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Healthy Frugal Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

Submitted By Helen Chin Lui of Healing Place Medfield, MA 

This would be a great side dish for a large crowd or a light luncheon.

Prep Time: 20 minute
Roasting Time: 45 minutes at 425 degrees
Assembly Time: 10 minutes
Serve at room temperature

1 small eggplant, cut in bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1″ pieces
1 yellow bell paper, cut in 1″ pieces
1 small to medium cut red onion into bite size pieces
2-3 minced cloves
1/3 c olive oil
1 ½ t kosher salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
half of box orzo, 8oz  (found in pasta isle) or 8oz gluten free elbow noodle
3-4 minced scallions (use white and green parts)
¼ c roasted pine nuts
1/2 to ¾ lb cumbled feta cheese
15 fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips

Dressing:1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
½ c olive oil
1 t kosher salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
2-3 minced garlic

Cooking Instructions:
1. Toss eggplant, bell peppers, onion and minced garlic with 1/3 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a single layer on large baking sheet. Roast about 40 minutes until brown at 425 degrees. Turn vegetables once half way through roasting.
2. Toast Pine nuts in a 375 degrees for about 2-3 minutes. Start to watch  pine nuts about 2 minutes, they burn very quickly. Set aside.
3. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Cook orzo or gluten free pasta according to package instructions about half way through roasting the vegetables, drain and rinse briefly with warm water, put in large bowl. You want the pasta to be warm when you assembly so that the pasta will absorb the dressing.

To Assemble:
To the orzo add roasted vegetables and pan drippings, pour dressing and blend. Let cool to room temperature. Before serving, top with add scallions, pine nuts, feta cheese and basil.
For variation: can substitute other vegetables to roast, i.e.,  summer squash or zucchini,  portabella mushrooms,  fresh tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. For protein, add cooked shrimp or chicken.
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