Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (2024)

Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan is an easy recipe using fresh ingredients to maximize flavor. This orzo pasta recipe makes an impressive meatless meal or side dish, but orzo pasta recipes are super versatile, so just add chicken for a heartier dinner that's quick and easy any night of the week.

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (1)

Orzo Pasta

I LOVE orzo pasta! Orzo is a type of pasta that looks like rice. I like using small pasta shapes like orzo in side dishes such as this one as well as in heartier dishes like my Chicken Pot Pie Orzo. Orzo Pasta adds a nice twist to this classic comfort food recipe.


Orzo Pasta is such a nice change of pace from rice. I'm not such a fan of rice - not the taste, the consistency. I eat it and it's okay, but I prefer to use orzo pasta in my side dishes.


I think you'll love how easily this orzo pasta recipe can be adapted to suit your needs. It is sure to become a family favorite the first time you serve it!

I like how I can make this recipe as written for a delicious side to an easy protein like rotisserie chicken, but we also enjoy this orzo pasta recipe as a meatless entree.

A great addition I like to add from time to time is sauteed mushrooms, so don't be afraid to mix things up and experiment with this orzo pasta recipe. You might just come up with the next great recipe!

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (2)

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter or Olive Oil
  • Freshly minced garlic
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • Orzo pasta
  • Water
  • Chicken Base (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (3)

Olive Oil or Butter?

Both olive oil and butter are 100 percent fat and can be used interchangeably in this orzo pasta recipe. I do feel butter makes for a creamy Parmesan orzo pasta that I prefer.


Olive oil will change the flavor of the dish slightly, but I do like that it is a healthier option over butter. Olive oil has significantly less saturated fat than butter and no dietary cholesterol.


Spinach and Fresh Garlic

I recommend using fresh ingredients in this orzo pasta recipe. Fresh ingredients really makes a difference in the flavor. The fresh spinach and garlic flavors shine through giving this dish a ton of flavor instead of being bland.


To make this all in one skillet for easier cleanup, I saute the spinach and garlic first and then remove it from the skillet to a plate and keep warm until the orzo pasta is done.

What is Chicken Base?

Chicken base is a concentrated flavoring compound used in place of chicken broth. Chicken base can be found near chicken broth in your local grocery stores. You may substitute 14 ounces of chicken broth in this orzo pasta recipe and omit the chicken base and water called for in the recipe.


If you prefer to use chicken broth, I highly recommend using homemade chicken broth. You can visit my recipe to learn How to Make Homemade Chicken Broth.


Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (4)
Step by step photos showing how to make my Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan Recipe

How to Make Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan

  1. Saute garlic in butter or olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and saute until spinach is wilted
  3. Remove the spinach from the skillet to a plate and reserve until ready to mix with the orzo.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining butter or olive oil to the skillet. Add 1 cup orzo pasta and stir until lightly browned.
  5. Add cold water and chicken base (or use 14 ounces chicken stock in place of the water and chicken base) and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the orzo is al dente and the pasta water is mostly absorbed.
  6. When the cooked orzo pasta is done add the spinach and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl or serve right out of the skillet.

Additional Add-ins

  • To put a Greek spin on this dish add-in cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, Feta cheese instead of Parmesan, kalamata olives, and garnish with lemon zest.
  • Saute fresh mushrooms with the garlic and spinach to really take this recipe up a notch.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs such as basil to brighten up this recipe

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. If you don't have a skillet with a tight fitting lid I have a great tip for you! Just place a clean kitchen towel between the lid and the skillet and that will ensure a tight fit.
  • I don't salt the orzo pasta when cooking. I know! That goes against my pasta cooking tips I share in my Garlic Butter Sauce for Pasta recipe and is probably frowned upon by a lot of pro chefs, but the Parmesan is pretty salty, so I prefer to add the Parmesan cheese first and then give the orzo pasta a taste. If you feel it needs salt at that point, then go ahead and add it a little at a time to your liking. Or just add more Parmesan, because cheese is good, am I right?!
  • I also adapted this orzo pasta with spinach and Parmesan recipe for fall using butternut squash. Get the recipe here > Butternut Squash Orzo Pasta

If you're looking for more dinner options, give these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with orzo pasta a try! They're so easy to make and even give you a little time to relax before dinner.

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (5)

More Recipes with Orzo

I LOVE cooking with orzo pasta! Here are several more recipes with orzo for you to try.

  • Cheesy Orzo - Make this Easy Cheesy Orzo pasta recipe to bring the whole family to the table! It will be your GO-TO on all those busy back to school nights!
  • Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Vegetables - This recipe uses a couple of my favorite time saving ingredients to have this tasty side dish recipe on the table in about 20 minutes!
  • Orzo with Spinach and Tomatoes - Orzo with Spinach and Tomatoes is a delicious orzo salad you can serve hot or as a cold salad. I just LOVE delicious pasta salads!
  • Spicy Chicken Orzo Pasta Recipe - A delicious main course recipe loaded with fresh herbs. The best pasta dishes always have the freshest ingredients IMO!


Orzo Pasta Recipe

Side Dish, Main Dish

American

Yield: 4

Author: Life Tastes Good

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (6)

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min

This Orzo Pasta Recipe will be your GO-TO dinner recipe. Orzo Pasta makes the perfect side dish with any protein, but you can also just add chicken or shrimp to make this a main dish the whole family will love!

Ingredients

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 14 ounces water
  • 2 teaspoons Chicken Base (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Instructions

Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic. Saute garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add 5 ounces baby spinach and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until spinach is wilted, about a minute or two.
  3. Remove spinach and garlic from skillet to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Increase to medium-high heat and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in the skillet. Add 1 cup orzo pasta and stir until lightly toasted.
  5. Add 14 ounces of water and 2 teaspoons chicken base and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  6. When the orzo is done add the spinach and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The Parmesan will add some saltiness to the dish, so be sure to give it a taste to ensure you don't add too much salt.
  7. A squeeze of half a lemon over the entire dish is optional, but it really brightens it up. A little lemon juice goes a long way!

Notes:

  1. You may substitute 14 ounces chicken stock and omit the water and chicken base
  2. Be sure to use fresh spinach and garlic for best results
  3. To make this all in one skillet, saute the spinach and garlic first and then remove it from the skillet and keep warm until the orzo pasta is done.
  4. Use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. If you don't have a skillet with a tight fitting lid, you can put a clean kitchen towel between the lid and the skillet to ensure a tight fit.
  5. Don't salt the orzo pasta when cooking as the Parmesan is pretty salty, so I prefer to add the Parmesan cheese first and then give the orzo pasta a taste and salt a little at a time until it is salted to my liking.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

307.26

Fat (grams)

8.04

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.62

Carbs (grams)

46.11

Fiber (grams)

2.66

Net carbs

43.45

Sugar (grams)

1.69

Protein (grams)

12.44

Sodium (milligrams)

414.82

Cholesterol (grams)

12.07

COPYRIGHT © 2021 Life Tastes Good

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Orzo Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Parmesan (2024)

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