Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables is packed with texture and flavor. A delicious and easy orzo pasta recipe served warm or chilled and makes fabulous leftovers or addition to a picnic. vegetarian + vegan option
Although we had a heatwave a few weeks ago, the chilly air is back in the Pacific Northwest, especially when the clouds float in. They feel like a warm cocoon, and I welcome their presence. We need the rain, I hear it’s on the way, as its been sparse this Spring. Predictions forecast a warmer summer.
Thinking there may be a tiny, infinitesimal chance the heatwave turbocharged the ripening of strawberries and maybe local asparagus, I took a drive out to one of the farms yesterday, not because I’m anxious to get my hands on fresh strawberries and the freshest asparagus or anything.
Pulling up to Bell’s Farm stand is a pleasure. A rustic shed sets adjacent to a flock of sheep who, in the summer will eat any corn husks offered from the farm stand. On the other and opposite side is Bell’s strawberry patch, where the juiciest strawberries on the Island are grown. Her larger strawberry patch sets back on a high bluff overlooking Puget Sound, and beyond, the Olympic Mountains. Can you imagine?
Gazing out over the strawberry field I found abundant white flowers, busy bees pollinating and …
….vibrant green berries.
Feeling a little deflated, I strolled over to the farm stand to see what was fresh. Hoping for asparagus with this orzo pasta recipe in mind, I slowly pulling open the refrigerator door. I found a few bags of baby kale, which made my trip worthwhile. I slipped a five into the cash box and headed to the grocery to pick up my first few pints of strawberries from California and asparagus. I could wait no more.
As far as produce goes from our local farms, we’re a bit later than most of the country due to our climate. I find myself hoarding baby kale and eating this kale salad frequently; the greens are so tender and sweet. Pea shoots, green garlic and herbs are making their appearance as well, and asparagus is a regular now at our Co-Op; it always makes its way into my cart.
Roasted veggies like asparagus shine in this orzo pasta recipe. It’s loaded with nutrients that provide digestive support, is anti-inflammatory, promotes heart health, and is packed with antioxidants. It can be eaten raw, sautéed, steamed, or roasted.
If the stalks seem too woody, I use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer skin of the stalk. I find, though, the freshest asparagus is pretty tender, so very little of the stem needs to be trimmed. To keep asparagus fresh, I store it with the base of the stems wrapped in a damp paper towel and try to enjoy them within 48 hours of purchasing.
This orzo pasta recipe is a family favorite and comes together quickly after the chopping is done. While the veggies are roasting and pine nuts are toasting (hehe), the orzo is cooked and dressing is whipped up.
Serve with a Kale Caesar, crusty bread, and a bottle of red, Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables makes a memorable meal. Dinner is served!
***UPDATE: Thank you all so much for sharing and tagging your 100s of mouthwatering pictures and tips on this recipe on Pinterest, Instagram and in the comments below! I love seeing and hearing your results!
- Due to a few comments regarding roasting, please see notes regarding oven temperatures and roasting times. Also consider your taste when it comes to roasted veggies. More charring (this is what I like) = more time in the oven. Less charring and tender crisp = less time in the oven. Roast to your taste!
More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes to Love:
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
- Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta – from Foolproof Living
- Orecchiette with Garlicky Kale and Breadcrumbs
- Spicy Tomato Chickpea Pasta – from The Bojon Gourmet
Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
This Spring recipe is a family favorite. Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables is delicious served warm or chilled and makes a fabulous addition to a picnic, or potluck. Sub in season veggies like zucchini or asparagus for the asparagus when needed. Vegetarian with Vegan Option
For the Orzo and Veggies:
- 1/3 C Pine Nuts* (see note) 64g
- 1 1/2 C Crimini Mushrooms destemmed and sliced, 116g
- 1 C Mix of Red Yellow, or Orange Bell Peppers, deseeded and diced (I use baby bells), 126g
- 1 lb Asparagus (sub zucchini or eggplant when in season!) cut into 1" pieces with woody ends discarded, 426g
- 12 oz Cherry Tomatoes cut in 1/2, 340g
- 2 tsp Garlic minced, 6g
- 1/2 C Shallot chopped, 116g
- 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided, 36g
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper Ground
- 1 C Orzo 198g
- 1 1/2 C Vegetable Broth 354g
- 1/2 C Garlic and Herb Feta crumbled (Leave off for Vegan Option), 84g
For the Dressing:
For the Garnish:
- 2-3 Tbs Chopped Fresh Basil
- 2-3 Tbs Chopped Fresh Parsley
Toast the Pine Nuts:
Preheat Oven to 350F (177C) and toast pine nuts for 6-7 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Roast the Veggies:
Turn oven up to 425F (218C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, garlic and shallot on one pan. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Using a spatula, mix all the veggies together with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then stir again. Move 1/2 the veggie mixture to the other sheet pan. Spread the veggies in one layer, making sure there's no overlapping on both pans. Roast in 425F oven for 35-40 minutes (due to oven variations, keep an eye on your veggies and start checking your veggies at 25 minutes; a bit of charring is good!** SEE NOTES!!). Rotate pans 1/2 way through roasting.
Cook the Orzo:
In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbs of Olive Oil on medium heat until shimmering. Add the orzo and stir, coating the orzo throughly. Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the orzo is toasty and golden. Add the vegetable broth. Be careful here because the broth will spit and sputter. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Make the Dressing:
In a small bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until all the ingredients are emulsified.
Putting it all Together:
In the large saute pan, to the orzo, add the roasted veggies and all their juices, stir in the dressing, feta, and pine nuts. Garnish generously with basil and parsley. Serve immediately.
*The price of Pine Nuts have skyrocketed! So, I've been using toasted chopped almonds or hazelnuts instead.
For cold service, place in a lidded container and chill for at least an hour. Let set at room temperature for 15 minutes, to soften the olive oil, stir and serve.
**I've read hundreds of notes on Pinterest and Instagram regarding this recipe. Thank you for sharing your notes, pictures and tips! I cannot emphasize this enough... due to oven temperature calibrations (fluctuations) and inaccurate oven temperatures (this is normal!!), please start checking your veggies around 20-25 minutes in the oven. AND....
I enthusiastically recommend an oven thermometer! I’ve baked in commercial bakeries and home ovens, old, lightly used and brand new ovens – they all have their own personalities with temperature variations and fluctuations. Knowing the temperature of your oven is important for the best outcome, especially when it comes to baking/roasting. I keep a close eye on my oven thermometers (I use two just to be sure) when testing/making recipes for the blog so that I am as accurate as possible with including the proper baking temperatures in my recipes.
Inspired By Ina Garten's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.
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