Scallops Asparagus Orzo Pasta Salad tossed in a lemon dill dressing is a no-fuss dinner or a sensational side dish.
This recipe solves that problem by cooking everything together on a sheet pan while you're sitting by the pool sipping your favorite drink.
A girl can dream, can't she?!
You're going to love this recipe because:
- It's almost a one-pan meal. The orzo pasta cooks separately before it's tossed with all of the other ingredients.
- It's an easy prep / hands off cooking recipe. This popular dinner strategy allows you to do other things while dinner is in the oven.
- It's a make-ahead recipe. Buy double the ingredients and assemble a second meal in a plastic bag to store in the freezer before cooking. Next time, dinner will be so easy, that ANYONE can make it!
Best of all, this recipe tastes great warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator so it's perfect for prepping lunches ahead of time and entertaining.
Ingredients and Variations
Ever wondered what to serve with those delicious scallops you picked up at the grocery store? These Mediterranean inspired ingredients are perfect:
Asparagus - Cut asparagus into 1-2 inch segments.
Tomatoes - Cut tomatoes into smaller pieces. Split grape tomatoes in half. We used mini San Marzano tomatoes cut into quarters because that's what my sweetie picked up at the grocery store and they are delicious! Canned tomatoes work too. Drain off the juices first.
Artichokes - Drain and roughly chop artichoke hearts or just separate the pieces in a can of quartered hearts. Use artichokes packed in water, not oil.
Feta Cheese - Crumble and sprinkle over the top. It's optional...except when I'm at the table.
Other ingredients that pair well and can cook along with scallops and pasta on a sheet pan:
- Sundried tomatoes
- Pine nuts
Check out this Free Mediterranean Diet Shopping List for more ideas. Substitute or add in your favorite ingredients and customize this recipe!
By the way, our latest obsession: whole wheat orzo pasta!
Not a scallop fan? Try shrimp, cooked chicken or chickpeas in this recipe!
Lemon Dill Dressing
The lemon dill dressing is a combination of:
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- salt, pepper
If using fresh dill, remove the hard stems and then finely chop what remains. You can use dried dill instead. It substitutes at a 1:3 ratio so use 1 teaspoon of dried instead of 1 Tablespoon of fresh.
Type of Scallops
I know...they're expensive! Stock up when they go on sale.
We used Patagonian scallops (Zygochlamys Patagonica) in this recipe. Look for "dry" ones so that they have not been processed with phosphates.
They are also known as Argentinean or Antarctic scallops and are larger than the bay variety, but definitely not as big as sea scallops.
Adjust the cooking time up or down by a few minutes.
Sheet Pan Method
Place chopped vegetables and raw scallops on a half sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle the lemon dill dressing over the top and toss to coat. Wait to add the feta cheese.
Using a sheet pan shortens the cooking time because everything is spread in a thin layer. Use two sheet pans and stagger in the oven if necessary so that the ingredients are not crowded.
Bake scallops, cooked orzo pasta and other ingredients in the oven at 375 °F for about 15 minutes uncovered. The exact time depends on the size of the scallops. When you cut through one, it should be white and firm to touch.
How to Freeze Scallops Asparagus Orzo Pasta Salad
We offered this dish at our Meal Assembly Kitchen so I know for a fact that it freezes very nicely!
Assemble everything in a plastic bag that seals. Don't cook anything except for the orzo pasta. Stir in frozen scallops (or fresh ones that have not been previously frozen) just before freezing.
Another option is to make up the recipe without the protein. Add scallops (or other protein) when you are ready to enjoy it for maximum flexibility.
Either way. Dinner's in the bag!
When you're ready to make this recipe, move the bag to the refrigerator and allow the contents to defrost overnight and then cook as usual.
I've got two more batches in the freezer. Life is good. 🙂
More Spring Recipes
- Lemon Chicken Soup
- Baked Carrot Fries and Yogurt Dill Dipping Sauce
- Roasted Radishes and Carrots with Lemon Dill Sauce
- Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Reduction
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Scallops Asparagus Orzo Pasta Salad
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch pepper
- 3 Tablespoons fresh dill chopped or 1 Tablespoon dried
- 2 cups orzo pasta cooked
- 1 pound Patagonian or bay scallops
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts unmarinated, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 15-20 thin asparagus stalks chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 375 °F.
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and dill in a small bowl.
- Place remaining ingredients, except for the feta cheese, on a half sheet baking pan covered with aluminum foil.
- Drizzle dressing over the orzo, scallops and vegetables. Gently toss to coat and then spread ingredients over the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until scallops are done. Scallops should be white when cut in half and firm to touch, but not cracked.
- Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
- To make ahead and freeze, add all of the uncooked ingredients, except for feta cheese, to a plastic bag that seals. Stir and then seal it up. Store in the freezer for up to two months for best quality. When you are ready to serve, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then cook according to instructions.
- Low carb option: replace orzo pasta with zucchini noodles. Cook along with all the other ingredients.