This orzo pasta is filled with roasted vegetables and drizzled with lemon and a garlic olive oil vinaigrette. It’s full of texture and flavors and makes an easy but delicious meal. It’s vegetarian but can easily be made vegan!
If you were looking for an easy & healthy recipe you’ve found it here. It’s packed with nutrients and delicious flavors. We choose for asparagus, mushrooms, red onion, red bell peppers and spinach, but you can definitely experiment or use leftover veggies. Roasted zucchini or eggplant would fit this meal as well!
What is orzo?
This is our first orzo recipe but definitely not the last. We are in love with this cute rice-shaped pasta. ‘Orzo’ is Italian for ‘barley’ and for all our Portuguese friends, ‘pevide’. It’s classified as pasta, but cooked like rice. Italians often use it in soups, salads, or as a side dish. In Italy you can even drink caffe d’orzo. It’s a caffeine-free coffee substitute made of toasted barley.
Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour. Although it’s classified as a grain food, it’s not made of a whole grain. That said, it’s not rice despite its look-a-like-shape.
How to cook orzo?
To create firm and beautiful orzo don’t forget to toast it first in olive oil before cooking it. This way the pasta will stay more firm and have the perfect bite. Toast it for about 3 minutes until light brown. You can either cook it as you cook your regular pasta, boiled in vegetable broth and drained. Al dente it will be cooked in 10 minutes. The pasta can also be cooked as you cook rice. In this case use 1 cup of orzo and 1,5 cup of vegetable broth. The vegetable broth will be absorbed in 8-10 minutes. Give it a stir and transfer to a bowl to cool down or serve immediately. The most important thing is not to overcook it because it will get too soft. So if you use it in soup, add the orzo at the end.
Orzo can be found in the supermarkets in the pasta section. In Portugal look for ‘massa pevide’, brands we found are Milaneza, Nacional, but also house brands like Continente and Minipreço. Pevide is mostly sold in small packages of 250 grams because in Portugal it’s only used in soups.
Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Lemon & Garlic
- 250 grams orzo in Portugal pevide is similar
- asparagus ends cut off
- 200 grams crimini mushrooms cut in slices
- 2 bell paprika chopped red or, red & yellow or orange
- 300 grams cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2 minced garlic
- 1½ cup vegetable broth
- feta for vegans leave it out, it's not a must.
- basil chopped
- 100 gram spinach
- ½ red onion
- pepper & sea salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- a handful of seeds or pine nuts we used a mix of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- squeeze of half a lemon
- pepper & sea salt
- Preheat the oven for 200°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. First add all the chopped vegetables to one baking sheet. Mix two minced garlic with the olive oil , pepper and sea salt in a small bowl. Drizzle all over the vegetables and give it a good toss with either your hands or a spatula.
- Divide the vegetables over two baking sheets so they have space to roast evenly. Transfer into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Check after 15 minutes, maybe you'll need to swap the baking sheets from height. Each oven has a different power so always keep an eye on it to prevent your veggies from being burned. A few black spots is good and adds a smoky flavor, but don't overdo it.
- While the veggies are roasting, prepare the orzo. In a large saucepan heath 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the orzo (pevide) and toast it for about 4 minutes until they start to brown a little bit. Add 1½ cup of vegetable broth and cover with a lid. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes on medium heath. They should be soft but still have a bite. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool down.
- While the orzo is cooking toast the seeds in a small saucepan. Just warm it up a little until they start to brown. It will give them a toasty taste.
- Sauté the spinach in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Use a large skillet. Season with pepper and salt. Set aside.
- Once the vegetables are roasted you can mix it up with the orzo. We used a large skillet to mix them together and serve it. Mix up the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and drizzle it all over the orzo.
- Garnish with basil and the toasted seeds. If you want you can add crumbled feta cheese on top, but it's not a must. Without the feta cheese this is a 100% vegan meal!
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