Growing up, vegetables were not really high on my list of favorite foods. My mom would make dad stuffed bell peppers frequently and I would always turn up my nose with a resounding "EEEwwww!", sort of like my kids do now. However, last year I stuffed my own Poblanos and loved it. I've also been grilling zucchini and asparagus and I actually find myself craving arugula and spinach salads. Ina's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, which I tweaked using my own veggie favorites and turning to my trusty grill, became a favorite after the first try.
Filling the salad with grilled zucchini, onions, and asparagus has me even making extra veggies so that I can nibble as I put the salad together. A few sprigs of basil from my garden, a zesty dressing with lemon and oil and a handful of crumbled feta complete the salad while my mouth waters in anticipation.
Serving the salad along with our grilled fillets yesterday, my Mother in Law literally skipped dessert in favor of two extra salad helpings! If that isn't a testament to its wholesome goodness I'm not sure what is.
An ideal salad for spring and summer with versatility being key. Out of zucchini? How about eggplant instead? Have a few roasted red peppers on hand? Toss 'em in! Cherry tomatoes make a nice addition when those little red fruits overload your summer garden and any sort of summer squash fits nicely with that lovely lemon dressing.
Orzo with Grilled Vegetables
6 summer squash combo, slice length-wise into 1/4 inch strips (I frequently use zucchini and yellow squash)1 bunch asparagus, cleaned
1 red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
olive oil (I used a garlic/herb infused oil)
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
crumbled or diced feta
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
Heat grill to a medium/medium high temp. Rub veggies with oil. When grill is hot lay veggies directly onto grill grates and turn heat down to medium-low. Turning once or twice grill veggies until tender. Remove from grill and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large serving bowl. Allow to cool. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta.