Romesco Orzo Pasta Salad

4 servings
45 min

With summer produce quickly disappearing, it's the perfect time to use what's still in season while they're still available! Roast some bell peppers and cherry tomatoes to make a savory romesco sauce and use that sauce to make one delicious romesco orzo pasta salad. This salad has it all from buttery orzo to charred tomatoes, caramelized eggplants, crumbled feta, fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts, and of course, the romesco sauce. This can be served as a side dish or main dish, great for entertaining or for a casual lunch. Top it with your choice of protein to make it hearty and satisfying.

romesco orzo pasta salad

char the vegetables

ingredients for the pasta salad

finished pasta salad

Recipe details

  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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Ingredients

Romesco sauce

  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Pasta salad

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 4 Calabrian chilies
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the halved cherry tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet in an even layer. Place the bell pepper on a baking sheet. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and the bell pepper is charred. Reserve half of the tomatoes and set aside. Transfer the bell pepper into a container and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and remove the skin and discard the seeds.
Blend the bell pepper with half of the cherry tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup toasted almonds, 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tbsp sherry vinegar. With the blender running, slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the diced eggplant and sliced red onion until softened and caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 cup orzo and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and add the orzo to the cooked eggplant and red onion. Add the reserved cherry tomatoes, Calabrian chilies, and romesco sauce. Stir gently until combined. Top with crumbled feta, pine nuts, fresh dill, and parsley. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Christine Ma
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