10 Things To Do With Orzo

 You’ve opened the pantry cupboard a million times and the same box of Orzo noodles is continuously staring you down.  What to do?! Here are some super-easy recipes to help you out with how to use it!

1. Chicken + Pesto Orzo SoupScreen Shot 2016-02-16 at 4.09.11 PM

With the cold temps of our NEO winters, we’ll take ANYTHING to warm us up.

This is a great option for those cold, winter week nights where you need something easy, filling, and warm to fill the bellies at your dinner table.


 PREP TIME: 5 mins.    COOK TIME: 15 mins.     TOTAL TIME: 20 mins.    SERVES: 4   


  • 6 cups chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups cooked chicken,  shredded
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • ¼ cup fresh basil pesto
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
  1. In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer, covered, over medium heat.
  2. Add cooked chicken, orzo, pesto, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Cook, uncovered, until orzo is al dente (approx. 8 mins.)
  4. Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and enjoy immediately.

>>recipe resource 

2. Italian Wedding Orzo Soup

While we are on the topic of soups…the infamous italian wedding!

Yes, it has been served at actual weddings however, the traditionalists will be the first to tell you that the reason it has obtained that name was because of the way the ingredients “married” so well. Another great dish to warm you up!  

 PREP TIME:  45 mins
 COOK TIME: 30 mins
 TOTAL TIME: 1 hr. 15 mins.
  SERVES:  6-8   
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • SOUP:
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 cups peeled and diced parsnip
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can (28 oz) Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare the meatballs: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients until evenly incorporated. Roll meatball dough into 1-in balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake meatballs at 350F 20-25 minutes or until they register 165F. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the soup: In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute carrots, parsnips, onion, and garlic in olive oil until vegetables are fragrant and slightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes, and chicken broth.
  4. Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then stir in orzo pasta, spinach, parsley, and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to low and simmer until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender.
  5. Season soup with salt and pepper and let stand, covered for 30 minutes in order for the flavors to meld. Serve warm.

>> recipe resource

3. Garlic-Parmesan Spinach Orzogarlic


For the true cheese and pasta lovers! We honestly can’t think of a better dish that will get both the adults AND kids around the table excited for dinner.

 PREP TIME:  10 mins    
 COOK TIME: 20 mins   
 TOTAL TIME: 30 mins   
 SERVES: 4    


  • 1½ cups orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used fat free half & half)
  • ⅔ cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant
  3. Add flour to form and stir for one minute. Add about ¼ cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps. When lumps are gone, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  4. Add chopped spinach to sauce. Cook an additional 2 minutes or so until spinach is soft and dark. Remove sauce from heat and stir in parmesan cheese. When cheese has melted, add orzo and stir to combine. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Enjoy!

>> recipe resource

4. Mediterranean Orzo Salad

We love this dish because it’s so fresh and delicious along with being equally beautiful to look at when it’s finished!  It serves as a great side to any main entree.

  PREP TIME: 2 hrs   
   TOTAL TIME: 2 hrs  
  SERVES: 12   
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Lemon, Juiced
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces, weight Orzo Pasta, Cooked, Drained, And Cooled
  • 1 cup Red Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Yellow Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives, Halved
  • 1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup Chickpeas, Drained.
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley
  1. In a jar or bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until totally combined. There’s your dressing!
  2. Place the orzo and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top.
  3. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and for at least one hour before serving- refrigerate. Top off the finished product with more feta and parsley and serve as a main dish salad or with grilled chicken, fish, or burgers in the summertime!

>recipe source

5. Smoked Sausage + Cheesy Orzo

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Great news about this dish. It can be made within MINUTES and most likely all in one dish! Easy prep, easy cleanup – I can’t think of a better scenario on a busy week night.

   PREP TIME:  10 mins   
  COOK TIME: 12 mins   
  TOTAL TIME: 22 mins  
  SERVES: 8   


  • 1 ½ Cups uncooked Orzo (about 3 cups if already cooked)
  • 2 tbs vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • 1 cup bite sized broccoli florets
  • 1 package of Smoked Sausage (about 16 oz, typically)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large sauce pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and cook the orzo per the package instructions. Don’t forget to salt the water. If you want to do something unconventional and be like me, drop the broccoli florets into the boiling pasta water for about 3 minutes while the pasta is cooking. This precooks the broccoli to just the right softness for the dish – and then you don’t have to wait for them to cook in the frying pan later. Dip them out with a slotted spoon when they turn bright green and set them aside.
  2. While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, dice up the onion, bell pepper and mince the garlic. Cut the sausage into disks – about ½ inch thick. Heat a large skillet with the oil on medium heat on the stove top. When the oil is hot, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and the sausage. While this cooks, the orzo should be about ready. Drain the orzo per package instructions and set aside until the sausage is browned.
  3. When the sausage is browned, add the orzo and the pre-cooked broccoli to the skilled and cut the heat to medium low. Add the cheese and the milk. Salt and pepper to taste. You can then serve from the frying pan or turn out into a baking dish to serve.

>> recipe resource

6. Orzo With Feta + Tomatoes


This really is an awesome summer dish. If you’re feeling a lighter lunch or want to try something different than your usual mixed greens salad – this is the answer.  

  PREP TIME:  10 mins   
   COOK TIME: 10 mins    
   TOTAL TIME: 20 mins   
   SERVES: 4  (as a side)    


  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • A handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat water in large sauce pot to boil and add pasta, cook to al dente.
  2. Melt butter in the pot while still hot and combine with feta. Add cooked pasta to feta butter and toss with parsley and tomatoes, season with a little pepper.

>> recipe resource


7. Cheesy Carrot + Broccoli Orzo


Take a twist on the original broccoli/cheese combo and add orzo! This becomes a great way to integrate veggies into our little one’s meals. I mean, adding cheese is really the solution to everything in the kitchen, isn’t it?

  PREP TIME:  2 mins   
   COOK TIME: 15 mins   
  TOTAL TIME: 17 mins  
     SERVES: 4   


  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup white or whole wheat orzo
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Place shallot and garlic in food processor and pulse to chop.
  2. Add baby carrots and broccoli florets to the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides half way until finely chopped.
  3. 3. In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil and sauté the chopped vegetables, raw orzo and salt for 4 minutes stirring continuously.
  4. Add the salt, water and broth to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10
  5. minutes uncovered, or until the liquid starts to evaporate and the mixture thickens.
  6. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
  7. Enjoy!

>>recipe resource

 8. Orzo With Zucchini + Herbed Chicken

A light dish with a full flavor! This delicious recipe may be the first dish ever known to quiet an Italian dinner table.

  PREP TIME:  10 mins     COOK TIME: 20 mins      TOTAL TIME: 30 mins     SERVES: 4   


  • 1-cup dried orzo
  • 4-skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1-1/4 lb.)
  • 1-teaspoon dried basil
  • 3-tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2-tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2-tablespoon snipped fresh dill
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Snipped fresh dill (optional
  1. Prepare orzo according to package directions; drain. Cover and keep warm while continuing recipe instructions.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with the basil; season with salt and ground black pepper. In large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add chicken and cook 12 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Remove from skillet. Add zucchini to skillet; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  3. In bowl – whisk together vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the 1/2 tablespoon fresh dill. Add orzo and zucchini toss. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve chicken over orzo, zucchini mixture and fresh lemon wedges; sprinkle with dill.

>>recipe resource

 9. Orzo + Butternut Squash With Sausage 

A fall favorite! Adding butternut squash to sweeten the highly-flavored sausage  within  one dish can really be a game-changer for your tastebuds. Speaking of games – double the recipe and this could double as a great tailgate side to pass!


 PREP TIME:  15 mins  
  COOK TIME: 25  mins    
  TOTAL TIME: 40 mins   
   SERVES: 4 – 6  
  • 1 12-oz. package of al fresco Roasted Pepper and Asiago Chicken Sausage
  • 4 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch cubes) butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the diced butternut squash, rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once thoroughly combined, spread the mixture out onto the cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the squash from the oven, stir and add in the pecans. Bake for 8 more minutes or until squash is cooked through and pecans are beginning to toast up. Remove from oven and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain, but reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  5. Slice the sausage into ¼ inch coins.
  6. Add the remaining olive oil to a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Then add the sausage, and cook until edges are browned, 3-4 minutes.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the roasted squash mixture, orzo and sausage. Add in the reserved pasta water if the mixture seems too dry. Add the chopped basil, parm, and dried cranberries.
  8. ENJOY!

>>recipe resource

10 .Orzo + Lemon-Pepper Shrimp

Last but CERTAINLY not least – this dish can give any casual dinner night a richer feel. The freshness of the lemon and parsley mixed with delicious, buttery shrimp may leave you feeling full but not that heavy, over-stuffed “Pasta Sunday at Nana’s” feeling.

   PREP TIME:  10 mins  
  COOK TIME: 10  mins   
   TOTAL TIME: 20 mins  
   SERVES: 4   
  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • 3½ tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tbsp fresh curly parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Stir together orzo, 1½ tablespoons lemon juice, parsley, salt, ½ tsp black pepper. Keep warm
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of shrimp and saute for about 2 minutes or until shrimp is almost done. Remove shrimp to a plate. Add remaining shrimp and saute for 2 minutes and remove shrimp to plate.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon butter to skillet. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until garlic starts to brown. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Add shrimp, remaining lemon juice, and remaining black pepper. Stir until shrimp is coated. Cook for another minute or until shrimp is done.
  4. Serve shrimp over orzo.


>>recipe resource