An incredibly delicious Orzo Pasta Salad with lemon, feta cheese, and lots of roasted vegetables. It tastes gourmet but it’s so easy to make!
My friend Sandy brought this orzo salad in to my life, and I will forever be in her debt.
It’s colorful, tasty, and full of fresh flavors such as lemon zest, fresh basil, crunchy pine nuts, and salty feta cheese. It’s also one of my favorite ways to eat more veggies.
And if you’re tired of the same ol’ recipes all the time (I know you are! You took my survey!) here is something unique to try.
You can easily roast the bell peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus the day before and hold them overnight in the refrigerator. You can toast the pine nuts in advance too (or buy toasted pine nuts).
I cooked the orzo pilaf-style which basically means toasting it lightly in oil. Stir in the garlic and shallots until fragrant, then add vegetable broth and boil until all the liquid has absorbed. Stir in the lemon zest and juice to infuse the orzo while it cools.
Which brings me to: I cool down the salad to room temperature before adding the finishing touches: Feta and basil. That way, the cheese doesn’t melt and the basil doesn’t wilt. Give it all a toss and you’re good to go!
Thanks again Sandy for this most scrumptious recipe. I appreciate you!
Orzo Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 12 asparagus spears chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 8 ounces orzo pasta uncooked
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves chiffonade
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat for easy cleanup.
- Combine bell peppers, asparagus, and tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Roast until softened, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, add pine nuts to a small dry skillet. Toast over the lowest possible heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium (3.5 quart or larger) saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Add orzo and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until all liquid has been absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in lemon zest and juice and transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Cool to room temperature.
- Add basil, feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper) and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.