This recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments where I am a contributor.
Goat Cheese Orzo Pasta Salad is great to serve for gatherings any time of year. Made with diced asparagus and creamy goat cheese, your guests will absolutely love this orzo pasta salad recipe.
I love pasta salads and especially enjoy making them when I have guests over. This orzo asparagus recipe is so easy to make, feeds a crowd, and is full of flavor.
Goat Cheese Orzo Recipe
Even if you’re not looking to cook this for guests, orzo pasta salad makes a great weeknight side dish or even full dinner.
This is a great recipe to make as a full meal since it’s so filling. You can do this by adding more fresh vegetables, like juicy tomatoes or protein packed peas.
Orzo is an underrated type of pasta in my opinion. It may look similar to rice (especially arborio rice) or couscous, as it’s a short pasta; but I assure you that you can find orzo in the pasta aisle at your local grocery store.
Orzo Pasta Salad Ingredients
This easy pasta salad recipe only needs a few ingredients. Although some of these ingredients may seem unique, they’re all easy to find at your local grocery store, along with the basic ingredients needed for this recipe.
Vegetable stock: you can use chicken broth if you prefer, but using broth instead of water really packs in the flavor.
Orzo: this delicious pasta is so easy to cook and my favorite for pasta salad.
Asparagus: for this recipe, I diced the asparagus to give the salad a unique texture while keeping everything bite sized. You can substitute or add to it with broccoli, peas, or spinach.
Creamy goat cheese: this brings the pasta salad together! Melding all of the ingredients in the creamy consistency of the cheese, while giving it a slightly tangy and mildly earthy flavor.
Olive oil: adding a splash of extra virgin olive oil will prevent the orzo from sticking to the pan while cooking.
Lemon juice: fresh lemon juice adds the hint of tang that we all crave in a pasta salad. Alternatively, you can add just a bit of lemon zest if you wish.
How to cook orzo in chicken broth
Normally, you would make orzo very much like you’d make any pasta or rice in a saucepan using water. In this recipe, we will be using vegetable broth but you can use chicken broth if you prefer, but any sort of broth will really add a nice flavor.
The process for making orzo with broth is exactly the same as using water. Just add the vegetable stock, orzo, and olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Once it begins to boil, add the diced asparagus and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until the orzo is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed.
If you find that your orzo is fully cooked before the liquid has been absorbed, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. If liquid still remains, drain it through a fine mesh strainer.
How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad
- Cook the orzo. Bring a medium saucepan with vegetable broth, orzo, and olive oil to boil, then add in the diced asparagus and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, stirring often until the orzo is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Toss with remaining ingredients. Remove the saucepan from heat and mix in the rest of the olive oil, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Serve and enjoy. Transfer to a large bowl or serving dish and enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Can you eat orzo cold?
You can eat orzo warm, cold, or at room temperature – whatever you desire! Orzo is extremely versatile, which is what I love about it. It can be served with a grilled protein or brought to a gathering or potluck without you having to worry that it will spoil.
For this recipe, I recommend enjoying this goat cheese orzo salad warm or at room temperature. However, there are tons of recipes out there for cold pasta salad and some of my favorite pasta salads are served cold. It really depends on the recipe you are following and your preferences!
Do you rinse orzo after cooking?
You should rinse orzo with cold water only if you are going to bake or serve it in a salad that is meant to be eaten cold. Other than that, there’s no need to rinse, as doing so takes away some of that starch that helps any seasonings or sauces added cling to the pasta for the best flavor.
A tip for cooking orzo is to remember how similar the process is to cooking any other pasta. Adding a little olive oil, much like you would when cooking pasta will help keep the orzo from sticking to the pot.
You also want to stir frequently while it’s cooking, similar to the way you would do so while cooking risotto.
If you notice all liquid has been absorbed but the orzo isn’t finished cooking, add about 1/4 of a cup of water or vegetable stock at a time until the orzo is al dente, adding more if you prefer tender orzo.
What to serve with orzo salad
Another option is to serve tapas style, with a bunch of appetizers if you’re feeding a crowd.
Here are a few more recipes I love:
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Goat Cheese Orzo Pasta Salad
- Add the vegetable stock, orzo, and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then add in the diced asparagus.
- Cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently (similar to how you would cook risotto), until the orzo is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove saucepan from heat and mix in the remaining olive oil, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy warm or room temperature.