Chargrilled vegetable & orecchiette salad with fresh pesto and rocket

Chargrilled vegetable & orecchiette salad with fresh pesto and rocket

Cutting the courgette and aubergine lengthways gives you lots of surface area to get nice and charred, with fewer pieces to turn on the grill, says Elly Curshen. 

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  • Serves4
  • CourseLunch
  • Prepare15 mins
  • Cook25 mins
  • Total time40 mins

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  • 250g No.1 Orecchiette (or any short pasta – fusilli bucati, trofie etc)
  • 145g tub green pesto with basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and quartered
  • 1 large courgette, quartered lengthways
  • 1 aubergine, quartered lengthways
  • 1 red onion, quartered, each wedge still attached at the root
  • Large handful rocket or baby spinach
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Drain, toss with the pesto and 1 tbsp oil, then set aside to cool. Cover and chill until needed.

  2. Preheat the barbecue or griddle. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp oil and dried herbs. Season. Put the vegetables in a roasting tin and pour over the herb mixture. Toss the vegetables to coat everything evenly.

  3. Chargrill the vegetables, in batches if necessary, until marked and charred on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Ensure you cook the courgette well, to avoid a watery salad.

  4. Cut the grilled courgette, aubergine and pepper into bitesized chunks. Pull the ‘petals’ of red onion apart. Fold the vegetables gently through the pasta. When ready to serve, stir in the rocket or spinach.

  5. Place the salad on a serving platter and finely grate over the lemon zest. Season with sea salt flakes and black pepper, then scatter with the pine nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano, if using. Serve immediately.

Cook’s tip

You can make this salad with a jar of pesto rather than a tub of fresh if you like, but if you do this you will need the Parmesan on top, to serve. Try griddling the vegetables for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, if you don’t want to heat up the barbecue.

As well as using the tub mentioned in the method, Angela made additional fresh pesto to dress the dish before serving it to Tim Minchin on episide 14, season 3 of the Dish podcast. She chopped and blended garlic before adding olive oil, basil (after the oil so the basil doesn’t bruise) and Parmesan to taste. Then she added whole pine nuts and the juice and zest of a lemon. 

And to drink...

Albert Road Pinot Noir exhibits flavours of strawberry and raspberry with a hint of exotic spice. 


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,314kJ/ 555kcals



Saturated Fat












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