Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

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I had bought some orzo whilst out shopping with my dad and remembered watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network channel where Ina cooked an orzo salad with roasted vegetables. I then decided to re-create this for my Eurovision Song Contest Party.

I tweaked the recipe a little bit by adding in some herbs. It tasted delicious and I can’t wait to be able to cook this again! In case you are wondering what on earth orzo is; it is a rice shaped pasta. My dad makes an amazing orzo pilaf that I just can’t get the knack of cooking, so I’m pleased that this salad turned out well as I was expecting a gooey mess!

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

To make this tasty salad, you are going to need…an aubergine, bell peppers (I use mini ones as they are better value for money in our supermarket), one or two red onions (depending on their size) I love garlic, so used 3 in this recipe, but again, it’s down to their size, so 2 may be fine for you. You’ll also need orzo (rice shaped pasta), olive oil, salt, pepper and dried rosemary

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

For the dressing and topping you will be needing more olive oil, lemon juice, feta cheese, spring onions, pine nuts, dried oregano and fresh basil.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Let’s get cooking!

First cut the aubergine, red onion and peppers into chunks and place into a bowl or to save washing up, straight onto a roasting tray.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Crush the garlic and sprinkle it over, along with olive oil, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss everything together until well coated.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

If you did this direct on the tray, you skip this part…place the veg onto a roasting tray (or trays in my case) and pop into a hot oven – about 200C – 220C (my oven is overly hot so I err on the side of caution) and roast for 30 – 40 minutes until browned. Turn the vegetables over half way through cooking so they cook nice and evenly. Try not to pile the vegetables high as this prevents them from roasting all the way around.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Whilst the vegetables are roasting, it is time to cook the pasta. As I said at the start of this post, I have tried cooking orzo several times. My dad showed me how to cook his wicked orzo pilaf, but I can never get it right and end up with a gooey, half cooked mess…I’m not sure why, but I will give it a go (again!)

Right, back to the orzo – cook according to the package instructions. I always add a chicken stock cube to my pasta when cooking it, so that’s optional – you could, if making this for vegetarians, use a veggie stock cube (or not at all). It adds some flavour and a little salt, so no need to add salt to the boiling water.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

When it is cooked, drain it and add to a large mixing bowl.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Take the vegetables out of the oven…

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

…and add to the orzo. Mix everything together, and set to one side whilst you make the dressing.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano, salt and pepper in a jug, then pour over the orzo and vegetables and toss carefully together. When I tasted this I found that it was VERY lemony, however, as the salad came down to room temperature, I found this mellowed out.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

When ready to serve, toast up some pine nuts and stir into the salad along with some sliced up spring onions.

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Cube some feta cheese and add to the top (or stir in carefully, it’s your salad!) and add some torn basil leaves. I’m not overly keen on basil, so just place a couple of leaves on top for decoration!

A delicious summery salad – enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Roasted Vegetable & Orzo Salad

Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 or 2 red onions (depending on their size)
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed (depending on their size)
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 250g orzo
  • 1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable – optional)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • 80ml olive oil
  • 80ml lemon juice (2 – 3 lemons, depending on their size)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

To assemble

  • 100g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100g feta cheese, cubed
  • 3-4 spring onions, sliced finely
  • Fresh basil, torn

Method

  1. Cut the aubergine, peppers and onions into bite sized pieces
  2. Place the chopped vegetables into a roasting dish and toss with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper
  3. Roast in a hot oven (200C) for 30 – 40 minutes, until browned. Turn the vegetables half way through so that they cook evenly
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package, using a stock cube for flavouring if you wish
  5. Drain the orzo and place into a large bowl
  6. Add the cooked vegetables, scraping all the juices into the bowl
  7. Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper
  8. Pour the dressing over the orzo whilst still warm so that it absorbs all the flavour
  9. Serve at room temperature with the pine nuts and spring onions stirred through it and by adding the cubed feta and torn basil leaves on top

This recipe was featured on All About You, July 2013.

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