18 Easy Dinners That Start with Orzo

updated Mar 3, 2023
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bowls of orzo cacio e pepe at the table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Do you have a box of orzo hanging out in the back of your pantry? The one you impulsively bought but never got around to using? Because honestly, you’re not even sure what orzo is: Is it rice? Is it pasta? Well, you’re not alone, and now is the perfect time to put it to use. (And yes, orzo is kind of like rice but technically it’s a pasta).

If you rely on quick and easy weeknight dinners, or simply crave something comforting and delicious, it’s a good idea to keep a few orzo recipes in your back pocket. It cooks quickly like pasta, which means that you can get it on the table in practically no time. Plus, it’s so versatile – you can cook it like sort of like a risotto, make an orzo salad, or even bake it casserole-style.

Orzo rarely gets the spotlight, but it’s truly one of the best pantry items to keep on hand. Ready to get cooking? Here are 18 easy and delicious meals that start with orzo. It might just become your new favorite ingredient.

1 / 27
One-Pot Creamy Cacio e Pepe Orzo
This creamy, comforting orzo, inspired by the classic Roman pasta dish, is loaded with salty Pecorino cheese and plenty of black pepper. Enjoy it as a side or dollop it with ricotta and call it the main affair.
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2 / 27
Lemony Chicken and Artichoke Orzo
This pantry-friendly orzo dinner relies on marinated artichokes, Italian chicken sausage, and fresh lemon for intense yet effortless flavor.
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3 / 27
One-Pot Greek Orzo with Tomatoes, White Beans, and Feta
A hearty Greek-inspired orzo dinner flavored with creamy canned cannellini beans, briny olives, juicy tomatoes, and salty feta.
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4 / 27
Smoky Cajun Shrimp Orzo
Plump orzo pasta and shrimp are cooked in a smoky tomato broth spiked with Cajun spices.
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5 / 27
Tomato Orzo Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe
This salad is equal parts nourishing and nutty thanks to the tomatoes, orzo pasta, fresh veggies, feta cheese, and tahini.
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6 / 27
One-Pot Tomato Chickpeas and Orzo
In less time than it takes to call for takeout, you can grab a few ingredients from the pantry and assemble this modest, one-pot meal that’s immensely satisfying.
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7 / 27
One-Pot Creamy Chicken Orzo
This easy orzo dish is pure veggie-packed comfort. Made all in pot, it tastes like grown-up mac 'n cheese — creamy, cheesy, and packed with good-for-you greens and chicken.
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8 / 27
Broccolini, Chicken Sausage, and Orzo Skillet
Chicken sausage, quick-cooking orzo, and broccolini come together for an easy one-skillet pasta dinner that's great for any night of the week.
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9 / 27
5-Ingredient Creamy Tomato Baked Orzo
Most pasta dinner recipes begin with bringing a pot of salted water to boil. Here’s your permission to skip that step. Instead, you’ll combine orzo, tomato sauce, baby spinach, and two kinds of cheese in a baking dish and toss it in the oven for 40 minutes.
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10 / 27
Orzo Salad
This Mediterranean-style salad will be on repeat this year. It’s quick to assemble and full of bright, fresh ingredients we never tire of, like cucumbers, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and tangy feta.
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11 / 27
Cheesy Tomato Chorizo Orzo Skillet
This quick and easy skillet is full of chewy al dente orzo, sweet and juicy tomatoes, spicy Spanish chorizo, and, of course, nutty Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.
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12 / 27
One-Pot Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Orzo
This is the creamiest, cheesiest orzo you can imagine, filled with tender mushrooms and baby spinach, that cooks up in a single pot in under 30 minutes.
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13 / 27
Weeknight Orzo Paella
Take all your favorite components of Spanish paella, combine them with crowd-pleasing orzo pasta, and the result is a quick weeknight dinner the whole family will agree on.
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14 / 27
Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, and Parsley
This orzo salad includes caramelized cauliflower for flavor, toasted pine nuts for subtle crunch, and raisins and sultanas for a perfect hint of sweet.
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15 / 27
One-Pot Orzo with Peas and Parmesan
This one-pot dish cooks orzo pasta in flavorful stock and is finished with lemon, peas, and Parmesan for a lighter take on risotto.
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16 / 27
Orzo Skillet with Shrimp and Feta
Tomato-y orzo meets sweet shrimp, salty feta, and fresh mint in this Greek-inspired skillet dinner.
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17 / 27
One-Pot Lemon Caper Orzo with Tuna
This one-pot pasta is simple, comforting, bright, and flavorful.
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18 / 27
Creamy Spinach Artichoke Orzotto
This twist on risotto is loaded with wilted spinach, tender artichokes, and bright, fresh lemon.
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19 / 27
One-Pot Lemon Orzo with Shrimp and Fennel
This comforting one-pot orzo dinner is packed with bright lemon, sweet fennel, and tender shrimp.
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20 / 27
Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo
Turn that orzo in your pantry into a one-pot meal, where the liquid it’s cooked in becomes a ridiculously creamy sauce before baby spinach and Parmesan are stirred in.
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22 / 27
Orzo Salad with Spinach Pesto, Olives and Feta

Pungent flavors of olives and crumbly feta make an irresistible companion to grilled chicken and grilled fish. Yup, this salad is destined for picnic glory.

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23 / 27
Creamy Butternut Squash Orzotto with Toasted Pecans

Filled with creamy butternut squash studded with chewy nubs of barley and crunchy toasted pecans, this recipe is based on Melissa Clark’s Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon — with the addition of more vegetables.

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24 / 27
Orzo Tabbouleh
A fresh twist on classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad that replaces the bulgur for orzo pasta.
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25 / 27
Orzo Minestrone with Fresh Corn, Zucchini, and Pesto Recipe
A lighter summertime rendition of minestrone soup made for cool September evenings.
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26 / 27
Bacon and Spinach Orzo Salad
This orzo salad is tossed with wilted spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, chunks of Asiago, and coated with a warm bacon vinaigrette.
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27 / 27
Chicken Orzo Soup

Unlike most chicken soup recipes, this one is super quick and doesn't require hours of cook time.

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