Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole Recipe with Salmon, Asparagus, and Feta

Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole with Salmon, Asparagus, and Feta
I tried out this Orzo Salmon Casserole on some family members who stopped by, and it was a hit!

Salmon. Asparagus. Feta.  Maybe that's all I need to say about this recipe, because if you know me at all, you know a recipe with those favorite ingredients is going to be something I'll like.  Add a small amount of 100% Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta, some drained low-fat cottage cheese for creaminess, green onions, dill, and Beau Monde seasoning, and I think you can tell why I absolutely loved this Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole with Salmon, Asparagus and Feta.  This was the second recipe of the two I mentioned that I tried out on my brother Mark, his wife Lisa, and their daughter-in-law Lindy who stopped by a few weeks ago, and they liked this one as much as they did the Chicken, Black Bean, Avocado, and Radish Salad.  Even though it's a casserole, this is something I would serve to guests, and it's also good reheated if you manage to have any leftovers to eat the next day.

You might be wondering why I'd take salmon and asparagus and make it into a casserole?  I first experimented and came up with this casserole when I had leftover asparagus and salmon to use up.  (Yes, I know some of you can't imagine the idea of leftovers from salmon or asparagus!)  I enjoyed it so much I decided it was worth making again to write down the recipe, partly because of how it stretches out the salmon and asparagus for a more budget-friendly meal with those flavors.    

I used the 100% Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta that I'm so fond of, but if you can't find orzo you can use any type of small whole wheat pasta shape.  Remember that the pasta will cook more in the oven, so it's important not to overcook it.

Cook the orzo a couple of minutes less than the package directions, then drain orzo well.

 Roast salmon and asparagus for 15 minutes at 400F/200C.

While the salmon and asparagus cook, rinse the cottage cheese and crumble and measure the Feta.

Here's how the salmon and asparagus looks after its roasted.  Let cool while you combine the other ingredients.

Put drained orzo in a bowl and add cottage cheese, Feta, green onion, dill, and Beau Monde seasoning (or Bon Appetit.)

When it's cool enough to handle, use two forks to flake apart the salmon.

Gently mix the salmon and asparagus pieces into the orzo mixture.

Put into a small casserole dish and top with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).

And here's how the casserole looks after it bakes 30-35 minutes at 350F/180C.  Not all that photogenic, but this was delicious!

Whole Wheat Orzo Casserole with Salmon, Asparagus, and Feta
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn when she had leftover salmon and asparagus in the fridge.)

I used my favorite Anchor Hocking 12 Cup Bake-and-Store Glass Casserole Dish for this recipe, but any glass or crockery baking dish that's approximately 8" x 8" will work.)

1 cup 100% Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta (or use any small whole wheat pasta shape if you can't find orzo)
2 pieces of skinless salmon, about 6-8 oz. each
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 T + 2 tsp.  extra virgin olive oil, for rubbing salmon and tossing with asparagus
2 tsp. fish rub, for rubbing salmon (I like Szeged Fish Rub, but use any brand you have on hand)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, rinsed with cold water so only the curds remain
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. Beau Monde Seasoning or Bon Appetit Seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn't use much salt)
2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for topping the casserole)

Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  Spray a baking sheet and an 8"x8" casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil, add a little salt, and cook the orzo until it's nearly done.  (I cooked mine 8 minutes, about 1 minute less than the cooking time on the package.)  Drain the cooked orzo into a colander placed in the sink and let it drain well.

Let salmon come to room temperature while you trim the asparagus and cut it into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  (Hold one piece of asparagus with both hands and bend to break; that will show where the woody part starts that needs to be trimmed off.)  Put the asparagus pieces in a small bowl and toss with the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon on both sides with olive oil and fish rub.  Arrange salmon and asparagus on the baking sheet and roast 15 minutes.  Let salmon and asparagus cool, and turn the oven temperature down to 350F/180C.

Put the cottage cheese into a fine-mesh colander and rinse with cold water and let it drain.  Crumble Feta and measure it, and slice the green onions.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the drained orzo, rinsed cottage cheese, crumbled Feta, sliced green onions, dill weed, Beau Monde Seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.  Use two forks to flake apart the salmon into bite-sized pieces, then gently mix the cooled asparagus and salmon into the orzo mixture. 

Put the mixture into the sprayed casserole dish, top with a little freshly grated Parmesan if desired, and bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the mixture starts to bubble.  Serve hot.  This was still very good when it had been kept in the fridge overnight and reheated in the microwave. (I haven't tried freezing it, and I'm not sure it would freeze that well.) 

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South Beach Suggestions:
Salmon and asparagus are both ultra-healthy low-glycemic foods for the South Beach Diet, but the whole wheat orzo in this recipe would make it limited to Phase 2 or 3 for South Beach Dieters.  

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Salmon You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Sour Cream Baked Salmon ~ Inspired Taste
Grilled Fresh Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Mayo ~ Budget Bytes
Roasted Wild Salmon and Asparagus with Double-Lemon Oil ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Wild Salmon with Minty Yogurt Sauce ~ Family Fresh Cooking  
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. All I can really say to this is YUM. I love these ingredients and I'm definitely in the midst of a salmon craving after seeing this!

  2. This is one of those "clever" casseroles that is more than the sum of its parts. Almost anything with salmon and asparagus would appeal to me; adding cheese is the icing on the "cake". This would make a great brunch dish.

  3. Thanks Joanne and Lydia. This was really a hit with my recipe testers who stopped by!

  4. All the best stuff, in one casserole - love the colors, the contrasts, and I really wish I had some for lunch ...

  5. Thanks TW. And if only you lived closer, I would love to have you over for lunch!

  6. This is a refreshing take on my beloved tuna casserole from the 80's, or maybe 60's.

  7. Yes, the humble tuna noodle casserole would certainly have to be the ancestor of this dish!

  8. Hi, Kalyn! I love your site, and it's helped me stick with South Beach for more than a year now. I wanted to share a recipe idea with you but wasn't sure where to put it, so here goes: occasionally I crave a real white potato, but they are so verboten on SB. Yesterday I came up with a Phase 2 splurge that curbed that craving. I took one cup of cooked cauliflower from the night before and mashed it with 2 oz baked white potato, along with some green onion, 1 T lowfat cottage cheese, 1 T lowfat cheddar, a smidge of garlic, and salt and pepper. I only ate half of it, but it was delicious and kicked that craving! Yes, it's a bit of a cheat, but when nothing but a potato will do, this goes a long way, and it's definitely an occasional treat. Just don't tell the SB police.Thanks so much for your blog; it's awesome!

  9. Desert Quail, glad you're enjoying the site. I do like that idea of using just a little potato with the cauliflower. If you haven't tried it, you might like my Twice Baked Cauliflower which sounds like it's similar to what you came up with.

  10. I can't believe I've never tried this combination together. Sounds like a must try!

  11. Yes, you had me at "salmon, asparagus, feta". This is something that I'd happily work into our weekly menu rotation.

  12. This sounds great but my hubby HATES feta...any suggestions for a substitute??

  13. Dara, so glad you like it. Maybe I can make this when you come for dinner!

    Mrs. O, if you don't like Feta I would probably use Parmesan, maybe a little less.

  14. Kalyn,

    Because my kids really don't like feta(I do love it though), I had to substitute shreded sharp provolone and parm cheese. This was outstanding!

    Your blog is my go-to for TASTY healthy recipes.


  15. Perahna, thank *you*! Comments like that always make my day!

  16. I'm new to this site. I love salmon and I am an amateur "gourmet cook". I've watched Food Network 24/7 since 2000. I've tried a lot of different recipes and styles of food. I have to say that, although this wasn't bad, the flavor combinations were "weird" and would probably be off-putting to most pallets. However, your site looks great Kalyn, and I'm going to try several more recipes.

  17. Geneerc, I'm sorry you did not enjoy it, but I don't think I can agree with "if you want to get someone from BlogHer to write it." I tried the recipe out on my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews wife and they all loved it, as did I. And salmon and asparagus is a very common pairing.

    Hopefully you will like the next one better!


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