This orzo pasta salad recipe with grilled vegetables is a beautiful make-ahead, under 30 minute side dish and a step up from the usual sides. Vary the ingredients to make it your own.
I’ve been making this orzo salad for years. My daughter and niece Tali always ask for it. It’s one of my go-to vegetarian recipes for BBQ’s and casual dinner parties. The flavors are delish.
There are two ways to grill the vegetables:
- Directly on the grill in larger pieces. Then cut them into smaller pieces when cooked. Or,
- In a grill basket. Cut the veggies into small pieces first, then grill.
- Instead of grilling the vegetables, they can also be roasted or sauteed.
It’s best to use the recipe as a guide, varying the vegetables and seasonings as you like. Just keep tasting and adjusting. You won’t be disappointed.
What to serve with orzo pasta salad
Try serving vegetable orzo salad with Chili Lime Chicken Wings, Cedar Planked Chicken, Marinated Flank Steak, Sous Vide Tri Tip or Grilled Chicken Burgers with Mango-Avocado Salsa. Or on a buffet table with other salads.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use whatever vegetables you like. My favorites are eggplant, peppers and onions. Zucchinis and mushrooms would work well too.
- Add some grilled chicken, tofu or meat to the dish to make it a full meal.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried herbs (about 1/3 of the amounts in the recipe). And feel free to vary them, including adding some heat such as chili flakes or sriracha.
- Add fresh ripe mango or peach cubes – so good!
- Buy grilled or roasted vegetables at the deli counter. Then just cut them into smaller pieces.
- The whole orzo pasta salad can be made a day or two ahead and kept covered in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature or warm in for a couple of minutes in the microwave before serving. It tastes great warm or at room temperature. Or straight out of the left over container in the fridge 🙂
Other orzo pasta recipes you might like
- Parmesan orzo with spinach (15 minutes, one pot)
- pesto orzo with vegetables (20 minutes)
- chicken lemon orzo soup Thai style
- chicken orzo
- wedding soup recipe with zest
How to make this orzo pasta salad recipe
Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe (with grilled vegetables)
- 1 1/2 cup dry orzo pasta
- 2 peppers, any color, seeded and cut into 3-4 pieces each Note 1
- 1 small eggplant, sliced into1/2 inch rounds
- 1 red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoon Catalina/French dressing (or just olive oil if preferred)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each, to sprinkle
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregeno or thyme (optional) (or 1 tsp dried)
- cooking spray
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon bottled BBQ sauce (or more to taste) optional
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley as well as other fresh herbs to taste e.g. basil, chives, thyme, dill
- Heat grill to medium-high.
- MAKE ORZO: Cook orzo pasta according to package directions and level of firmness you like. Drain and set aside.
- GRILL VEGETABLES: Lay out cut vegetables on a large foil-lined pan. Drizzle and coat the vegetables with Catalina dressing or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and oregano or thyme (if using). No need to do both sides of veggies. Spray the vegetables lightly with oil spray (to prevent sticking on grill). Grill vegetables a few minutes on each side until tender. Remove vegetables from the grill and cut into small 1/2 inch pieces.
- MAKE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING: Whisk the first 4 vinaigrette ingredients in a small measuring cup.
- ASSEMBLE ORZO SALAD: Combine in a nice bowl the chopped vegetables, parsley and other fresh herbs (if using) and orzo with about 3/4 of the vinaigrette. Mix in BBQ sauce (if using), parsley and other herbs. Taste, then add more lemon juice or vinaigrette if needed, adjusting seasonings and/or BBQ sauce to your taste. If you can, make this dish a few hours or a day ahead to let the flavors blend. Serve at room temperature or warm. (warm in microwave for a couple of minutes before serving).
- Two ways to Grill Vegetables:
- Follow instructions in recipe, grilling larger pieces then chopping them after cooking.
- Alternatively, cut veggies into smaller pieces, toss with oil, dressing, etc, then grilled in a grill basket sprayed with oil.
- Make Ahead: The whole dish can be made a day or two ahead and kept covered in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature or warm in for a couple of minutes in the microwave before serving. It tastes great warm or at room temperature.