This simple roasted winter vegetable orzo salad makes the most of this season’s produce. It’s simple to make with roasted squash and Brussels sprouts, flavourful stock-simmered orzo pasta and a citrus-y lemon vinaigrette. This vegetable pasta salad can stand alone as a great vegetarian main or as a side to a soup or sandwich.
Orzo is my new favourite pasta shape. I was so stoked when my local supermarket finally started carrying it. Now I’m just waiting for them to start carrying fettuccini and linguini (yeah, my supermarket SUCKS).
Orzo is so much fun to eat. It feels good in your mouth and it’s so versatile. It’s great not only in salads but also in soups or just as a regular pasta dish with pesto or sauce. You can also cook it differently depending on what you’re doing with it.
For this winter vegetable orzo salad recipe I’ve cooked the orzo like rice by first toasting it in a bit of olive oil then adding enough stock for it to simmer in and absorb all the liquid. You can also cook orzo in a large pot of water and drain it when it’s ready just like regular pasta.
For simple orzo pasta salad recipes like this one, I prefer to cook it like rice because it comes out super flavourful and with an almost creamy texture. It’s also faster since you don’t have to wait for a pot of water to come to a boil and since orzo is so small, it cooks quickly.
Toss your cooked orzo with your favourite vegetables. It’s winter so I went for roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and dried cranberries. Feel free to change out the veggies for anything else you prefer!
While the vegetables were roasting I threw together a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. A sprinkling of parsley or your favourite herb overtop adds a bit more colour but is totally optional!
I prefer to serve this roasted winter vegetable orzo salad as soon as it’s made while the veggies are still warm and the orzo is creamy but you can also serve it at room temperature or cold if you have any leftovers in the fridge.
For the roasted vegetables
- 2 cups (about 265 grams) cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups (about 230 grams) halved Brussels sprouts
- A drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- The zest of half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons agave
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the orzo
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup (about 190 grams) orzo
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- A couple tablespoons of your favourite chopped herb (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Place the veggies on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. I like to arrange the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, tossing halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown.
- Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- Heat the olive oil for the orzo in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the orzo and toast, stirring frequently, for a couple of minutes until it begins to turn light golden. Add the chopped garlic and continue to toast until the orzo is golden brown.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and lower the heat to low. Simmer until the orzo is tender and the liquid has been absorbed – about 10 minutes. You can stir it from time to time to ensure it’s not sticking and to check how quickly it’s cooking. If it’s cooking too quickly with a lot of liquid leftover, you can uncover the saucepan.
- When the veggies and orzo are done, toss them together in a large bowl and add the dried cranberries along with a pinch of salt and pepper. I like to serve the vinaigrette on the side for people to add as much as they like. You can also toss it all together if you prefer. Garnish with your favourite chopped herb if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 645 Total Fat: 35g Saturated Fat: 5g Sodium: 1689mg Carbohydrates: 82g Sugar: 38g Protein: 11g
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