Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo

This healthy bowl meal will feed your whole family, and with mostly pantry ingredients! Great if you have orzo, pine nuts, bread crumbs, and dried herbs.

Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo

You know those days when you feel like there’s nothing in the fridge, but then suddenly you’re able to rally enough ingredients to pull together a great meal? You feel accomplished, creative and oh-so resourceful. The best feeling! Well this isn’t that recipe. This is the recipe that I came up with the night after.

Normally when the fridge is empty and I haven’t gone shopping, we would go out to eat. But it was late – I didn’t want to go out and I definitely wasn’t up for a trip to the grocery store, so I started poking around in the pantry and found a lot more than I expected. And what came out of it may be my favorite dinner from the whole summer.

Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo

There was a half box of orzo, pine nuts, some bread crumbs and my favorite dried herbs of the moment – herbs de Provence. In the lonely vegetable drawer there was a shallot, a lemon, garlic, some feta cheese and waaay back there was a giant eggplant (yay! a vegetable!). My mom’s basil and mint plants were blooming away outside so I added handfuls of each to freshen up this pantry-based meal.

Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo

The first night I made this, I flaked some salmon into the pasta (it’s what I had on hand), but for the final dish that’s pictured here (after a trip to the store), I used zucchini instead. Grilled zucchini and eggplant are surprisingly substantial in this vegetarian pasta. They’re so substantial, that there’s only a small amount of pasta in the recipe. The lemon and feta makes this rich and tangy, and the pine nuts and bread crumbs give a nice crunch in contrast to the soft textures in the rest of the dish.

My family really loved it and I hope yours does to!

Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemony Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Orzo
Serves: serves 4
  • ½ cup dry uncooked orzo
  • ½ cup finely diced scallions or 1 small shallot (1/4 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus 4 small wedges for serving
  • 2 medium Italian eggplants, sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 cups loose-packed fresh herbs - basil & mint, torn if leaves are big
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, herbs de Provence and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and immediately add the hot orzo to the bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
  3. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  4. Drizzle the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil on all sides, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  5. Grill the eggplant for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until tender and charred, and the zucchini for 4 minutes per side, or until nice char marks form. Let cool slightly, then chop and add to the large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss. Stir in the feta, herbs, and pine nuts, reserving a bit of each for garnish. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Portion into 4 serving bowls and top with the breadcrumbs and remaining feta, herbs and pine nuts. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Susan welch

    What about the orzo?????

    • Kat

      Wondering that myself!

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        fixed now! sorry!

    • Beverley

      It’s there. The orzo (pasta) after being cooked is added into the herbs from step 1 which is later incorporated into the charred vegetable.

  2. Mrs E

    I think the Orzo cooking/combining instructions got skipped, otherwise recipe looks lovely!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      fixed now! sorry!

  3. What a great pantry meal, so many of my favorite ingredients. And yes I totally know those days when it feels like there’s nothing in the fridge. Love the idea to add in flaked salmon too.

  4. Kirsti

    Yum! I actually make something similar all the time because the fiancé and I can’t get enough of it. That said, I’d still love to try your version this week! 😉

  5. I absolutely love orzo, and this meal looks so satisfying! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂

  6. Maria

    Love the colors in this one!

  7. Erin from wellplated.com

    I can see why this meal ended up as a new favorite!

  8. Maria from almostproperly.com

    I didn’t realize eggplant was a summer produce item until this summer!! I’m embarrassed to say:/ But I love it and this is a great way to incorporate it! Will be making soon for sure!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I hope you give it a try – I just love eggplant!

  9. Lexi @Lexi'scleankitchen

    Love the flavors in this! Such a perfect Summer dish! You had me at herbs de Provence and lemon!

  10. I need to start cooking more… got to used to eating fast food! 🙁

  11. Allyn Rosenberger

    Could you roast the eggplant and zucchini instead? If so, for how long would you suggest? Thanks!! Can’t wait to try!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      You could – I would chop them into 1″ pieces, arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for maybe 20-25 minutes? Take them out when the vegetables are lightly charred on the edges, but before the zucchini is mushy.

      Hope that helps! I also often use a cast iron grill pan on my stove if I’m not using an outdoor grill!

      • Allyn Rosenberger

        Amazing – thank you! I will give it a try!

  12. Susan

    This does sound delightful. I like the idea of putting salmon in it, or using it as a side for a grilled pork chop or steak.

  13. Gil

    It was delicious. Oregano is a very powerful herb and we felt somewhat like we’d eaten the pharmacy. Next time I’ll add parsley in a pesto type ratio. May keep the mint or not.

  14. Susan

    This a delicious dish to serve with grilled fish. Loved it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Susan, I’m so happy to hear that you loved it! xo

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.