Hi friends, happy Friday!!!
Who’s ready for the weekend? 🙋🏻🙋🏻
First of all, I want to thank all of you who have supported me with the launch of my blog! So many of you have liked my Instagram page, Facebook page, pinned my recipes, shared my blog and sent me sweet messages of encouragement! It really means a lot, THANK YOU❤️ Staring a blog has been on my mind for a long time and I’m so excited to finally get started! It does have its challenges (I really do understand why some people have courses and full-time jobs in creating websites) Thankfully, with the help of FoodBloggerPro and my friend Sam who happily came to the rescue (I might have lured him in with brown butter chocolate chunk cookies …) I’m slowly getting the hang of it (key word: slowly). One day at a time right?
So, to thank you all, I’m sharing this delicious Orzo Salad recipe! Full of roasted veggies, basil vinaigrette and feta cheese, YUM. It makes a big batch so perfect for a dinner party accompanied with some grilled protein or simply on it’s own as meal prep for the week, lunch is served!
If you’re not familiar with orzo, it’s a small pasta sort of shaped like a grain of rice. You will find it in the pasta section of the grocery store. It’s delicious in salads as it really absorbs the flavor of the vinaigrette.
It’s really key two combine the asparagus & zucchini together and the onions & peppers together. You want your zucchini mixture to still have a slight crunch to it. If you overcook them they will become mushy and really loose their flavour, who wants mushy asparagus? This is why you remove them from the oven after only 10-12 minutes. The onions and peppers on the other hand develop flavor as they caramelize. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Sometimes making a little extra step like separating the veggies by their cooking time will really change the overall result of your recipe. It’s worth it, trust me 😉
For the vinaigrette, the recipe makes a bit more than I used for my salad. I added about ¾ of the vinaigrette and it was perfect. I had a total of about 6 ½ cups chopped raw veggies (they will shrink once they’re cooked) but if you have more veggies you might need more vinaigrette. Taste as you go. Some people like their salads really saucy, go for it!! I kept the leftover sauce in the fridge and added a little bit to my salad during the week just to refresh it. It would also be delicious drizzled over protein if you decided to serve some alongside.
So, there you have it, roasted vegetable orzo salad with basil vinaigrette. You could totally substitute the feta for goat cheese, delicious!! Or omit the cheese completely if you want to make it dairy free! Play around with it! Hope you enjoy this recipe, please let me know when you try it out! Spring is finally hereee, have a great sunny weekend!
This delicious Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is so packed with flavor! It is fantastic on it’s own or topped with grilled protein. Omit the cheese it you want to make it dairy free! It will definitely be a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!!
For the salad:
- 1 1/2 cups dried orzo pasta
- 2 small zucchinis seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 large bunch asparagus, stemmed and chopped into bite size pieces (about 1½ cups)
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 medium red onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt + Pepper
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping
For the vinaigrette
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 2 green onions, roughly chopped
- 1 small clove garlic, grated
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Salt + Pepper
For the orzo:
1. Cook the orzo per the package directions. Once cooked, drain and set aside to cool.
For the roasted vegetables:
- Preheat your oven to 425F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In one bowl, combine the diced red onion/bell pepper with 2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), season with salt + pepper. In a second bowl, combine the zucchini/asparagus with the remaining EVOO, season with salt + pepper.
- Add both pans to your pre-heated oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. After 10-12 minutes, remove the zucchini/asparagus. Keep an eye on the onion/pepper mixture*.
- Once the veggies are roasted, set aside to cool.
For the vinaigrette:
- In a blender or mini food processor, combine basil leaves, grated garlic, green onions, EVOO, red wine vinegar and salt + pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the vinaigrette to a jar. ** see note
For the salad:
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked & cooled orzo, roasted vegetables and feta cheese. Start of by drizzling about 3/4 of your basil vinaigrette and mix thoroughly (see note*). Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt + pepper. Top with additional feta cheese.
* The reason you remove the asparagus/zucchini mixture beforehand is simply because these veggies take less time to cook. If you overcook them they will become mushy and lose their flavor. Your onion/peppers mixture on the other hand will have a nice caramelized flavor.
**I used about 3/4 of the vinaigrette recipe for my salad. You can absolutely use all of it but I suggest starting with that amount and tasting as you go. Use the leftover vinaigrette for dipping veggies, topping grilled meat or adding to leftover orzo salad during the week if it becomes a little dry.