Lemon Orzo with Asparagus and Halloumi

Welcome spring with this seasonal lemon asparagus orzo with fried halloumi. A delicious vegetarian meal packed full of flavor and fresh ingredients including asparagus, basil and lemon.

We’re going full-blown spring around here! Bring on the asparagus. Bring on the citrus. Heck, bring on the radishes! Anything but peas. Not a fan of those…except occasionally some super fresh English peas. I make an exception for those.

By the end of summer I’m ready for soups and stews and by the end of winter I’m ready for salads and fresh veggies! I feel like this lemon orzo with fried halloumi is a nice in-between. The veggies are cooked and warming but the orzo has a fresh, citrusy flavor with a hint of basil. It feels fancy but it’s not. Because we’re all about things feeling fancy but not actually being fancy around here. Pretty sure that perfectly captures halloumi, which seems like a fancy cheese but really is just one-step above basic cheddar.

Enough of the chit chat, let’s get cooking…

What You Need For Lemon Orzo:

  • Orzo – feel free to use whole wheat orzo or gluten-free orzo
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon – zest + juice
  • Fresh basil
  • Halloumi cheese – a traditional sheep or goat’s milk version is ideal
  • Chickpeas – I use canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Spices – paprika, cumin and salt and pepper

What is Orzo?

Orzo is a small rice shaped pasta. It actually means “barley” in Italian because of how much it resembles the barley grain. Orzo can be thrown into soups and salads and even casseroles…or better yet, this lemon orzo!

Typically orzo is made from white flour but I really love this whole wheat version from Delallo. If you’re gluten-free you can also purchase gluten-free orzo as well.

What is Halloumi?

If you’ve never tried halloumi before, you’re missing out. It’s cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk or a mixture of the two. It holds its shape when heated so is perfect for grilling or lightly frying (which is what we do in this recipe!). It might be the only cheese that is recommended to heat rather than eat raw. Think about eating a marshmallow – sure it’s fine raw but when you roast it, it’s perfectly crispy on the outside and melted on the inside… that is what halloumi is like! It is a good source of protein, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins A and B.

How to Make Lemon Orzo with Fried Halloumi:

STEP 1: Prepare orzo according to package instructions. Once orzo is strained of liquid add back to pot and top with 1 tbsp olive oil, zest + juice of lemon, sliced basil and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine and set aside, covered.

STEP 2: Slice your halloumi into 1/2 inch thick slices. Heat up a pan over medium-high heat and place halloumi directly into pan. No need to add oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until halloumi has browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside covered with a dish towel to keep warm.

STEP 3: Over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil, chickpeas, paprika and cumin into the same pan and cook until chickpeas are well coated and beginning to brown, roughly 5 minutes.

STEP 4: Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, asparagus and minced garlic and continue cooking with chickpeas until asparagus is cooked all the way through and slightly charred, roughly another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

STEP 5: Plate each serving with a base of lemon orzo, topped with chickpea-asparagus mixture and halloumi on top. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

More Vegetarian Meals

We love a good vegetarian recipe around here, and this lemon orzo with asparagus and and halloumi is not exception! If you’re looking for more vegetarian meals, here are a few classics from THM!

Print

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus and Halloumi

Welcome spring with this seasonal lemon asparagus orzo with fried halloumi. A delicious vegetarian meal packed full of flavor and fresh ingredients.

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Diet: Vegetarian
  • 1 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, zest + juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced, plus more for serving
  • 1 block halloumi cheese
  • 1 can chickpeas (14 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 head asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare orzo according to package instructions.
  2. Once orzo is strained of liquid add back to pot and top with 1 tbsp olive oil, zest + juice of lemon, sliced basil and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine and set aside, covered.
  3. Slice your halloumi into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  4. Heat up a pan over medium-high heat and place halloumi directly into pan. No need to add oil.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until halloumi has browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside covered with a dish towel to keep warm.
  6. Over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil, chickpeas, paprika and cumin into the same pan and cook until chickpeas are well coated and beginning to brown, roughly 5 minutes.
  7. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, asparagus and minced garlic and continue cooking with chickpeas until asparagus is cooked all the way through and slightly charred, roughly another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Plate each serving with a base of lemon orzo, topped with chickpea-asparagus mixture and halloumi on top.
  9. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

Keywords: lemon orzo, asparagus orzo, fried halloumi, orzo and halloumi

Like this Lemon Orzo recipe? Here are some other recipes you might enjoy:

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