Orzo pasta is mixed with bright veggies and tossed in a creamy, yogurt-dill vinaigrette. Perfect for entertaining or a brown-bag lunch, this dish can be made up to 3 days in advance.Warm weather has finally arrived here in Michigan and I couldn’t be more excited! We’ve had 70 and 80-degree days this past week and the outdoor farmers markets have officially re-opened for business. Fresh peas, asparagus, rhubarb, lettuces and more – I am so ready to welcome spring produce with open arms!
To kick off the warm weather season, United Dairy Industry of Michigan invited a group of Michigan bloggers to tour Hudsonville Creamery last month. From Left to Right: Dianna, Cathy (local dairy farmer), Deb, Me, Kirsten, Sheila, Rachel, Lori, Wendy, Sarah, Lauren and the kind folks at UDIM. (Not pictured: Megan!)
Fun Fact: 90% of households have ice cream in their freezers. (Myself included!) And if you live in the midwest, there’s a good chance you have Hudsonville ice cream in your freezer.
Random Side Note: I saw two familiar faces hanging on the walls at the Hudsonville corporate office! My former babysitter Paulina and my little cousin Alexa. These photos are a few years old but it was so fun to see!
In addition to sampling incredible ice cream, the best part of the trip was getting to reconnect in person with a few of my blogging besties: that’s Sheila on the top right, Rachel on the bottom right and Kirsten on the bottom left. The only thing better than ice cream is, perhaps, cheese so no visit to Grand Rapids for a dairy-inspired tour is complete without a wine and cheese tasting at Reserve Wine and Food as featured above.
After a fun two-day event in my hometown of Grand Rapids, UDIM challenged all of us to create dairy-filled recipes to go along with the seasons. Aside from cheese and ice cream, yogurt is probably my favorite dairy ingredient on the planet. Specifically, plain yogurt. I grew up eating plain yogurt almost every single day and continue to eat about a 32 ounce container every week by myself. It’s the perfect meat tenderizer, smoothie enhancer or sour cream replacement on a sweet potato.
This creamy orzo pasta salad is ideal with fresh peas but frozen peas are fine too. My husband requested carrots but use any fresh veggies that you can get your hands on such as radishes, celery or red peppers. To be honest, this dish is more about the dressing than the pasta: fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice are whisked together with plain yogurt and silky olive oil to create a mouth-watering vinaigrette. Delicious on orzo, it would be just as good drizzled over grilled asparagus or roasted salmon.
Your fork is waiting.
- 1 pound orzo
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 medium red onion minced
- 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 4 tablespoons parsley minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and cook orzo according to package instructions. When you have 2 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the peas to the pot. Strain peas and pasta and set aside.
At the bottom of a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Yogurt-Dill Vinaigrette: yogurt through olive oil.
Add orzo, peas, carrots and onion to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Dish can be made up to 3 days in advance if kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Over time, the pasta will absorb a bit of the vinaigrette so feel free to drizzle with a little extra olive oil or lemon juice or add a bit of salt if needed before serving.
Disclaimer: I have been compensated by UDIM for my time to develop this recipe. I was also hosted for a two-day local dairy tour. Thank you for supporting the organizations that make The Lemon Bowl possible. As always, all thoughts are 100% my own. To learn more about why Milk Means More, be sure to connect with UDIM on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube.