The brightness of this orzo, asparagus and broccolini salad is spectacular. Get yourself the best and freshest ingredients possible in order to make this wonderful lettuce-free salad. Heidi Swanson makes hers with feta cheese, but for the purpose of staying plant-based, I skipped the cheese.
- 1 cup dried (whole wheat) orzo pasta
- 10 medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
- 1/2 a medium bunch of broccolini, cut into small trees
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, mashed with a big pinch of salt and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Small handful of sprouts (I used spicy sprouts)
- 1/3 cup almond, toasted
- 1/2 small cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium avocado, sliced into small pieces
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and boil the orzo per package instructions. Avoid over-boiling, you want your orzo to be cooked through, but maintain structure. About 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking stir the asparagus and broccolini into the orzo pot. Cook for the final 30-45 seconds, drain and run under a bit of cold water to stop the cooking.
In the meantime, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and more salt (if needed) into the dressing. Set aside.
When you are ready to serve the salad toss the orzo, asparagus, broccolini, and cilantro with about half the dressing. Add more dressing if needed, and toss well. Now add the sprouts, almonds, cucumber, and avocado. Very gently toss to distribute those ingredients throughout the orzo salad and serve.