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Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella and Basil

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This Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella, and Basil is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Chock full of veggies, herbs, and pasta, you may not want to share! It’s a versatile pasta salad recipe that’s perfect for picnics, pot lucks or a meatless lunch.

Over the years, this loaded orzo salad has been to numerous picnics and gatherings. The basic recipe is from Ina Garten and I tweak it from time to time depending on my whims. I’ve added zucchini and kalamata olives along with feta for a Mediterranean vibe. Then this time, fresh mozzarella cubes replaced the feta cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella and Basil in a white bowl with a basil garnish

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella, and Basil

This roasted vegetable salad with orzo is extremely forgiving! Feel free to check out what vegetables look freshest in the market and go from there! I should have skipped the eggplant as only about a third of mine was salvageable, but I already knew the unidentifiable “green stuff” would keep the hubby from eating more than a spoonful so I went with my favorites.

The original recipe had the addition of pine nuts for some crunch, but I eliminated those when packaging some up for some friends, one of whom has a nut allergy. Though pine nuts are seeds, I didn’t want to cause any worries.  Feel free to toast a handful or two to add some texture to the mix.

Plus, in order to have the picky spouse eat this loaded pasta salad, seeds and/or nut were omitted due to his persnickety tendencies! I also add some honey to the simple vinaigrette to balance the acid in the lemon juice.

 Spoonful of Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella and Basil in front of a serving bowl

Orzo Salad

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that’s quick to cook and perfect for pasta salads. Mixing orzo with roasted vegetables and cheese make this a terrific, satisfying lunch covering your protein, starch and vegetable categories. It’s also wonderful side dish to take to pitch in meals, just alter depending on your mood that day!

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Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella and Basil

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Orzo, Mozzarella and Basil

A delectable, satisfying pasta salad with fresh Mozzarella, roasted vegetables, and basil in a lemony vinaigrette!

Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 6

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 1 red onion, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo pasta, cooked in salted water, according to package instructions
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 green onions, sliced very thinly
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Fresh basil, cut into julienne strips (stack leaves, roll into cigar-like shape and slice thinly)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring and tossing at the halfway point, until tender and lightly browned. Make your orzo while the veggies roast so it's still warm when you toss it with the dressing.

Place your cooked orzo into a mixing bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta including any juices.

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix in honey, then whisk in olive oil. Pour over the pasta and vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the green onions,  cheese, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Notes

Adapted from Sara Leah Chase via Ina Garten.

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