Grilled Vegetable Orzo with Smashed Feta Vinaigrette.
This grilled vegetable orzo will be your new summer BFF.
It’s loaded with flavor. Everyone loves it. It should be dinner tonight!
Okay, but seriously? This orzo has been on repeat for weeks now. IT IS SO GOOD.
First, let’s talk about how versatile it is. You can basically throw whatever veggies you have and love on the grill. There is no right or wrong here, as long as it’s vegetables you like. It’s a great way to do a clean-out-the-fridge meal and use up everything that’s about to spoil.
The veggies that I always do for flavor purposes alone: mushrooms, bell peppers and broccoli.
Those are my faves!
However, as you can see in the photos, I add in many many more vegetables too. Cauliflower, zucchini and scallions here. I also like to throw in asparagus and/or green beans.
Everything ends up tasting incredible thanks to the charred, smoky flavor from the grill, but I also add a dash of balsamic vinegar to make the flavor pop.
When it comes to grilling, the way you grill the vegetables may vary. I love using this grilling basket and this grilling pan for almost all the vegetables. But if you have mushrooms that are thinly sliced, then I suggest grilling them in foil. They will get very crisp and this is where you can add that balsamic flavor.
Of course, if you don’t have a grill, this works just as well with roasted vegetables too. Winning all around right here!
Now this vinaigrette. Oh my gosh. This might be my favorite dressing of the summer. I’m calling it now. My new signature!
You make a classic vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, some herbs, salt, pepper and garlic, them smash feta into that mixture while bring it together. Add your olive oil and boom! It’s perfect.
This reminds me a lot of a blue cheese vinaigrette I’ve been perfecting for a long time. The recipe will be in my next book! There’s just something about these soft cheeses that marinate in the dressing. Fantastic.
More great news:
You can make this ahead of time. Yes! The entire thing. Even this past weekend I made it almost a full 24 hours ahead of time and served it as a cold pasta salad. The flavors become more pronounced and everything marries together even more.
So yes, that means you can serve this warm or cold. It’s totally your choice.
What I’ve been doing? If I want to make it for dinner, then we tend to eat it warm. I grilled the vegetables while making the orzo then toss it all together and serve. If you want to make it for a gathering with family or friends, I suggest taking it at room temp (so making it right before you leave) or serving it cold. All the ways are delicious.
If you do go the dinner route, you can serve this alone, serve it as the main dish with a greens salad or serve it as a side with some grilled chicken or salmon. Of course, you can also add chicken or beans or whatever else you’d like right into the salad.
What I’m really saying is take this and make it your own. You’ll have wonderful leftovers. And double the dressing because you will freak over it!
Grilled Vegetable Orzo with Smashed Feta Vinaigrette
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 4 green onions
- 1 medium zucchini squash, cut into rounds or spears
- olive oil for drizzling
- balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- salt, pepper and garlic powder for sprinkling
- crumbled feta for serving
- fresh herbs, like dill and chives, for serving
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons honey
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Note: there is no wrong way to do the vegetables here! Cut them as you wish (at least large enough so they don’t fall through grates/grill pan), use the vegetables you wish - whatever you love most!
- Preheat the grill to high. Make the dressing first and set it aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package directions - usually around 8 minutes for al dente. If the orzo is finished before everything else is, toss with a spoonful of olive oil so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Grill the vegetables while the water boils and orzo cooks.
- I find that I need 2 grill baskets/trays here to do all the vegetables. You can of course put vegetables right on the grill too - especially things like large pieces of bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini rounds or spears, etc. Toss the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, you can also toss with 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
- If the mushrooms are sliced, I put them on a sheet of foil. (if they are whole, you can place them directly on the grill or grill plate.) Drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. You can add cracked black pepper and garlic powder too. Wait to salt until the mushrooms cook.
- Place the vegetables on the grill. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes total, tossing and turning some of the vegetables every few minutes. The length of time will depend on how small you cut your vegetables, so keep an eye on them. I check every 5 minutes or so.
- Once the vegetables are done, toss them in a large bowl with the orzo. Pout the feta vinaigrette on top and toss. You can add in extra feta, fresh dill or chives if you wish. Either serve immediately, or store in the fridge until you serve. You can make this 24 hours ahead of time. Leftovers are great!
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, herbs and feta. Use a spoon or whisk to smash some of the feta into the mixture. Whisk the olive oil into the dressing until combined. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge. It will separate but whisking or shaking will bring it back together.