This delicious but simple orzo salad with feta, asparagus and chickpeas goes perfectly as a side with chicken, fish, or steak.
The perfect recipe for lonely cans of chickpeas!
If you’re anything like me you have random cans of things hiding at the back of your cupboard.
They may have been there for a few months, or a few years! (don’t worry, we all do it!)
This is a perfect salad for using up any random cans of chickpeas you have hiding out there.
My usual solution for using up chickpeas is hummus of course, with some delicious and quick homemade flatbread. But if I’m looking for party style food, or a different kind of side to go with meat or fish, this Mediterranean style orzo salad with feta and a few other lovelies is perfect.
Ingredients in this orzo salad
I keep this salad fairly simple, making the star of the show some lovely griddled asparagus. If asparagus isn’t in season then feel free to substitute with something else: fresh sweet peas, broccoli, snow peas, or something else lovely, sweet and green.
I also like to add some sweet cherry tomatoes, halved, cubes of feta cheese, those back-of-the-cupboard chickpeas, loads of fresh basil leaves, and finally the cooked orzo pasta.
Erm… wait a minute… what is orzo?
If you’re not familiar with orzo, it’s like rice-shaped pasta and available from big supermarkets here in the UK. In the US it’s sometimes called risoni.
What about the dressing?
The icing on the cake is of course the dressing. Again I keep it simple, combining just:
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- a little bit of Dijon mustard
I don’t add any extra salt because there’s plenty of that in the feta.
I add about half the dressing to the orzo salad (enough for about 6 as a side dish with chicken, fish or steak, for example).
Another option would be to take this along to a pot luck. It would definitely serve a crowd if everyone was just having a little bit.
Then I leave the rest of the dressing for everyone i.e. just me and Mr. Scrummy to drizzle over their own portion.
P.S. If you like the sound of this salad, you may also enjoy this orzo salad with pesto. It makes an excellent spring or summer side dish!
Got lots of leftover orzo? Check out this list of 38 orzo recipes for one pan dinners, salads, soups and more (all with orzo, of course!).
More quick and easy party food
- Greek filo parcels with tzatziki
- crispy mushroom filo triangles
- supermarket copycat pesto and cheese twists
- 10-minute fresh tomato salsa
- mini feta cheese triangles
- The best easy zucchini fries!
Or see all my easy party food here
Asparagus, tomato and chickpea orzo salad
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
for the salad
- 7 ounces orzo pasta (sometimes called risoni)
- 1 bunch asparagus woody ends removed
- 7 ounces cherry tomatoes cut into halves or thirds
- 7 ounces feta cheese chopped into small cubes
- 1 bunch basil roughly chopped
- 14 ounces chickpeas drained (1 x 14-ounce / 400 gram can)
- Cook the orzo according to the packet instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water, then add to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Griddle or pan fry in a tiny bit of olive oil until tender and slightly charred (about 10 minutes). Chop into small lengths (a few centimetres each). Let cool for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the tomatoes, feta, asparagus pieces and basil to the large bowl of orzo with the drained chickpeas / garbanzo beans.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together, then pour over the salad (to taste – you might like to start with just half and see how you like it*)
- Serve with chicken, fish, steak, or whatever you like, and fresh crusty bread. Delicious!