This orzo with roasted vegetables is a healthy vegetarian dish made with orzo pasta, roasted zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and onions finished with fresh basil, Parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon. It makes a large batch, perfect for potlucks, picnics, or other gatherings.
Orzo with roasted vegetables is essentially a clean-out-the-fridge pasta salad that’s impossibly simple to throw together. Roast some veggies, cook some orzo, and toss with oil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and fresh herbs and you’ve got a dinner-worthy salad. It makes plenty so it’s a superb option for a big crowd.–Angie Zoobkoff
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 pound zucchini cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices (2 to 3 medium)
- 12 ounces red or yellow bell peppers (about 2) seeded and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) wide strips
- 2 smallish red onions each cut into 8 wedges
- 9 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 6 garlic cloves left whole with skin on and lightly squashed
- A few sprigs thyme
- 1 pound uncooked orzo
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1 cup basil leaves roughly torn, plus a few extra to garnish
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedge (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Roast the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Dump the pine nuts on a plate and let cool.
- In a large bowl, toss the vegetables and garlic with half the olive oil as well as the oregano and plenty of salt and pepper and spread them in a single layer in a roasting pan. (Don’t overcrowd the vegetables in the roasting pan. If necessary, use 2 pans). Toss the thyme on top.
- Roast the vegetables until softened and just starting to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package instructions. Drain and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a large serving bowl.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven, discard the garlic and thyme if desired, and toss with the drained orzo. Serve warm or let cool to room temperature.
- Add the pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil to the orzo and season with salt and pepper. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon, if desired, and the extra basil leaves.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I found this to be a lovely summer salad with plenty of contrasting tastes and textures. Soft creamy pasta, tender vegetables, and crunchy pine nuts.
After draining, I returned it to the bowl that I’d tossed the veggies with oil in. That way it picked up some of the oil, salt and oregano, and it was one less dirty bowl. I ate it cold the next day, and although it was fine, the pine nuts had softened a bit, and the zucchini had become a little mushy, so I far preferred it when it was first made, and served warm.
As I was eating it, I loved each component, but felt that something was missing. I grabbed a lemon wedge, gave it a quick squeeze over my bowl and, suddenly, everything came together and the world was right again. I’ll be making this often but always with a little lemon juice sprinkled in.
I think this would make a good summer recipe. It’s not hard and has a lot of great flavors. The combination of vegetables could be switched up and I think the basil is perfect. I did end up adding a bit more Parmesan and pepper.
Originally published September 10, 2019