Orzo could be your best friend when you need to make a quick and tasty dinner

Boring of cooking the same meals all over the week? When you think of making something else, you discover that new dishes could mean lots of work and a long time in your kitchen. What if you can cook new and delicious meals in no time and effortlessly?

Certainly, it is possible with the right ingredients. Orzo would be this staple you need to include in your meals. It is something you may have seen in the grocery store, but since you did not know what it is, you surely passed by. It is a tiny pasta with the shape of rice grains. Its blank flavor and excellent cooking characteristics would make it your new ally in your kitchen.

Even though you haven’t heard of this type of pasta, Orzo is very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It was originally from Italy, where it is known as pastina or risoni, and it is commonly included in soups, broths, and stews.

In Greece it is called kritharaki or manestra, and it is used for preparing giouvetsi, a typical stew including some meat, like beef or lamb. In Turkey it is known as arpa şehriye or barley noodle, and people usually cook it in pilaf and soups.

Orzo, your new friend in the kitchen

If you were looking for new, quick, and easy recipes for your family dinner, Orzo can be part of your new menu. Orzo reunites all characteristics to become your new best friend to cook: variety, versatility, easy to pair, and fast to cook.

  • Variety: Traditional Orzo has a golden color, but there are colored versions created by adding different ingredients. Spinach, beans, carrots, tomatoes, squid ink, herbs are just some of the extra components that give Orzo different flavors. You can have multicolored and different meals with any of these types of Orzo.
  • Versatility: You can use Orzo in multivariate dishes. Its adaptability makes it possible to easily substitute rice or pasta in your typical dinner dishes. You can use it in your common cold or warm meals and even try new recipes.
  • Pairing: Orzo is a blank ingredient that can be used just as a side dish for countless meals. Additionally, its texture and light taste pair perfectly with any component you want to add. Prepare a simple Orzo recipe with chicken, meat, or fish. Or make one-pot dishes or fresh salads.
  • Cooking: Orzo is very easy to cook. It is prepared as regular pasta, but thanks to its small size, it cooks quicker. So, you can reduce by half the time in your kitchen. You only need boiled water and salt as base components for cooking it.

Using Orzo for quick meals

Still not convinced of having this new friend? Check the following list of the tasty dishes you can make in no time:

  • Minestrone and pancetta orzotto: 25 minutes.
  • Spinach and orzo Pilaf: 20 minutes.
  • Mushroom Orzo with Lemon & Parmesan: 30 minutes.
  • Chicken Orzo Soup: 25 minutes.
  • Orzo Salad with Chickpeas & Artichoke Hearts: 15 minutes.

At this point, you are probably convinced. Next time shopping, include 1 or 2 packages of Orzo, try https://riceselect.com/product/orzo and start using this unique ingredient. By the way, you could also include in your shopping list the ingredients of the following recipe and prepare it for dinner.

Spinach and orzo Pilaf

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 1 sliced leek.
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic.
  • 2 cups of Orzo.
  • 2 cups of chicken stock.
  • Lemon zest.
  • ½ Lemon juice.
  • 8 oz. (250 g) of chopped spinach.
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet smoked paprika.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.


  1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil at medium temperature. Add leek, onion and cloves. Cook for 5 minutes until they soften.
  2. Incorporate Orzo and combine very well, be sure Orzo is completely covered with oil. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour chicken broth, zest, and lemon juice. Mix all ingredients. Cook until boiling.
  4. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add chopped spinach, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking until stock evaporates.
  6. When Orzo is tender, turn off the heat and let it stand for a while.
  7. You can add a bit of extra lemon juice, salt and pepper before serving.
  8. This dish can be enjoyed as a side dish with roasted chicken or fish, or even as a light one-pot meal dinner.