Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


A Little of This, A Little of That – Late Summer Pasta Salad

Orzo roasted vegetable salad

One of the many great joys of writing a blog with my dear friend Sally is having access to her recipes. I don’t know about you but I feel a little funny after a dinner party asking my host for the recipe to EVERYTHING we ate. Surely that would not be considered good manners so luckily I can just consult our blog.  While Sally is coming up with delicious meals all the time and adding new recipes to the blog, just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of her Roasted Summer Vegetables, a recipe I’ve made many times, each time a different variation.

Our summer crops are beginning to slow down but after I harvested a basketful, I had enough for a pan of roasted vegetables — this time added to orzo for a late summer pasta salad.

late summer tomatoes  haricots vert green beans

I decided to roast my veggies — cherry tomatoes, little zucchinis, a red pepper, a bulb of fennel, some sweet red onion for just a short time (unlike the original recipe) to serve with the cold pasta. First I tossed them in a large bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Late summer vegetables

Don’t wash the bowl and you can use it later to mix and serve your pasta salad. Spread the veggies in one layer on a shallow baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Summer vegetables ready for roasting

Once cooked, pull the pan out and right away splash them with balsamic vinegar. In my opinion this is the genius in Sally’s recipe. The vinegar mixes with the juices from the vegetables — especially the tomatoes — to make a delicious and intensely flavored glaze. While the veggies were roasting, I cooked some orzo, just like I would any pasta in lots of salted water for about 7 minutes, drained it, rinsed it with cold water, drained it again, then put it in my already oiled bowl.

Roasted Summer Vegetables

The roasted vegetables alone make a delicious side dish with almost anything. A few weeks ago I served them over a bowl of polenta and while that was fabulous, today I needed a dish I could easily transport and eat straight from the cooler. I tossed the vegetables with the cooked and cooled orzo, added chopped kalamata olives, my favorite crumbled goat’s milk feta cheese, chopped parsley and a couple of raw tomatoes from the garden. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done. It’s a great way to use your last few garden veggies and have plenty to go around.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

The light is changing quickly. Late summer is a time to get grounded before fall begins…..


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2 Responses »

  1. Poppy, your post reminded me of something I have always wanted to ask: why do you salt the water when cooking pasta? Thanks.

  2. Vicki, I think it’s just to flavor to the pasta — at least I’ve always assumed that. I could be wrong.