This one-pan creamy spinach lemon orzo comes together in just 20 minutes! With fresh spinach, lemon zest, and basil in a creamy sauce, it can be a light, weeknight dinner on it's own or a super easy side dish!
Why You'll Love This Orzo
- Quick and easy 20 minute meal!
- You just need one pan (aka minimal dishes!!)
- Hearty vegetarian main course
- Or a delicious side dish for roasted chicken or seared salmon!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this creamy spinach lemon orzo!
- Orzo - Orzo is a small, oval shaped pasta that looks similar to rice. Use a high-quality die cut pasta like Delallo or De Cecco for the yummiest results!
- Fresh spinach - I prefer using fresh spinach and adding it into the orzo right at the end. But you could also substitute 1 cup of thawed, frozen spinach and add it in while the orzo is cooking. This orzo would also be good with fresh kale!
- Heavy cream - Use cream for a rich creamy sauce or half & half for a slightly lighter version.
- White cooking wine - This is optional but adds some great flavor to your orzo! I always keep cheap, dry white wine on hand that I use for cooking. It’s amazing how much flavor a $3 bottle of sauvignon blanc can add to a dish!
- Vegetable stock - I always use my homemade vegetable stock when I make cook for the best flavor!! You can also use store bought vegetable stock, chicken stock, or even water.
- Shallot - The mild flavor of shallots are perfect for this light orzo dish. But you could also use a small yellow onion instead.
- Fresh herbs - Italian herbs like thyme, basil, and oregano add amazing flavor to this dish! You can substitute a dried Italian seasoning blend if that's all you have, but I highly recommend fresh herbs!
- Lemon juice and zest - A little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest helps add some brightness to the spinach lemon orzo.
Step by Step Instructions
Then add in the dry orzo and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Then add in the white wine to de-glaze the pan and make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the fresh thyme and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the orzo is fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Then stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, spinach, basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish the spinach lemon orzo with more lemon zest and an extra sprinkle of parmesan!
This orzo is best eaten the same day, but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The orzo will soak up the sauce in the fridge, so it's best to reheat on the stove with a little extra broth or cream to add more moisture.
Yes, but it will be a lot less flavorful. If using water, I recommend also using some sort of bullion to enhance the flavor. You can also substitute chicken broth!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like
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Creamy Spinach Lemon Orzo
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup orzo
- ½ cup white cooking wine, optional
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 cups fresh spinach, substitute 1 cup frozen spinach
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Then add in the dry orzo and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Then add in the white wine to de-glaze the pan and make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the fresh thyme and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the orzo is fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Then stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, spinach, basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Garnish with more lemon zest and an extra sprinkle of parmesan!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.