Discovering 3 Delicious Dishes With Orzo

Sometimes people confuse orzo with rice, so they cook it the wrong way, resulting in disastrous dishes. Due to this failure, this ingredient is being taken off the shopping list, missing out on the chance to enjoy delicious dishes with this versatile food.

Cooking with orzo is so easy that it will not take you time and effort. But first, discover what orzo is and how to cook it correctly.

What is Orzo?

Orzo has many similarities with rice but is not rice: it is pasta. The confusion is due to the fact that orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta. In addition, it can be cooked like rice and used in some recipes instead of rice.

Thus, it is not surprising that people tend to get it wrong the first time using it.

Like all kinds of pasta, orzo comes from Italy, but there it is called pastina, risoni, or risi. It is made from wheat semolina flour derived from durum wheat.

This ingredient is not gluten-free, so this is another difference from rice. You can find gluten-free versions made with whole wheat.

Different ways of cooking Orzo

Orzo is easy to cook. It is prepared like pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.

Another way to prepare orzo is as rice in just the right amount of water and simmer until creamy.

A pilaf method is a good option too. First, it is sautéing in oil; then broth is added. When boiling, it is placed in the oven.

It is a common ingredient in soups, grain bowls, salads, pasta preparations, stuffing, and casseroles. Its versatility makes it possible to pair it with almost any food you want.

3 delicious orzo dishes

Orzo´s blank taste favors its use in countless combinations.

Most traditional dishes are chicken orzo soup and pasta salads.

Let´s learn how to cook orzo correctly in 3 different ways; so it will become an essential item on your shopping list.

Orzo soup

Ingredients (4 servings):

• 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste.
• 2 minced cloves garlic.
• 1 diced onion.
• 2 diced carrots.
• 1 diced celery rib.
• ½ teaspoon of dried thyme.
• 4 cups of chicken stock.
• 1 bay leaf.
• ¾ cup of uncooked orzo.
• Lemon juice.
• 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley.


i. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a big pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the chicken until it gets brown. Reserve.

ii. Add more olive oil to the pot and incorporate garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 2 minutes.

iii. Pour chicken stock and bay leaves.

iv. When boiling, add orzo, cooked chicken, salt, and pepper.

v. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley to serve.

vi. It is a comfort food for winter days.

Italian Orzo Salad

Ingredients (2 servings):


• 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
• 1 minced clove garlic.
• 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
• ½ teaspoon of dried oregano.
• ½ teaspoon of salt.
• Ground black pepper to taste.


• 1 cup of orzo.
• 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes.
• 1 sliced cucumber.
• 1 diced red bell pepper.
• 1/4 cup of sliced Kalamata olive.
• 1/4 cup of sliced green olives.
• 1/2 cup of sliced pepperoncini.
• 1/4 cup of sliced red onion.
• ½ cup of feta crumbles.
• ⅓ cup of fresh basil.
• ¼ cup of fresh parsley.


i. For the dressing, mix in a bowl the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, oregano, salt, and ground black pepper. Make sure all ingredients combine very well. Set aside.

ii. Cook orzo in salted boiling water until al dente.

iii. For the salad, in another bowl, place orzo, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, Kalamata olives, green olives, pepperoncini, red onion, feta, basil, and parsley. Stir very well.

iv. Pour the prepared dressing at the top and mix.

v. It is the perfect preparation for a light dinner or a side dish for lunch.

Parmesan Orzo Pasta

Ingredients (4 servings):

• 2 cups of orzo pasta.
• Water to cook the orzo.
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
• 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
• 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
• Red pepper flakes to taste.


i. In a big pot, pour water and heat until boiling.
ii. Add salt, stir and incorporate orzo. Cook for 8 minutes and drain.
iii. Place orzo on a serving plate.
iv. Incorporate olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt all over orzo. Stir all ingredients.
v. Serve with red pepper flakes to taste at the top.
vi. It is the perfect side dish for chicken or fish.