Vegetable-Orzo Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese

Vegetable-orzo pasta salad with goat cheese.

This easy-to-assemble pasta salad will keep for a few hours, making it ideal for picnics and days spent floating on the river.

Vegetable-Orzo Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese

Recipe courtesy Kelly Spencer of The Social Affair Catering & Event Design in St. Louis

Serves | 10 |

Basil-Rosemary Vinaigrette

  • 3 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 1½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ Tbsp honey
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • ½ Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb orzo
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 bell peppers (red, yellow and green), sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme or basil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • basil-rosemary vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 16 oz roughly chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz crumbled goat cheese

| Preparation – Basil-Rosemary Vinaigrette | In a large bowl, add all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

| Preparation – Pasta Salad | Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook orzo according to package directions until al dente, reserving 1 quart of pasta water.

In a large bowl, toss next 7 ingredients until combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a sheet pan and roast for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are caramelized. In the same large bowl you tossed the vegetables in, toss cooked orzo with roasted vegetables to combine.

Slowly add basil-rosemary vinaigrette and reserved pasta water, just a little at a time, until pasta salad is nicely coated. Discard any remaining pasta water. Add spinach to warm salad to wilt.

| Assembly | Serve pasta salad in individual Chinese take-out boxes; to prevent the boxes from getting wet in the cooler, protect them in an insulated bag or a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can serve the salad in individual plastic Mason jars.

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