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, 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 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.
Orzo Pasta Salad
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!
What is Orzo?
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.
How to Make Pasta Salad
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.
More Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love:
- Asian Noodle Salad from A Mind Full Mom
- Tomato Basil Pasta Salad with Mozzarella and Fontina
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Olive Orange Salad
- Macaroni Salad Recipe
- More of the Best Salad Recipes
- 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 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.
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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