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Orzo & Roasted Vegetables

Orzo & Roasted Vegetables

 

This delightful orzo salad is made with roasted eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, and onion, a combination that reminds us of our classic Mediterranean favorites, like ratatouille and peperonata. Roasting makes the vegetables so sweet and fragrant. They get tossed in a lemony vinaigrette with the orzo, feta, pine nuts, and herbs. It looks like one of those cheerfully overcrowded salads, but oh, does it come together — every bite is an explosion of sweet, toasty, salty, herby flavors.

Orzo is perfect here. It adds a nice al dente texture to the mix, pulls all the ingredients together without taking over, and keeps the salad light and fork-friendly. (By which we mean shovel-it-all-in-your-mouth friendly.) 

Don’t be fooled by the long list of ingredients — this is a simple dish that comes together in a handful of easy, low-stress steps. Put the veggies in the oven, and you’ll have all kinds of leisure time to pour yourself a glass of wine, whisk the vinaigrette, and chiffonade the basil.  

Take this salad to a barbecue, where it’ll make a show-stealing side for any grilled protein, from lamb chops to swordfish fillets. It’s also the salad to write into your Sunday meal-prepping plans: The flavors meld over time and get better by the hour. Think salads to-go all week long! 

 

Servings: 6

 

Ingredients

 

For the roasted vegetables and orzo:
 

1 small eggplant, ¾-inch diced

1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced

1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced

1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ lb orzo

 

For the dressing:
 

⅓ cup lemon juice 

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

 

For the salad:
 

6 green onions, minced 

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

¾ lb feta, ½-inch diced 

20 fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade

 

Directions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º. 

  2. To make the roasted vegetables: Toss the eggplant, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the directions on the package. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Set the orzo aside.

  4. To make the dressing: in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and whisk to emulsify.

  5. When the roasted vegetables are ready, add them to the orzo, scraping all of the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

  6. Pour the dressing over the orzo and vegetables, and let the veggies cool to room temperature.

  7. Add the green onions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Adjust the seasonings to taste, and serve the salad at room temperature.

 

Recipe adapted from: Barefoot Contessa

 

Calculate nutrition information for this recipe. 

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