Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. This makes a great side dish, pot luck dish or meal on its own. It’s great cold or at room temperature, and holds up beautifully in the fridge. I modified the recipe slightly to reduce unnecessary oil. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-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
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices. Lightly brush or spray with olive oil. Proceed to cut into cubes and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the eggplant and toss. (The reason I initially separate the eggplant from the rest of the vegetables is because it will soak up every bit of oil and prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour all the vegetables back onto the sheet pan (two sheet pans may be necessary to prevent the vegetables from being over crowded). Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil.