Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Totally amazing side dish recipe:  Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Platter of Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

I love to bring this recipe to pot luck parties because it is always a big hit!  It’s not your typical pasta salad, so it’s a salad/side dish that people are more likely to reach for and enjoy.  This recipe comes from the older Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook, which is a cookbook that has a ton of fantastic recipes in it that are perfect for entertaining.

Vegetables are incredible when roasted. In this recipe, slow roasted eggplant, peppers and onions turned into tender, caramelized morsels.

The veggies are added to cooked orzo and tossed with a lemony dressing. Add scallions, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil and CHUNKS of feta (not crumbled) and you’ve got yourself a side salad. It is typically served at room temperature, but it is just as good chilled the following day.

serving of Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

What is orzo? 

Orzo is a thin, short–cut pasta.  It’s similar in shape to a jumbo piece of rice.  A lot of people wonder if orzo is gluten-free.  It’s not!  It’s pasta… so it’s not gluten-free. It can usually be found in a box or a small-wrap package in the pasta aisle of your local market.

Servings of Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

How to toast pine nuts:

This recipe calls for toasted pine nuts. Whenever I need to toast pine nuts, I simply heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Then I add the pine nuts to the pan, and use a wooden spoon to move them around until they are nice and golden brown.  You can’t walk away and leave them to toast on their own because they will burn quickly.  Keep a close eye on them, and just pull them off the heat when they’re done.  I like to move them from the pan to a paper towel to cool (this way they don’t continue to toast in the pan).

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

About feta cheese:

These days, you probably most often buy feta cheese in packages where it’s already crumbled. Don’t do that for this recipe.  Instead, buy a slab of feta and cut it into chunks to add to the salad.  It’s so much better this way- both the texture and the flavor, and it will be more visually appealing too!

Here are a few more recipes using roasted vegetables that you might like to try:

  • Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese
  • Chicken Stew with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
  • Roasted Autumn Vegetables
  • Garlic Parmesan Roasted Vegetables
  • Roasted Vegetable Rosemary Chicken Soup
  • Easy Healthy Roasted Vegetable Soup
  • Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf
  • Roasted Vegetable Tart

 

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Fantastic and flavorful side dish recipe!

VEGGIES AND ORZO:

  • 1 small eggplant, (peeled and 3/4-inch diced)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, (1-inch diced)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, (1-inch diced)
  • 1 medium red onion, (peeled and 1-inch diced)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta

DRESSING:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ((2 lemons))
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

ASSEMBLY:

  • 4 whole green onions ((white and green parts))
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 12 ounces feta cheese ((1/2-inch dice, not crumbled))
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, (cut into thin strips)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

PREPARE THE VEGGIES AND ORZO:

  1. On a baking sheet, toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

  3. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

PREPARE DRESSING:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper; pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature.

FINISH ASSEMBLING THE DISH:

  1. Add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Check the seasonings and serve at room temperature.

  • *Add the dressing when the orzo is still warm so it absorbs into the pasta.
  • *This dish is even better made in advance; just check the seasonings and add the pine nuts, feta and basil leaves at the last minute.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

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