Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Orzo Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Chock full of veggies, cheese, and pasta, you may not want to share! It’s a versatile pasta salad recipe that’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or a meatless lunch.
Over the years, this loaded Orzo Salad Recipe has been to numerous picnics and gatherings. The basic recipe is from Ina Garten and can be tweaked depending on the occasion and what’s in season. Adding zucchini and kalamata olives along with feta gives a Mediterranean vibe. Loading with extra roasted vegetables makes for a healthier version. The options are endless.
Why You Must Make
- 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 hubby eat this loaded pasta salad, seeds and/or nuts were omitted due to his picky palate. I also added some honey to the simple vinaigrette to balance the acid in the lemon juice. He may not have known he was eating eggplant, but he did so, and willingly at that!
How to Make
There are 3 components to a pasta salad: the pasta, the dressing, and the add-ins. Prepping the vegetables and making the dressing can both be done ahead of time. For this orzo salad:
- First, roast the vegetables. There is more oil than usually used to roast veggies, but this is so the orzo will be coated with oil when they are combined.
- Cook the pasta while the veggies roast, so they’ll both be warm when mixed together.
- Drain the pasta.
- Toss together the vegetables and the pasta before they cool down. Add the cheese and toss again.
- Add just enough dressing to coat all the ingredients. More of the salad dressing can be added if needed at serving time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that’s quick to cook and perfect for soups, pasta salads, and more. Mixing orzo with roasted vegetables and cheese makes a terrific, satisfying lunch covering your protein, starch, and vegetable categories. It’s also a wonderful side dish to take to pitch in meals. I bet you’ll be asked for the recipe.
Orzo is pasta and used in moderation is OK on a Mediterranean diet. Whole wheat orzo contains more fiber and protein, so that would be best.
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Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables
A delectable, satisfying pasta salad with fresh Mozzarella, roasted vegetables, and basil in a lemony vinaigrette!
- 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)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 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 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.
Adapted from Sara Leah Chase via Ina Garten.
I like adding more vegetables and decreasing the orzo a bit fora veggie-heavy pasta salad.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 456Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 965mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 14g
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33 Comments on “Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables”
I just got some grain free orzo.. Can’t wait to try this
Thank you for this recipe- I made it today and it was delicious. The whole crew loved it!
This is definitely going into my rotation!
Oh, I’m so glad! I think it’s the only time Bill has ever eaten zucchini or eggplant. Of course, I didn’t tell him they were part of the recipe!!!
I love the idea of roasting the vegetables for this salad. I make something similar but the vegetables are either raw or sauteed. The roasting brings out so much flavor. Great idea!
Love this. Love the simple dressing, too. And you can really get creative with the ingredients, which is what I love to do! Thanks!
There is something super delicious about orzo shaped pasta that makes it a fun and delicious recipe to eat. Love all of your delicious additions. Great make ahead lunch or side for any day of the week.
This looks wonderful, Liz! The roasted veggies really sold it for me.
I used to make orzo all the time, but I kind of forgot it was a thing. This looks so good! Thanks for the inspiration.
I absolutely love orzo salad and was thrilled when I found a gluten-free orzo! Now I can make this beautiful salad all year long!!
This was sure timely Liz; I straightened up my pantry yesterday and found some forgotten orzo pasta…I can’t think of anything better than adding roasted veggies to it!
Love this salad – been making the Ina Garten version for years. And I’m definitely with you on going heavy on the veggies and light on the pasta.
This looks incredibly healthy and delicious. A sheet pan salad!! And I love that you added roasted eggplant to the mix and roasted it!!
What a gorgeous salad! Such beautiful colors. And the cheese of course! I love roasted vegetables in pasta salads.