Roasted Pepper Orzo
by Iona Berry
This sweet, peppery orzo is the most delicious and indulgent vegan pasta dish. It has a zesty marinated feta that goes on top which compliments the sweet roasted vegetables. It tastes fresh and summery and is sure to impress everyone around the table.
I am a huge fan of marinating vegan cheeses in general but in particular I think feta is excellent at taking on other flavours. The orange and lemon zest cut through the saltiness of the feta and the dill (oh how I love dill) brings a peppery flavour that goes excellently with orzo. Roasting the peppers brings out their sweetness more than cooking with the pasta in my experience so that’s why the recipe is not all in one pot. This recipe would also be delicious with some roasted aubergine or courgette and I have also tried it with roasted cherry tomatoes mixed through. I love the contrast of colours in this recipe and I can’t seem to stop making it, so I hope you feel the same.
10 mins (+ marinating)
130g vegan feta cheese (I love the violife one)
30ml extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp chilli flakes
10g of chopped parsley or dill
1 orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium sized bell peppers (I like a mix of yellow and red)
2 medium sized red onions
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
250g dried orzo
1 orange, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
500ml vegetable stock
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Whilst the oven is heating you can begin the dressing for the feta cheese. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, orange zest, chilli flakes, dill or parsley to a bowl and mix together.
Next crumble the feta cheese into small pieces and add it to the bowl with the dressing. Give it a good stir and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to a day if you are preparing the dish in advance).
Next it’s time to prepare your vegetables. Cut the peppers and onions down into chunky pieces that are roughly the same size, so that they cook evenly. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and put into the oven for 30-35 minutes until softened and juicy with a slight charr.
Whilst the vegetables are roasting you can make the main event, the orzo! Add the olive oil and garlic to a medium sized saucepan and sizzle for a couple of minutes (making sure the heat is not too high that it could burn the garlic). Then add the orzo to the pan and toast it for 2-4 minutes until it has turned a light golden colour.
Next add the lemon juice and orange juice to the pan, it should be sizzling as it hits the pan. Next, add the passata and vegetable stock. Give it a good stir and then bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Put a lid on and stir every five minutes or so. After 15-20 minutes the sauce should have been absorbed into the orzo and the orzo should be cooked through and tender.
Take off the lid for the last two minutes of cooking and check the seasoning, feel free to add more lemon or orange juice depending on your tastes.
Serve up the orzo with the roast vegetables mixed through or on top, with plenty of the marinated feta and extra herbs.
By Iona Berry
Iona is our Development Chef, aka our go-to girl for developing, testing and tasting delicious dishes for you to all enjoy at home. When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her either running or cycling, or trying out food markets and new restaurants around London. Continuous market research it would seem.