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Roasted Veggie Orzo Sald Recipe


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     Roasted Veggie Orzo Sald

Category   Salads - Soups - Sidedishes
Sub Category   None
Servings   12
Preptime   1 hour

1 box Orzo
3 bell peppers, any color
2 yellow squash
1 zucchini squash
1 sweet onion
1 cup pine nuts, roasted
12oz crumbled Feta Cheese
1 cup Wishbone Italian dressing
1/4 cup olive oil or a bit less
4 scallions, minced green and white, optional
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, optional
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, optional
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and cut veggies into large pieces, quarter the onion. I recommend cutting the squash diagonally at about 1/4 inch so the slices are larger. In a large bowl toss the veggies with olive oil. Meanwhile, in the oven or toaster oven roast the pine nuts at 350 for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through - watch closely to ensure they are not burned. Let the nuts cool.
In a large deep oven pan spread the veggies in ONE layer, roast in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes to an hour, tossing halfway through. Alternatively, grill the veggies over medium high heat until slightly blackened on both sides which takes about 20 minutes. If grilling, remove veggies as they are slightly blackened to a covered bowl (covered will continue cooking via steaming them once removed from the heat) while you complete the next steps. The onion quarters will separate while cooking, this is okay, just turn them as needed to prevent burning.
Cook the Orzo via the box directions, so about 11 minutes with a tbs of salt. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rise with cold water. Coarsely chop the veggies to small pieces, relative to the size of the Orzo - so think small diced. In a large bowl put the cooled diced veggies, cooled roasted pine nuts and cooled Orzo. Pour the cooled veggie juice into the bowl as well. Toss. Add the Italian dressing and the Feta cheese. If there are large chunks of Feta you will want to crumble a bit more. Salt and Pepper to taste, if needed, but normally you do not need this due to natural flavor and salt while cooking the pasta. Remember, pasta absorbs liquid so you may need to add more dressing later or add a bit of red wine vinegar (for a bit of a bite) if desired.
Let the salad mingle in the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight for peak taste. The scallions do not make or break the recipe, if you have on hand use them, if not omit. The basil gives a great but stronger Mediterranean taste, so your choice. Try different veggies such as eggplant, broccoli or asparagus. Any veggies that are good oven or grill roasted will work. Remember, all ingredients MUST be completely cooled before you add the Feta or the salad will be RUINED. Trust me, I've learned from my mistakes. For more of a bite use Balsamic dressing versus Italian.

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