Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad | http://laurassweetspot.com

I have made this salad a countless number of times now. I think that it is just a wonderful recipe, especially in the summertime. I first ran into it when I was looking into finding vegan alternatives to make for my brothers’ rehearsal dinner for his wedding. His wife and much of her family is vegan and I wanted to do my best to accommodate them. Since this salad has no meat, eggs, or dairy, it was perfect. Plus it highlights so many vegetables and it’s a fact that vegetarians and vegans alike love their veggies!

But it’s not just for vegans. Not by any means. It’s just a great alternative to the heavy, mayonnaise clad macaroni salad to bring to a BBQ. Or even just as a side dish with some chicken for dinner. It’s great. And personally, I think that it is better the next day, after all the flavors have had a chance to sit and mingle. If you feel like the salad might need a little embelishment, I am sure that some cubed mozzarella or some grilled, cubed chicken would be a great addition.

I do have some personal problems with this salad though. The texture of the roasted peppers really bothers me… I just don’t like the fibrous skin that is so identifiable when peppers are roasted. I feel like I would be happier if I roasted the peppers whole, peeled the skins, and then chopped them up. My other issue is that the recipe asks you to peel the eggplant. UGH. All of the nutrition is in that purple skin!!! I would never get rid of that. It’s like gold for your body. But there again, it creates better texture. These are just pesky quirks that I have with texture though. It probably would never bother any normal person.

BE AWARE! This salad does have you roast the vegetables in the oven. You do NOT want to endeavor to make this salad for a BBQ on a 90°+ day, in a house without AC. You will suffer. trust me, I know.

Orzo Salad

Original post @ Laura’s Sweet Spot

Orzo Salad
Serves: 6
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and ¾-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup good olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
  • For the dressing:
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • ⅓ cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • To assemble:
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. 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, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

adapted from Ina Garten


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