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Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

Several years ago Ina Garten published a roasted vegetable and orzo pasta salad that contained tomatoes and bell peppers and was topped with a generous amount of feta cheese and olive oil vinaigrette. It was delicious but, unfortunately, it was calorific. (Yes, calorific is a real word.)

This similar recipe adapted from Skinnytaste hits all the fresh veggie notes and gives you your pasta fix at the same time with less fat and calories. It's what I'd call a perfect summer salad when served as a side dish with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Bonus: leftovers keep in the fridge for several days, so you can enjoy it once, twice, even three times during the week for lunch or dinner. Add feta cheese to make it an entree.

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo pasta

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small red onion, quartered

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 4 pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 4 pieces

1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced lengthwise into thin strips

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook orzo in salted water per package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl with tomatoes and garlic, salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.

Lightly coat onions, bell peppers and zucchini with olive oil spray, season with salt and pepper and grill until lightly charred and tender, turning halfway, Place on cutting board and allow to cool slightly, then chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

Toss with remaining ingredients, add olive oil and vinegar and top with chopped basil.

Serves 5 ( each serving= 1 1/3 cups)

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