Orzo is one of those foods that causes controversy. Is it a type of pasta or is it rice? Well, we know it’s pasta. It just happens to look like a large type of rice.
That said, orzo is often used in recipes where you would normally expect to find rice. Such as in risotto type dishes.
So, we have found 33 super easy orzo recipes for you to try. You can then make up your own mind which it resembles more.
Regardless of the heated discussions it can cause, orzo is an ingredient that is incredibly versatile.
As we will show you in our recipes, there’s not much you can’t do with orzo. From soups to salads, side dishes to main courses you’ll find something for everyone here.
1. Mushroom And Spinach Orzo
An ideal vegetarian dish, this creamy mushroom and spinach orzo is loaded with healthy vegetables but also smothered in a delicious herby sauce.
The fresh thyme, shallots and Parmesan cheese give this recipe a wonderful aroma and make this tasty pasta dish a great weekday treat.
Preparation time is a breezy 15 minutes and cooking time is less than half an hour.
To turn this into a main dish for non vegetarians just add some chicken. Simple to cook and wonderfully filling.
2. Mediterranean Orzo Salad
There’s nothing quite like a Mediterranean salad on a warm summer evening and this orzo salad is overflowing with great flavors.
Delightful kalamata olives, feta cheese and cherry tomatoes make a fantastic feast for the eyes as well as tasting incredible.
This is such a colorful dish. And the homemade dressing brings out all the amazing flavors.
Best of all, it’s ready in only 20 minutes. The orzo pasta and chickpeas make this a filling dish but without feeling heavy.
3. Avgolemono Soup
This incredible soup looks almost too good to eat but don’t let that stop you. It’s a fabulous blend of chicken soup with refreshing lemon juice and orzo pasta.
It has all the ingredients of a chicken noodle soup but with added zest. The addition of the eggs, yolks and lemon juice must be done slowly to prevent them from clumping together.
A silky smooth soup that is great with some crusty fresh bread or a green salad.
Serve with some thinly sliced lemon and sprinkle with parsley.
4. Orzo Primavera
A one pot recipe is always going to be a hit. Not only are they super easy to make, but there’s less cleaning up to do afterwards.
This dish is a fantastic way to showcase how orzo pasta can be such a great ingredient.
Its size and shape means it can be used in a similar way to rice. And this dish is almost risotto-ish.
Packed with spring vegetables, preparation takes just five minutes, and it’s ready to eat in 25 minutes.
5. Grilled Shrimp Orzo Salad
This is a Greek inspired recipe that makes a wonderful summer evening meal or picnic treat. It’s filled with tempting vegetables, sumptuous grilled shrimp and tangy feta cheese.
There’s no shortage of zesty herb flavor with the addition of mint, dill, parsley and lemon juice. Such a refreshing, well dressed salad and the orzo pasta ensures it’s also filling.
Preparation takes between 15-20 minutes and there’s just 10 minutes of cooking time for the shrimp.
For a vegetarian option simply leave out the shrimp.
6. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
On chilly days when you want a comforting, warming meal this should be your go-to soup. It’s made with ingredients that you will usually find in your fridge and pantry.
And the great thing is you can customize it to whatever veg you happen to have at the time.
Start with the basics of onion, carrot, celery, seasoning and stock. Then add the orzo pasta, fire roasted tomatoes and spinach.
This soup only needs five minutes of preparation and is cooked in 25 minutes.
7. Cheesy Taco Orzo
A feel good comfort food this dish is very cheesy and incredibly delicious. It looks amazing too and is a real feast for the eyes.
This is a super speedy dinner dish which can be made in less than 30 minutes. And all in one pot, so you spend less time cleaning up.
You can add in any combination of vegetables to this dish to include your favorites.
Simply saute the meat and vegetables, add the orzo and before serving, stir in the cheese.
8. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil And Parmesan Orzo With Chicken
If you like sun dried tomatoes and let’s face it, who doesn’t, you’ll love this orzo and chicken dish. This is a hearty recipe for your weeknight meal plan.
Despite only having a few ingredients this dish is packed full of taste and flavor. Cooked with lean chicken, tomatoes and fresh basil it’s also full of healthy goodness.
Preparation time is 15 minutes, and it only takes 20 minutes to cook.
Perfect for a weeknight when you are in a hurry.
9. Orzo Frittata With Feta And Spinach
What is it about spinach and feta that makes them such perfect partners? These classic Mediterranean flavors blend together with orzo pasta to make a savory delight.
And with the addition of bacon it’s almost too good.
This frittata is a perfect breakfast or brunch dish and is prepared in only 15 minutes. Time on the stove is just five minutes and then pop it in the oven for 20 to cook and set.
Serve with the yogurt of your choice.
10. Greek Lamb Stew With Orzo
The Greeks do lamb like nobody else. It is guaranteed that any Greek lamb dish will involve soft, tender and tasty meat.
Of course, delectable dishes like this lamb stew with orzo do need some careful preparation but the pay-off is so worth it.
This recipe is locally known as youvetsi and includes a pound of lamb, almost two pounds of tomatoes, orzo and a delightful blend of seasoning and spices.
Preparation takes 30 minutes and cooking is done in one hour.
11. Orzo Salad With Feta And Vegetables
A colorful, healthy combination of salad vegetables, feta and orzo makes a great lunch, dinner or side dish. It also keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
This is basically a Greek salad with orzo added, bathed in a delicious olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice dressing.
Dice the veg, add the chickpeas and feta. Then toss in the dressing and serve.
Cooking is limited to 10 minutes for the pasta and the rest of the preparation is done in 20 minutes.
12. Cheesy Orzo
This is a great side dish for almost any main meal. It’s creamy, comforting and easy to make.
An adult version of mac and cheese this recipe could also pass as a cheesy risotto thanks to the orzo.
Whatever you want to call it this dish goes great with baked chicken tenders or seared pork chops.
Simply saute the onion and garlic in oil and butter. Add the orzo then stir in the broth and cream. Take off the heat and add the cheese. Delicious!
13. Salmon Asparagus Orzo Salad
A lemony, salmon and asparagus orzo salad, just the name sounds appetizing. And the colors of this dish are so appealing and refreshing.
Serve warm or cold as a pasta salad. Either way this is a dish you will want to cook again and again. Preparation and cooking time are both 15 minutes
Cook the orzo and saute the asparagus. Once chilled combine with the Parmesan, pine nuts, red onion and dill.
Toss in the dressing and serve with Parmesan and fresh dill.
14. Chicken And Mushroom Orzo
What’s not to love about chicken, mushrooms and orzo?! And when it’s all cooked in one pot you will love the lack of cleaning up too.
The chicken thighs are boneless and skinless, so there is less fat and no bones to worry about. Just brown them in a skillet for a wonderful golden color.
Add the mushrooms, shallots and fragrant seasoning. After adding the liquid ingredients, stir in the orzo and cook. Finally, add the spinach, Parmesan and cream.
15. Italian Sausage Orzo Soup
This is a tasty soup recipe that has boundless room for variation and adaptation. The broth based soup is light but spicy with the addition of Italian sausage.
There are lots of vegetables including carrot, potato, celery, spinach and pepper. Or you can add whatever veg you have in your refrigerator. Lots of fiber and lots of taste.
Adding the orzo gives this soup a substantial feel, and it is very filling without making you feel like you’ve eaten too much.
16. Tuscan Orzo
If you are looking for a tasty side dish or a comforting main course this creamy Tuscan orzo is ideal. As a side it can be served with baked chicken legs or pan cooked pork chops.
For a main dish you could serve a green salad as an accompaniment.
Whichever you choose, this is a super quick and easy recipe. There is only 10 minutes of preparation required and cooking takes just 20 minutes.
A tasty and luxurious Italian dish.
17. Mediterranean Chicken
A Mediterranean diet is famously healthy, and this dish is certainly full of delicious goodness.
Chicken thighs are browned and combined with chickpeas, roasted peppers, olives and orzo. All cooked in a sumptuous chicken broth with oregano and parsley.
For a touch of luxury, swap the roasted bell peppers for artichoke hearts or sauteed mushrooms.
This is a one pot stop for an exquisite midweek meal. Just pop everything in the oven and relax until dinner time.
18. Kale White Bean Orzo Soup
For a healthy and hearty soup you won’t go far wrong with this kale, white bean and orzo soup.
This is a naturally vegetarian dish and if you leave out the Parmesan, vegan too. Or maybe you are craving a warm and comforting, easy to prepare meal.
The kale and beans will provide taste and texture. Meanwhile the lemon and herb broth gives the soup a light zing. And the orzo brings the whole thing together.
Preparation is under 10 minutes and this soup cooks in just 20 minutes.
19. Mediterranean Strawberry Orzo Salad
Strawberries may not be the first thing to spring to mind when you think of pasta salad, but it really works.
The sweetness of the strawberries contrasts beautifully with the feta and lemon vinaigrette dressing.
Roast some baby broccoli while the orzo is cooking. Make the vinaigrette and add to the orzo while the pasta is still hot, with the scallions and shallots.
Leave for an hour so that the flavors are absorbed. Add the arugula, broccoli and strawberries. Top with feta and enjoy!
20. Avocado Bacon Orzo
This recipe has avocado and bacon. What more could you ask for? Well the orzo is pretty tasty too and then there’s the feta cheese and peas.
As if this wasn’t awesome enough this recipe is designed to be served in the scooped out avocado halves. A perfect dish for parties or special occasions.
Cook the orzo, adding the peas in the last minutes. Drain and add the avocado, bacon and seasoning. Stir to combine, sprinkle with feta and serve in the avocado peel.
21. Orzo Bolognese
Bolognese without the spaghetti is totally possible and this is proof. This is a great alternative for kids too as it is less messy than spaghetti.
This dish can also be cooked all in one pot, you can’t do that with spaghetti bolognese!
Simply fry the onion and garlic and then add the mince, cooking till brown. Toss in the rest of the ingredients except the orzo. Cook until bubbling then add the pasta.
After 10 minutes the orzo should be al dente. Season and garnish with some Parmesan.
22. Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Deliciously warm and zesty, this lemon chicken orzo soup is a healthy choice at any time of the year.
Filled with lots of vegetables, tasty chicken and orzo pasta, you will love this recipe.
As well as the fiber and nutrition from the vegetables you will also get lots of protein from the chicken thighs.
Just brown the chicken, shred and add to the pot with the orzo, vegetables, broth and herbs. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the orzo is tender.
Serve with crusty bread.
23. Pesto Orzo And Vegetables
Pasta with pesto is one of those comfort foods that you never tire of. Add tasty veg to the dish, and you will have a new favorite recipe.
This pesto orzo and vegetable combination is healthy, tasty and so easy to make. You can also choose your own preferred veg to add.
Homemade pesto is so good, but you can just as easily use store bought pesto.
Preparation time is only 10 mins and the dish cooks in 10 minutes too. Fast and delicious.
24. Creamy Lemon Orzo And Smoked Salmon
A dish worthy of a place at your next dinner party. This creamy lemon orzo with smoked salmon is truly exquisite and your family and friends will love it.
The smoky flavor of the salmon is a fantastic contrast to the lemon and mascarpone sauce.
Preparation for this dish is just 20 minutes with the same amount of time for cooking. Not a lot of effort for such a fantastic result.
Serve hot to enjoy this dish at its best.
25. Olive And Orzo Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms stuffed with orzo and olives reads like it came from a restaurant menu. A sensational and filling dish that is incredibly easy to make.
Baking the mushrooms first means that they are soft and juicy underneath the olive, orzo and tomato sauce.
The topping of breadcrumbs and Parmesan becomes slightly crunchy and golden brown under the broiler. This creates a contrasting texture to the soft mushrooms.
This is a very quick recipe to make as a side dish or for a special occasion.
26. Enchilada Orzo
One pot meals are always popular especially with the person cooking. But this dish is likely to be a big hit with the whole family.
It’s not just a great comfort food but this cheesy enchilada inspired dish is perfect for feeding a crowd.
And it’s not as if this takes a long time to prepare. Five minutes and you’re done.
Everything gets combined in a pot, and cooked for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and let it melt before serving.
27. Greek Salmon Orzo Skillet
This salmon and orzo dish is inspired by Mediterranean flavors. It combines soft orzo with olives, feta, and sun dried tomatoes.
Sprinkle the herbs onto the salmon and then pan sear skin side down until almost cooked through. Flip it over to finish cooking and then remove the skin.
Cook the sun dried tomatoes, garlic and orzo in the same skillet before adding the broth.
When the orzo is cooked, add the lemon juice, herbs, olives and feta.
Serve and enjoy!
28. Italian Wedding Soup
A light broth soup that hinges on some traditional ingredients, this dish is a winter evening delight.
Although there are regional variations with this soup the basic ingredients of meatballs, small pasta, greens and a light broth are always the same.
You can make your own meatballs or use frozen for convenience. Preparation time is only five minutes and cooking time is 40 minutes.
Brown the meatballs in a skillet or flavor and color, before adding to the other ingredients.
29. Creamy Orzo Pasta And Roasted Butternut Squash
When the weather starts getting chillier and the pumpkins and squash make an appearance, you know it’s getting towards comfort food time.
This creamy orzo pasta with roasted butternut squash is one of the best curl up on the sofa and eat recipes.
You can use this as a side dish to a meaty main or simply eat it by itself. Either option is good.
Preparation only takes 15 minutes, but cooking is a bit longer at one hour ten minutes.
30. Creamy Tomato Orzo
This is a really quick and easy supper dish that your whole family will enjoy. It’s made with whole wheat orzo, so it’s healthy too.
Spinach, bell pepper and fire roasted diced tomato add to the nutrition score for this recipe. And of course, there is Italian turkey sausage as well.
The heavy cream and cheese produce the delicious thick sauce and the pesto adds a savory flavor.
You can have this dish prepped in 20 minutes, and it cooks in the same amount of time too.
31. Cajun Orzo With Andouille Sausage
A recipe for busy days and when you are feeling like something different for dinner. The Cajun seasoning in this dish complements the Andouille sausage (see also ‘5 Great Andouille Sausage Alternatives‘).
Typically served with rice, this Cajun dish uses orzo to shake things up a bit.
With preparation time at just 10 minutes this delicious southern dish is a perfect go-to when you are pushed for time.
Serve as a side dish or entree.
32. Mushroom Orzo Pasta
Mushrooms and pasta just belong together. And this dish is a perfect blend of the two.
The addition of pine nuts, shallots, and peas gives the recipe so much taste and texture. Incredibly it can be prepared in 6 minutes and cooked in just 16 minutes.
With the sweet and nutty taste of the Asiago cheese this dish is so delicious that you can happily serve it for special occasions or as a weekday meal.
Garnish with parsley to serve.
33. Chicken Meatball Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is something that most of us have a favorite recipe for. As a pick-me-up when you are feeling poorly or just as a mood lifter.
This is a new take on chicken noodle soup. The meatballs are packed full of herbs, panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan and red pepper flakes. So much flavor!
When browned they are added to the rest of the ingredients including the orzo and cooked for 10-12 minutes.
Before serving, stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Know When Orzo Is Done?
As orzo is such a small pasta shape it doesn’t take much cooking. Typically 7-8 minutes in boiling water or cooked in a soup will get it to an al dente texture.
What Is Special About Orzo?
Orzo looks similar to rice, although it is slightly bigger.
It can be substituted for rice in a lot of dishes as it cooks quite quickly due to its size. Orzo can be whole grain just like rice too.
How Do You Keep Orzo From Sticking?
You can stir a little butter or olive oil into the orzo to stop it sticking. However, you should only do this if you are not going to add a sauce. Oil on the orzo will stop the sauce from clinging to it.
Why Is My Orzo Mushy?
Like any pasta, if it is overcooked orzo will go mushy.
The same will happen if you leave it sitting in water or soup for too long. Due to its small size it quickly absorbs moisture and goes soft.
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