Orzo with roasted vegetables is more than the sum of its parts. Grassy asparagus and zesty lemon come together with chickpeas and garlic to make the perfect midweek meal.
Orzo is so underrated! It makes a great canvas for a variety of flavors, and it can be cooked like pasta or made creamier by cooking it like rice. I love it in this simple recipe that's flavored with lemon, garlic and touch of chili peppers.
We make this dish a lot during the week. The beauty of orzo with roasted vegetable is its flexibility. It's so easy to substitute the vegetables in the recipe for what you have in the fridge. You could try zucchini (courguettes), eggplant (aubergine), bell peppers or mushrooms.
- Orzo: Orzo is an Italian dried pasta. Traditionally it's made from semolina, but you frequently find it made with durum wheat. Both have their uses - wheat orzo tends to lend itself to creamy dishes like risotto as it releases more starch when it cooks. Semolina orzo makes a great base for pilafs or cold salads. You can learn more about orzo here.
- Asparagus: Roasting asparagus takes away its bitter edge without sacrificing the yummy grassy quality that makes this vegetable so well suited to the flavors in this dish.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Choose the ripest and best quality tomatoes that you can find - I like piccolo tomatoes for their sweetness.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas add a protein to this dish, rounding it out and making it suitable for a full meal.
- Black Olives: Briny and salty, black olives strike the perfect note.
- Lemon: Lemon is the heart and soul of this dish. The juice and zest give you a lemony zing in every bite.
- Olive Oil: Choose an extra virgin olive oil for this dish. A good quality olive oil will have that grassy, spring like bite to it that complements the other flavors.
- Chili Pepper Flakes: Chili pepper flakes add a nice spicy touch. Use more or less, depending on how much heat you can take!
How to Make Orzo with Roasted Vegetables:
Preheat the oven and mix the olive oil and minced garlic together. Set this aside so the flavors can mingle while you get on with chopping the vegetable. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half, and cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicon and spread the chopped vegetables, olives and chickpeas out evenly. Drizzle the garlic/olive oil mixture over everything and gently turn the vegetables over with a spatula to ensure that everything is coated in the flavorful oil. Pop it all in the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes, turn everything over gently at the half way point. When the vegetables and chickpeas are done roasting, the tomatoes should be slightly charred and releasing their liquid, but the chickpeas shouldn't be crispy.
While the veg is roasting, start your orzo. We're going to cook the orzo like rice for this recipe. Heat a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan and saute the orzo until it's golden (about 3 minutes). Pour three cups of water into the pan and wait until it all comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat and pop the lid on and cook until all the water is absorbed....It should take about 15 minutes on low heat, but check a few times to make sure the orzo isn't sticking. If the heat is too high, the orzo might stick to the bottom of the pan. If you notice this happening, add a bit more water.
While the orzo is cooking and the vegetables are roasting, mix the dressing ingredients together. Add more or less chili pepper flakes depending on how much spice you prefer.
Now, drizzle the dressing over the creamy orzo and gently stir in the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Garnish with your favorite herbs and enjoy!
Looking for more simple and tasty dinner ideas?
Orzo With Roasted Vegetables
Orzo and Roasted Vegetables
- 1½ cups orzo (250 grams)
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes (225 grams)
- 1 cup asparagus (175 grams) chopped in 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup pitted black olives (65 grams) cut in two
- 1 can chickpeas drained and washed
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
- 3 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes (or less for less spicy)
- Handful fresh herbs such as parsley, dill or mint
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius (425 F).
- Mince the garlic and mix with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the cherry tomatoes, asparagus, olives and chickpeas on the tray. Drizzle the olive oil/garlic mixture over the top, and turn everything over with a spatula to ensure everything is well coated in the oil. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a non stick pan. When the oil is hot, add the orzo and saute until the orzo is golden (about two minutes). Add 3 cups of water to the pan, bring to a simmer, put the lid on the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the orzo is creamy.
- While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt and chili pepper flakes together in a small bowl.
- Mix the dressing in with the cooked orzo and gently stir in the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Garnish with herbs.