This colorful salad from Julia Deane and Culinary Works works great as a delicious side dish or a wonderful vegetarian option for your next summertime gathering. Grilling the vegetables adds an additional level of flavor. Walter Stewart’s is now receiving farm fresh, locally grown Connecticut squash, perfectly timed to make this recipe even healthier and tastier!
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Orzo and Herb Pesto Vinaigrette
10 ounces orzo (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
8-10 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-1/4 inch disks
1 red or yellow bell pepper
2 cups sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
Feta, Fresh Mozzarella or shaved parmesan – for garnish
Mixed Herb Pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or other nuts or none
2 cloves garlic, grated or made into a paste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat grill. Brush zucchini, asparagus, red onion and bell pepper with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill all vegetables until crisp and browned to your preference. Grill bell pepper whole until black and brown on all sides. It may take longer than other vegetables. Transfer to work surface. Let pepper cool until you can peel off the dark skin. Do not rinse it in water. Chop all vegetables into bite size pieces; add to bowl with orzo. Add chopped tomatoes. Add your pesto and combine well. Be sure to taste, you may need to add additional lemon, salt, pepper or olive oil. Garnish with basil and your choice of cheese if any at all.
Mixed Herb Pesto
Place the basil, parsley, mint, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor and season with salt and pepper. Turn the processor on and add the extra virgin olive oil in a slow stream, blending until a thick sauce forms. Transfer to a large bowl. Taste for salt, pepper, cheese or lemon.
To store place in a tight container and drizzle olive oil on top to seal and prevent oxidation.