The popular phrase “eat the rainbow” refers to eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rather than a uniform selection with no diversity. The body needs many different nutrients and they come from different colored food items, so a “rainbow” diet with color variations is healthier.
That’s the reasoning, so let’s increase our spectrum with a tasty roasted vegetable orzo pasta recipe. This pasta is packed with flamboyant vegetables that promote heart and digestive health. I love healthy pasta recipes like this because I can indulge in pasta while getting the health benefits from oven roasted vegetables.
This orzo pasta is incredibly easy and comes together quickly. The only time-intensive step is washing and chopping vegetables. You can cheat by using pre-chopped vegetables, but where’s the fun in that? It’s summer, so stop by the local farmer’s market for your ingredients. You’ll need the following vegetables: asparagus, an assortment of red, orange, and yellow peppers, shallots, garlic, and cherry tomatoes. Feel free to add in other vegetables you enjoy roasted.
If you don’t have a farmer’s market, consider growing your own vegetables for next year’s meals. I love walking out to my garden and gathering my own cherry tomatoes for this recipe. Asparagus is also found by river banks, so you can forage for it if your area fosters its growth. Become self-sufficient: learn other options and sources for your food. Start cutting your bonds to the grocery story. Local farms are a great secondary option if you don’t have your own garden. Farm fresh always beats store-bought and your own garden produce always beats farmer’s market products. Grow along with me by building your own raised garden planter!
For this lemon vegetable orzo pasta, we first wash and chop the vegetables. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up. If you don’t have parchment paper, add in a little extra oil to ensure the vegetables won’t stick to the cookie sheets. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, spread them onto the two sheets, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven at 425F and roast for about 40 minutes. Half way through roasting, rotate the sheets to ensure even roasting. The vegetables will shrink as they roast, so don’t worry if your sheets are packed with vegetables.
During the roasting, toss together the lemon pepper dressing by mixing olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper. This dressing is simple, and it brings a tangy twist to the vegetable orzo. When 20 minutes remain in the roasting (when you swap the sheets), begin cooking your orzo so it’s done when the vegetables finish. This allows for combining everything in a timely manner.
This vegetarian pasta dish is one of my favorites, and I make it often because of how easy and delicious it is! I also make it when I have guests for dinner, and I double the recipe. This lemon garlic orzo hasn’t received any negative reviews yet, so I hope you give it a taste! My easy focaccia bread is a perfect pairing for this—scoop some orzo onto a slice of toasted focaccia and chow on down! YUM!
Roasted Garden Vegetable Orzo Pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup herbed feta
- Preheat the oven to 425F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Chop or dice the vegetables and place on the sheets. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and stir around until the vegetables are evenly coated. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, rotating at 20 minutes to ensure even roasting.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the lemon dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust accordingly.
- After 20 minutes of roasting, rotate the cookie sheets and begin cooking the orzo. Melt the butter over medium heat and then add the orzo. Roast the orzo for 1-2 minutes until toasty and add in the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, turn to low, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes until the orzo is done.
- Combine the orzo, roasted vegetables, dressing, and pine nuts.