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orzo pasta salad with grilled veggies in bowl
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4.85 from 19 votes

Orzo Pasta Salad Recipe (with grilled vegetables)

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 6
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 peppers, any color, seeded and cut into 3-4 pieces each Note 1
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into½ inch rounds
  • 1 red onion, sliced into ½ inch slices
  • 2 tablespoon Catalina/French dressing (or just olive oil if preferred)
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, each, to sprinkle
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregeno or thyme (optional) (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • cooking spray

Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon each, salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bottled BBQ sauce (or more to taste) optional
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley as well as other fresh herbs to taste e.g. basil, chives, thyme, dill

Instructions

  • 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 ½ 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 ¾ 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).

Notes

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 400mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1484IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg