Food & Fitness, Life

Rainbow Orzo Pasta Salad

I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS DISH!

My love affair began 7 years ago, thanks to an old friend and colleague at the CBC. She had me over for lunch one day and the second I took a bite I was hooked. (Cue the eye rolling, the moaning and the slapping of the table… Pretty standard when I love something.)

Guaranteed my friend Ronna has no idea how much I continue to obsess over this pasta salad, all these years later. She just listed the ingredients off the top of her head that day and then not long after, moved to Toronto.

Here’s why I like this recipe so much… Make it once, and you likely won’t need to follow the recipe ever again. It’s that simple and foolproof. Also, feel free to substitute some of the ingredients, or add meat, like grilled chicken. It’s packed with five yummy vegetables, nuts, and fresh herbs. The best part is, you can get all your ingredients at the Italian Centre, if you want a one-stop-shop kind of recipe!!

Here we go, here we go, here we go!

INGREDIENTS:

-1 red pepper, roughly chopped

-1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped

-1 orange pepper, roughly chopped

-1 red onion, roughly chopped

-1 large eggplant, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes

-3-4 garlic cloves, minced

-a heaping 1/3 cup of roasted pine nuts (roasted is key!!)

-1 lb. (454g) of spelt orzo pasta

-1 packed cup of fresh basil

-4 to 5 green onions

-4 tbsp of fresh lemon juice

-3 tbsp of olive oil (to roast veggies) and another 1/8 cup (for the dressing)

-feta cheese for topping (also key!!)

-sea salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

-Preheat the oven to 375F.

-Combine peppers, eggplant, red onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 3 tbsp of oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir until thoroughly coated.

-Grease a large baking sheet and spread out the veggies. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, then flip with a spatula, and roast for another 10-15 minutes until browned to your liking. I like them pretty charred!

-Meanwhile, cook the orzo pasta according to instructions. Drain. Drizzle with oil to keep it from sticking and stir occasionally until veggies are done.

-Slice the green onions and the basil.

-Roast the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat. (Don’t multi-task while you’re doing this because if you’re like me, you’ll forget about them and they’ll burn!)

-Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, combine them with the pasta, the green onions, the basil and the pine nuts. Stir. Then add the lemon juice and the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

-Top with crumbled feta cheese. I put a lot, and sometimes I even throw in a bit of the feta water! Trust your taste buds and adjust accordingly.

Serve immediately. This recipe serves 4-5 people.

Leftovers are great for lunch. I just recommend reheating them slightly, to release some of the flavours.

PLEASE let me know what you think and feel free to email me if you have any questions!