This flavorful cold salad is a perfect option for dinner on a hot summer evening or to pack along with you on a picnic. Its filling enough to stand alone as a main or can be served as a side dish. This is a great salad to bring with you to a potluck or BBQ. It will definitely be stand out among the usual macaroni, bean and potato salads.
I must disclose that I have a love/hate relationship with asparagus. Sometimes I crave it like nobody’s business; other times it makes my stomach cringe. This week I’m riding the asparagus train and love how this low calorie veg adds a nice pop of color to the salad.
Asparagus is largely produced in China, followed by Peru and Mexico. Here in the US, production is mostly concentrated in California, Washington and Michigan.
This spring vegetable is mostly made up of water, low in sodium and can be found in a variety of colors; white, green and purple. The stalks vary in thickness; indicative of the age of the plant. Asparagus is also a great source of dietary fibre, iron, and vitamin K.
To pick the best bunch of asparagus, look at the tips and the bottom the stalk. Ideally, you want the tip to be closed tightly and the bottom to look fresh. If the bottom looks dry and the top is starting to flower, it’s past its prime.
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces. If they are thin asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces.
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 green onions(white and light green parts only), chopped
- ¼ cup dill, minced
- ¼ cup basil, minced
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- ⅛ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook the minced garlic+lemon zest+shrimp in 2.5 tbsp of coconut oil, stirring frequently to keep from browning.
- Season shrimp with kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper.
- When shrimp are almost cooked through, remove from heat and cool.
- Once water starts to boil,stir in the orzo and cook for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, about 4 minutes.
- Drain into a mesh sieve (orzo will probably fall through a regular strainer) and rinse well in cold water.
- Transfer well drained orzo & asparagus to large serving bowl.
- Add the cooked lemon & garlic shrimp.
- Add the juice of 1 lemon+green onion+olives+minced herbs. Toss together and refrigerate.
- Ideally, refrigerate the salad for 2 hours to allow the flavors intensify.
- Serve topped with a sprinkle of feta cheese & kalmata olives.
- Season with salt & freshly ground pepper