Lemon Orzo with Asparagus is a simple recipe that packs a punch. Tender asparagus, savory garlic, light orzo, and zesty lemon come together to create an elegant lunch or side dish option. Add some grilled chicken or shrimp for protein or serve as is. Easy, healthy, and ready in under 30 minutes!
Serve this lemon orzo as a side to our flavorful Chilean Sea Bass, Creamy Mushroom Chicken, or top with zesty Lemon Chicken for added protein. Or skip the meat all together and add in Easy Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions to make it a more substantial lunch!
Lemon Asparagus Orzo
If you’re wondering what on earth orzo actually is, it’s pasta. It may sound fancy, but it’s just pasta in the shape and size similar to long grain rice.
Lemon Asparagus Orzo is one of those recipes that is deceptively easy. Based on the name, it seems like something you’d find at a fancy new lunch spot, but it’s really just made with a few simple ingredients that pair so well together the dish tastes like restaurant quality.
Even better, it’s ready in under half an hour. The asparagus adds a great crunch and texture along with the orzo and the mix of lemon and garlic can’t be beat. Great for a quick lunch or as a light side to dinner any day of the week!
How To Make Lemon Asparagus Orzo
- Bring the water and chicken broth to a boil in a large pan. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions. Drain the orzo and set aside.
- As the orzo boils, start on the asparagus. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the asparagus and cook for about 7-8 minutes (or until the asparagus is tender). Remove from the skillet into a bowl and set aside.
- Using the same skillet we just cooked the asparagus in, add lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the asparagus back to the skillet along with the cooked orzo. Stir to fully combine.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil as a garnish and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Add crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.
- You can swap the olive oil for sunflower, avocado, or vegetable oil. Whatever you have on hand.
- You can also use broccoli, or brussel sprouts in this recipe if asparagus isn’t available.
- Turn this dish from a side to the main course by adding a protein. Grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak bites make great additions.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, we recommend enjoying this dish within the 1-2 day range as asparagus tends to get very soft after a couple days.
Reheating: To reheat, warm in the microwave for about one minute.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup orzo
- 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- 1 pound asparagus, fresh, ends trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese, shredded off the block, for garnish
- Fresh basil, for garnish
- Pour the water and chicken broth in a large pan and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.3 cups water1 cup chicken broth1 cup orzo
- While the orzo cooks, make the asparagus. Heat a large skillet over low-medium heat, and add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter melts, add the asparagus. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. Remove from the pan to a waiting bowl.2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter2 tablespoon(s) olive oil1 pound asparagus
- To the same skillet, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant.¼ cup lemon juice1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest2 garlic clovesSalt and pepper
- Add the asparagus and orzo back to the skillet, and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. See post for storage options.Parmesan cheeseFresh basil