Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
This zesty lemon garlic orzo with roasted vegetables makes the perfect healthy side dish or a light meal by itself.
About this Recipe
This simple but tasty orzo recipe is packed with flavour and sure to be a hit! It’s easy to make with minimal ingredients and whether you grill or roast them, it’s a great way to use up veggies from the fridge or garden.
The vegetables are roasted in olive oil and herbs to bring out their flavours, then mixed with orzo and a lemony dressing for a zesty and savoury flavour combo.
The orzo can be served right away as a hot pasta dish or cooled and served as a cold pasta salad. Either way, it’s sure to be a new favourite. You can’t beat it for a quick weeknight meal or easy side dish.
- Vegetarian and vegan (dairy-free).
- Easy to make with minimal ingredients.
- Can be customized with any vegetables.
- Ready in about 30 minutes.
- Enjoy as a side dish or meatless main.
- Can be served hot or cold.
- Makes great leftovers so works for meal prep.
A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- Orzo: Orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta. Be sure to read the label if you’re vegan as some brands contain eggs.
- Red Bell Pepper: The recipe calls for red bell pepper but orange or yellow bell pepper would also work.
- Zucchini: You’ll need one small fresh zucchini.
- Red Onion: One small or half a large red onion. Red onion is best here but you could use a white onion if that’s all you have.
- Tomato: Use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
- Garlic: Use 2 cloves of garlic of if needed, you can substitute 1 tsp garlic granules.
- Dried Herbs: You’ll need dried thyme and oregano. You can substitute 2 tbsp each of minced fresh herbs if you like.
- Lemon: You’ll need 1 fresh lemon to make the lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Olive Oil: A good quality extra virgin olive oil works best here. I wouldn’t recommend another oil.
- Parsley: Optional but adds some freshness when mixed in at the end. Basil would also be nice!
Step 1: Roast the Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Chop up all your veggies, cutting roughly the same bite-sized pieces for everything, and add them to a large sheet pan in a single layer.
Add 1/2 a tablespoon (1.5 tsp) of the olive oil, the thyme and oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast the veggies for about 30 minutes, stirring them halfway through.
QUICK TIP: Use a large baking sheet, or two if needed, so the veggies can lay in an even layer with room to breathe.
When they’re piled on top of each other they tend to steam rather than roast so be sure to give them some room so they get perfectly roasted and caramelized!
Step 2: Cook the Orzo
Once the veggies are in the oven, start bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cook your orzo according to the package instructions. Once it’s done, drain and add to a large mixing bowl or serving bowl.
I prefer orzo cooked al dente, which was 6 minutes of cooking time for the brand I used. It can vary from 5-10 minutes though, so check the package for instructions.
Step 3: Mix the Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Quick Tip: Use a citrus planer or garlic press to get the garlic nice and smooth, almost like a paste!
Step 4: Combine and Enjoy!
Once the veggies are done, add them to the bowl with the orzo along with the vinaigrette and chopped parsley and mix everything up.
That’s it! Serve the orzo right away for a hot pasta or chill in the fridge until serving for a cold dish.
For serving, try sprinkling with more parsley and fresh cracked black pepper, lemon and/or fresh basil leaves, if you like!
- Sprinkle with fresh basil, fresh parsley or fresh cracked black pepper.
- Top with cashew parmesan cheese, ricotta, vegan feta or tofu feta.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
- Serve with crunchy toasted pine nuts on top.
- Serve with pita, naan or any fresh bread you enjoy.
- Pair with a soup like this Lemon Lentil Soup or White Bean Kale Soup.
- Pair with any entree or protein like this Garlic Herb Marinated Tempeh or Vegan Pot Pie.
Variations & Additions
- Mix in a few handfuls of spinach or baby kale at the end.
- Add a can of white beans or chickpeas at the end for more protein and texture.
- Add 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes and/or black olives or kalamata olives at the end.
- Roast 1 cup of corn kernels with the veggies or add them at the end.
- If you have a grill, try using a grill basket to make grilled vegetables for this dish! Perfect for summer.
No. You can make this recipe with any short pasta shape like penne, farfalle, rotini or fusilli. You could also use a long pasta shape like spaghetti or linguini, I just prefer smaller shapes for this recipe.
No. Regular orzo is made from wheat so the recipe is not gluten-free. If you can find gluten-free orzo, use that, or substitute any short shape of gluten-free pasta like brown rice pasta or chickpea pasta.
This recipe works well with tomatoes, zucchini, any colour of bell pepper, mushrooms, shallot, onion, asparagus, green beans, carrot or broccoli.
Use roughly 4-5 cups of chopped vegetables in total.
If you use hardier veggies like sweet potato, carrot, Brussels sprouts, etc. I would roast them on a separate pan and get them in the oven about 10 minutes before things like bell pepper, zucchini and tomato since they take a bit longer to cook through.
Technically, yes, you could freeze this recipe but it’s not really an ideal freezer recipe. The veggies wouldn’t have the best texture after thawing.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Enjoy leftovers cold or reheat them in the microwave.
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An easy recipe for orzo with savory herb roasted vegetables in a zesty garlic lemon dressing. Enjoy this pasta hot or as a cold pasta salad – both ways are delicious!
- 2 cups uncooked orzo (410 g)
- 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small zucchini, quartered and chopped (200 g)
- 1 small or half a large red onion, chopped (250 g)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (150 g)
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon zest (avoid white pith, use just the yellow peel)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, finely chopped, optional
- Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roast Vegetables: Chop all the veggies roughly the same size and add them to a large baking sheet with enough room to spread in an even layer. Use 2 pans if necessary. Add 1/2 tbsp (1.5 tsp) of the olive oil, the dried thyme and oregano and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Cook Orzo: Start bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stovetop. Once boiling, cook the orzo according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and add to a large mixing bowl or serving bowl.
- Mix Dressing: Mix the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small dish until combined.
- Combine: Once the vegetables are done, add them to the bowl with the orzo and dressing and toss to coat. Mix in the fresh parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve: Serve orzo right away with more fresh parsley, fresh cracked black pepper and lemon wedges, if desired.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 3-4 as a main. I’d suggest adding your choice of protein if enjoying as main dish.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Leftovers can be enjoyed cold or reheated in the microwave.
The amount of veggies doesn’t have to be exact. Use somewhere between 4-6 cups chopped vegetables.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
- Calories: 204
- Sodium: 398 mg
- Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 5 g
Keywords: orzo with roasted vegetables