Lemon Spinach Orzo Pasta is a vibrant and flavorful dish that combines tender orzo pasta with fresh spinach and zesty lemon to create a delicious and easy-to-prepare meal or side dish.
With its creamy and rich texture and balanced flavors, this orzo risotto is extremely versatile. Whether you're looking for a quick and satisfying dinner or a crowd-pleasing dish for a special occasion, this lemony and savory rice shaped pasta is sure to impress!
❤️ Why I love this recipe
- This dish is creamy in texture and comforting thanks to the use of orzo pasta, just like risotto.
- The addition of spinach and delicious seasonings makes this recipe great as a side dish for most meals.
- It’s incredibly easy to make in less than 30 minutes!
Lemon spinach orzo pasta is a light and refreshing dish that combines the flavors of fresh spinach, zesty lemon, and creamy pasta for a delicious and easy-to-prepare main meal or side dish.
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Note: The full list of this Orzo Pasta recipe ingredients with their amounts and options are listed in the recipe card below.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Add the onion to a pan with olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Sauté the onion until softened (about 3-5 minutes), and add the garlic to cook until fragrant.
- Add the orzo to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the broth and water.
- Stir the mixture regularly until the liquid and orzo is cooked (about 9-10 minutes).
- Off heat, add the baby spinach and lemon zest.
- Add the butter.
- Stir the mixture until the spinach wilts. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
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You’ll need the following items to make this recipe successfully.
- A large skillet
- Spoon to stir
- liquid measuring cup
These are the questions we are most frequently asked about making orzo pasta recipe that mimics risotto.
Both orzo and rice are high in calories. Rice tends to be higher in carbohydrates, while orzo is higher in protein, so it depends on what your nutritional goals are.
No, although risoni and orzo pasta are similar in appearance and can be used interchangeably in recipes. The difference in texture and flavor between the two may be noticeable.
Orzo pasta is a pasta shaped like a small, flattened grain of rice, while other types of pasta may be shaped in various forms, such as tubes, ribbons, spirals, or shells. Orzo in the Italian language is barley and much smaller than most pasta.
Orzo pasta is a type of pasta that is similar in nutritional value to other types of pasta. Orzo the grain and pasta are actually two different foods.
- The flavors of this dish are simple, so it's important to use high-quality ingredients.
- Don’t overcook the orzo, or it will become mushy in texture.
- Fresh baby spinach adds a pop of color and nutrition to this dish. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly before using. While I haven’t removed the stems, you can if you prefer.
- The lemon zest adds brightness and acidity to this dish. Use fresh lemon zest for the best flavor.
- Orzo pasta can be bland on its own, so it's important to season it well with salt and pepper. I’ve also added nutmeg. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Add cream to this dish for ultra creamy texture and flavor.
- Stir in shredded parmesan for a cheesy version of this orzo dish.
- Add other vegetables, such as grated zucchini, bell peppers, sweet corn, olives or juicy tomatoes.
- Garnish this lemon spinach orzo pasta with chopped fresh herbs, freshly grated parmesan, or crumbled feta.
This orzo pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat leftover lemon orzo with a splash of water or broth in the microwave or on the stovetop.
I don’t recommend freezing this spinach orzo as the texture may be altered.
📗 Related Recipes
This rice shaped pasta is extremely versatile as an ingredient in various recipe:
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup - A light and flavorful soup that's healthy and comforting without the extra calories!
- Orzo Stuffed Peppers - Stuff your peppers with a mixture of tender orzo, spinach, grape tomatoes, and herbs.
- Spotted Sea Trout Piccata - This hearty meal is a perfect example of a main dish to pair with this lemon spinach orzo risotto.
- Sautéed Baby Spinach With Grape Tomatoes - A quick and easy vegetable side combination that is a delicious topping to farro, couscous, polenta, and even pasta.
🍽 Serve with
Serve this orzo pasta with grilled or roasted vegetables, garlic bread, or grilled or roasted chicken or fish.
📞 Chiacchierata (chat)
While the term "orzo" in Italy refers to barley, Lemon and Spinach Orzo Pasta is a dish that closely resembles risotto in texture and taste. This recipe is much easier and less time-consuming to prepare than the classic rice recipe. With its rich and creamy consistency and abundant flavor, this dish is a delicious alternative to traditional risotto that you’ll love!
And if you can't get enough of this delicious rice-like pasta, next time try our Creamy Orzo Pasta with Marinated Grape Tomatoes recipe.
Another dish you may like is our Farro Risi e Bisi recipe. The farro and peas makes a delicious side or a nutritious meal by itself. Farro is a grain that packs a powerhouse of nutrition.
If you like small pasta combined with fresh vegetables, try our Spicy Bell Pepper Couscous recipe. Delicious colored peppers combine with the Mediterranean pasta.
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📝 Recipe Card
Treat yourself to the irresistible taste of Lemon Spinach Orzo Pasta, featuring tender orzo that’s cooked in flavorful broth, softened spinach and onion, melted butter and seasoning. This delicious one-pan dish can be whipped up in just 25 minutes!
The best part is that you don't have to stand over the stove, stirring constantly, and slowly adding the hot liquid to get the creamy delicious texture of risotto. The Lemon and Spinach Orzo complimented the Sea Trout Piccata perfectly.
If you'd like to try another delicious bright and fresh pasta dish that is full of green springtime vegetables, Pasta Primavera is the one you'll love. And if you'd like to try the same theme only with shrimp and different spring vegetables, you don't want to miss out on our Shrimp Past Primavera.
Lemon Spinach Orzo Pasta A Quick Risotto
- ¾ cup diced onion
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth hot
- 1 cup water hot
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- sauté onion in olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until softened, 3-5 minutes, Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add orzo and stir to coat with oil; cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in broth and water, stirring often until liquid is absorbed and orzo is cooked, 9-10 minutes.
- Off heat, stir in spinach, zest, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until spinach wilts.
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