Summer vegetables are coated with a Montmorency tart cherry balsamic glaze, grilled and then combined with orzo for a deliciously seasonal pasta salad. Great served warm fresh off the grill or cold as a side dish at your summer get together.
*This post is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute, a long-time partner of RTTK.
My first ever post on this site, just over 7 years ago, was a wheat berry salad. Not any salad either, THE salad my mom makes at pretty much every single summer meal. Except she uses orzo not wheat berries.
The salad is delicious. There’s lots of crunch and texture, a fun “bitey-ness” from the always al dente cooked orzo and my favorite, the sweet tang from the balsamic dressing it’s tossed in.
Mom’s orzo salad was the jumping point for this grilled summer vegetable orzo salad but we’re changing a few things up in this one:
- The grill is where it’s at! It’s summer after all (finally!), why not throw all those vegetables on there for that lovely char and smokiness to deepen the flavors in this orzo salad? Plus, bonus points for not having to tediously chop veg.
- We’re adding a pop of fruit with Montmorency tart cherries in the salad, a tart cherry balsamic glaze on the veggies as they grill and as the dressing. It’s tart cherry madness all around.
Side dishes at summer BBQs / get-togethers are even more important than the meat on the grill if you ask me. It’s pretty much a given there will be hamburgers, hot-dogs, maybe some grilled chicken or sausage if you’re lucky but what’s on the side table after you grab your meat is always a guessing game.
Sometimes you strike out with disgusting mayo-laden mushy salads or worse, baked beans from a can (not a fan of those weirdly saucy/salty little things). Other times, thanks to someone awesome, there’s a homemade pasta salad that they put 30 minutes of effort into rather than standing in line at the deli counter.
Be that awesome someone and bring this grilled summer vegetable orzo salad this year.
BBQ-goers won’t even know the added health benefits they’re getting in every bite thanks to the Montmorency tart cherries. Tart cherries not only taste delicious in this summer vegetable orzo salad with their pop of sweet and tangy-ness, they’re also great for helping aid the muscle recovery process after exercise thanks to the concentrated amounts of anthocyanins they contain, a great potential added benefit in these active summer months!
And that’s just one of their many awesome attributes, they’re also an a natural source of Melatonin which aids in our sleep and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. So, eat up!
Check out more tart cherry filled recipes great for summer:
Chicken cherry flatbread
Bay scallop baby kale corn salad with savory tart cherry granola (<– it’s a mouthful but such a fun recipe!)
Tart cherry glazed salmon <— try this one on the grill!
Tart Cherry Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Summer vegetables are coated with a tart cherry balsamic glaze, grilled and then combined with orzo for a deliciously seasonal pasta salad. Great served warm or cold!
- 3/4 cup dry orzo (or other small pasta shape)
- 1 large zucchini, cut into circles
- 1 large red onion, sliced into rounds
- 2 bell peppers, cut into thick slices
- 4 whole green onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry concentrate
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
- 1/3 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
- salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Toss the prepared vegetables with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Whisk together the Montmorency tart cherry concentrate, balsamic vinegar and water in a small bowl.
Place vegetables on a pre-heated grill (I like to use grill mats for grilling vegetables so they don't fall through the grates) and brush with the tart cherry balsamic mixture. Grill until softened and char marks appear. Turn vegetables over, brush again with the glaze mixture and grill until charred on the other side. Remove from grill and add vegetables to the bowl with the cooked orzo.
Add the dried tart cherries and basil to the bowl. Pour the remaining glaze mixture on top and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm or cold. Keeps well covered for a few days in the refrigerator.