Springtime Asparagus Pasta

Bright, fresh flavors in a simple preparation make this very-of-the-season dish that is both satisfying and convenient. Orzo, the short, thick rice-like pasta, translates to “barley” in Italian works overtime to absorb the flavors of the lemon, asparagus, and chickpeas. 

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 cup orzo, uncooked
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can of low-sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained 
  • 1 quart of water 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more for boiling) 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced  


  1. In a large stock pot, bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook for ten minutes.
  2. While the orzo is cooking – in a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté on medium heat for three minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus and cook until tender for another three to four minutes.  
  4. Add the chickpeas and cook for another minute. 
  5. Once cooked, drain the orzo pasta and add it back to the pot. 
  6. Add the sauteed asparagus and chickpeas to the pot with the orzo. Stir to combine. 
  7. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, lemon juice and zest.  Serve immediately.

Recipe by: Chef Brigid Washington

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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

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