Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that is very convenient for making salads. Just dice all the vegetables the same size as the orzo grains, add a vinaigrette, and you’re all set. If you need meat in your meal, diced smoked turkey is a healthy and tasty option.
The reason I made this is that Lulu’s family organized a fun picnic for Memorial weekend in Big Basin. It was a pot luck, and I volunteered to make the veggie dish. The orzo pasta salad is easy to make and easy to transport, which are both important considerations when you’re planning a picnic. Just drizzle the vinaigrette when you’re ready to eat. Make it for your next family picnic or barbecue; it’s guaranteed to be a hit!
1. Info for Vegetarian Orzo Pasta Salad
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 8
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Vegetarian Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 16-oz package orzo pasta
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 drizzle olive oil
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- 1 cup baby carrots, finely diced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 roasted orange bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cup yellow corn kernels, drained
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup black olives, finely diced
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 Tbs canola oil
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- zest and freshly squeezed juice of a lemon
- 1/2 cup feta, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground
- 1 cup raw broccoli
- 3 cups arugula
- 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette
- For the orzo pasta: Bring about 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta is cooked all the way through evenly. Cook the pasta for about 12 minutes total. Salt the water half way through the cooking process, add some olive oil (it will bring out the natural flavor of the pasta and the pasta will be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so that the pasta does not stick to the bottom. It may take longer than the cooking time that is written on the box. When the pasta is cooked (cooked inside and out but still in shape and firm), drain the pasta (do NOT rinse). Transfer the cooked pasta to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and its zest. Season with fleur de sel. Let the pasta cool to room temperature. Add about 1/3 cup of the raspberry vinaigrette. Mix well. Plastic-wrap the bowl, then chill in the refrigerator until the rest of the preparation is ready.
- For the eggplant: Slice the unpeeled eggplants lengthwise in 5 pieces. Layer a tray on top of a cooling rack, then place the eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle salt and let sit for 1/2 hour. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Brush a hot griddle pan with oil. Drizzle oil on the eggplant slices, then place the slices on the griddle. Cook until you get grill marks (about 4 minutes on each side). Remove from the heat and transfer on a plate. Allow to cool, then dice into small cubes.
- For the broccoli: Blanch the greens in about a quart of boiling water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Strain and immediately transfer the broccoli into a cold water bath. Pat dry on a towel. Cut into small bite-sized pieces.
- Assembly time: In a large bowl, combine the orzo pasta, baby carrots, the roasted bell peppers, corn, sun dried tomatoes, olives, feta and broccoli. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bon appétit!