Summer's freshest vegetables come together with healthy whole wheat orzo in this satisfying plant-based Italian pasta salad. This makes a great dish for a grilling picnic or serve to a party as a vegetarian side. Leftovers get even better the next day for lunch. Bright flavor meets whole-grain, vegan nutrition.
MEDIUM Servings: 4 Ready In: 35 minutes
6 oz. whole wheat orzo pasta (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 Chinese eggplant
1 bell pepper, any color
2 small tomatoes (or one large)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
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Gather ingredients. Preheat oven to 450 F. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
To Prepare the Vegetables: While the oven and water heat up, prep your vegetables. Dice the bell pepper, eggplant, and zucchini into large, bite-sized pieces. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. . Roast at 450F for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10-12 minutes, until browned around the edges.
Dice the tomatoes. Retain as much of the juices as you can.
Remove the stems of the parsley and chop well.
To Boil the Pasta: Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir. Cook according to package directions, about 8-10 minutes. Be sure not to overcook or you'll have mushy pasta.
To make the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.
After about 8 minutes, check the pasta for tenderness. It should still have a "bite".
Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and immediately rinse under cold water. Rinse until completely chilled, about 30 seconds. Drain well. Then add to the bowl with the tomatoes and parsley.
When the vegetables are done roasting, remove from the oven.
Add the roasted vegetables to the large bowl with the tomatoes and parsley. Stir well to combine.
Add a couple tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, to make a creamier salad. Depending on your taste, you might add just 2 tbsp up to 1/2 cup or so. The juiciness of the tomatoes will also affect how wet your pasta salad becomes.
Taste to adjust seasoning and serve. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
Chef's Tip: Chinese Eggplant is skinnier and less spongy than the traditional Italian globe eggplant. It cooks faster and has less bitter flavor, ideal for this easy recipe.
Yield: 6 cups
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (about 1 1/2 cups).
Calories From Fat (8%) 7.44
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.9g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.09g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 156.82mg 7%
Potassium 445.65mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 20.47g 7%
Fiber 5.9g 24%
Protein 4.1g 8%
Calcium 58.09mg 6%
Iron 30.69mg 171%
Vitamin A 1630.4IU 33%
Vitamin C 797.64mg 1329%