzo beans, tofu or chicken.
  • tomato – Grape tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine both work well.
  • kalamata olives – My favorite pitted olives add a nice saltiness to the salad.
  • goat cheese – Brie or feta cheese are great replacements.
ingredients in bowls to make broccoli orzo salad

Fresh lemon and asparagus, complimented by spring and summer tomatoes, salty olives, orzo and a creamy lemon honey dressing.

It’s so forgiving that this cold broccoli pasta salad is a great way to use up any leftovers in your fridge or garden.

The lemon vinaigrette dressing, made with lemon juice, honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, just blends all of the flavors together so perfectly.

RECIPE TIP

If you don’t have orzo, any short pasta or grain will do. You could even use a store-bought pasta mixture or pasta salad kit!


Additional Topping Ideas for Broccoli Asparagus Salad

Want to switch up the toppings or try something new? Here are some ideas!

  • pine nuts, pistachios or pecans – Crunchy nuts not only provide some plant protein, but also healthy fats and satisfaction
  • pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • diced red bell peppers
  • sun-dried tomatoes – I love adding them to every fresh pasta salad I make!
  • fresh mint or basil – Really any fresh herbs from your garden will complete the summer flavor!
  • red onion
  • freshly ground pepper or red pepper flakes, if you like some spice!
  • parmesan cheese – I love this in addition to the creamy goat cheese but you can totally substitute it!

Make sure to scroll down for the full recipe!

How to Make Orzo Broccoli Salad

You’ll begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Remember, the orzo cooks quickly so this orzo salad recipe does not take long!

pan with cooked orzo in it

While the orzo is cooking, you’ll boil your asparagus and broccoli in another pot of water.

Once everything is cooked and cooled, combine the orzo, broccoli, asparagus, white beans, garlic, olives, tomatoes and goat cheese in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

Add dressing if you desire!

broccoli orzo pasta salad combined in clear bowl

To make the lemon vinaigrette dressing, combine and whisk honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a large bowl.

You could also use red wine vinegar in place of balsamic vinegar.

If you want the lemon honey dressing to be sweeter, use more honey.

If you want it less sweet, you can use less honey and more lemon juice.

clear bowl with veggies and broccoli orzo salad
orzo broccoli salad in gray bowl

RECIPE TIPS

  • If you plan on storing this in the fridge, don’t overload it with dressing or it will get soggy. A little bit goes a long way with the lemon dressing.
  • You can cook orzo ahead of time and even freeze it!
  • If adding dressing, add it before the pasta completely cools down as it will start to clump. If you add when it is slightly warm, the dressing will spread out much easier.
  • While this dish has 16 grams of protein per serving, add in some more protein with a light option, like chicken, tofu or tuna.

FAQ

How to store Broccoli Orzo Salad

Store this broccoli orzo salad in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. If you plan on enjoying with dressing, reserve some to pour over when eating so it’s not soggy.

Can you make the orzo ahead of time?

Yes, you can make orzo ahead of time. After cooking, let it cool completely and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it.

Can you use frozen broccoli?

Yes, frozen broccoli will work just as well in this orzo broccoli salad.

clear bowl with veggies and broccoli orzo salad
Yield: 4 servings

Easy Orzo Broccoli Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This easy broccoli orzo salad is a great make ahead summer recipe that's accented with a delicious lemon honey dressing. It's ready in minutes and the best way to enjoy an orzo salad with broccoli.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup orzo pasta
  • 1 head of broccoli (about 2-3 cups), cut into small florets
  • 6 oz asparagus, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ cup pitted olives
  • 2 oz goat cheese, for topping
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • Squeeze of lemon (or 2 tsp lemon juice)

Lemon Honey Dressing

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook orzo pasta according to directions.
  2. In another pot of boiling water, add broccoli florets and diced asparagus and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Once orzo, broccoli and asparagus are cooked, combine orzo, broccoli florets and asparagus in a large serving bowl.
  4. Add white beans, garlic, olives and tomatoes in a bowl. Top with goat cheese, and season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
  5. Add the dressing, if desired.

Notes

The dressing is very light since the salad is already so flavorful. A little goes a long way!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 720mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 16g

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  1. I served this recently at a family get-together and everyone loved it! Thanks for such a great recipe!

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