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Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

A perfect and versatile summer side. Even Ina Garten says this is HER favorite side!

This is of my go-to recipes with delicious roasted vegetables and orzo tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. This is an older Ina Garten recipe that I modified a bit, among other small changes, using a lighter hand with the dressing. I’ve made this for showers and parties and it’s always a hit with the crowd, as well as a hit with me because you can make it the night before! The leftovers keep well and go with just about any protein you’d like to add to round out the meal— rack of lamb in winter, grilled steak or chicken in summer, and this dish is also great with seafoods like salmon or scallops. You can even toss the leftovers with arugula for more of a traditional salad. I want to point that even Ina herself says this is her favorite side dish!

This is a slightly modified version of Ina’s Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 white or red onion peeled and 1/2-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble:

  • 4 scallions minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 3/4 pound good Feta cheese 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade or whole if small

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss the eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers, onion and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Cook the orzo according to instructions. Drain. Rinse. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let it cool.

  3. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  4. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve cooled or at room temperature.

Notes—If you aren’t a fan of one of the roasted vegetables listed, I think any other roasted veggies would be great as well. Again, I love this dish because you can make it a day ahead!

Bon Appétit!
xx—BB

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