Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Veggies

One of the quickest and easiest side dishes I have in my recipe box is Garlic and Parmesan Orzo pasta with fresh veggies! It is almost as easy to make as it is to eat! 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!
Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with fresh veggies in a blue serving dish ready to eat. A wooden spoon for serving sits on the left side of the blue dish

Orzo Pasta

It's really no secret - I LOVE orzo pasta! The hubs LOVES rice, but I don't so much and seeing as I'm the chief cook and bottle washer in this establishment, I choose to serve orzo over rice every chance I get!

Orzo is a short cut pasta that looks a lot like a big grain of rice. Orzo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. Orzo pasta is easy to customize by adding just about anything you want to create the flavors you desire. It cooks up nicely and has a great texture too. I love it!
Blue box of uncooked orzo pasta showing the size of the pasta grain and what to look for in the store when purchasing
Orzo pasta makes a wonderful side dish or even a main dish. I like to add chicken to make this Parmesan Orzo pasta a main dish, but it can be served as a main dish as is if that's what you prefer. It certainly is plenty filling!

One of our favorite orzo pasta recipes is also one of my most visited recipes on the website, my Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan. It's similar to this Parmesan Orzo recipe in that it makes a delicious side dish to most any protein, yet it is a wonderful dinner on its own too.
Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Veggies in a blue serving dish viewed from above with a wooden spoon on the left side of dish

Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Veggies

This particular dish is so very fresh and flavorful. The recipe uses some time saving cheats, so it is also super quick and easy for those busy nights. You can pair this with just about anything or add some chopped chicken to have a whole meal in one! I love versatility!


How to Cook Orzo Pasta

I cook orzo pasta much the same way I make rice. First I toast it slightly in a skillet with melted butter to help bring out the flavor of the pasta. Then I add the chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until much of the liquid is absorbed and the orzo pasta is tender with a creamy texture. You can cook orzo in water and drain it like you would cook pasta traditionally, however, you won't get the creamy texture. I just love the creamy texture of orzo pasta!

Once the orzo pasta is cooked, you can customize it any way you like to make an easy side dish or a complete meal. One of our favorite comfort food recipes made with orzo pasta is my Chicken Pot Pie Orzo. It is all the comfort food goodness of chicken pot pie mixed with short cut orzo pasta for an easy recipe my family LOVES!
Photo collage of how to make orzo pasta. Top left photo is adding uncooked orzo to butter in skillet. Top right photo is adding chicken stock/water mix to skillet. Bottom left photo is skillet with lid on cooking orzo pasta. Bottom right photo is removing lid when orzo pasta is cooked.
For this Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Veggies start by cooking the orzo pasta. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and toast orzo pasta until lightly browned (refer to top left photo above). Add 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken stock (top right photo) and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer (bottom left photo). Simmer for 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed (bottom right photo).
Collage of photos showing time saving kitchen cheats for diced peppers and savory garlic cooking herb being mixed into cooked orzo pasta
Once the orzo pasta is cooked add the vegetables. Refer to the top left photo above to see one of my favorite time saving kitchen cheats. Pre-diced veggies is a wonderful time saver. This is an 8 ounce package of diced green, yellow, and red peppers. If you aren't into the pre-diced packages, no worries, you can dice your own fresh veggies to use in this recipe.

Mix the diced veggies into the orzo pasta (top right photo) and then add 1/3 cup of a savory cream cheese spread (bottom left photo). I chose the garlic and herb, but I like the chive and onion for this recipe as well. Cream cheese spread is a shortcut I like to use when I'm short on time, but don't want to eat a dinner short on flavor. This time saving kitchen cheat adds loads of flavor to pasta, rice, vegetables, etc... It's a very versatile ingredient. Mix the cream cheese spread into the orzo pasta and vegetables and stir to combine (bottom right photo)
Garlic and Parmesan Orzo pasta in a blue serving dish garnished with fresh basil leaves
Top this dish with 1/4 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan Cheese and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy! Whether you make a full meal or a side dish, this Parmesan Orzo pasta is sure to be a big hit


Serving Suggestion

For an easy week night meal pair this Parmesan Orzo pasta with my Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs. The chicken only takes 30 minutes and is VERY easy to make. Just start the chicken first and once you have the chicken in the oven, you can start the orzo. By the time you have the orzo ready to serve, the chicken will be nearly ready. This dinner is so easy and delicious, it is sure to become one of your go-to family faves like it is in our house.


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Parmesan Orzo Pasta

Life Tastes Good
Published 04/19/2018
Parmesan Orzo Pasta
One of the quickest and easiest side dishes I have in my recipe box! My recipe for this Garlic and Parmesan Orzo pasta with fresh veggies is almost as easy to make as it is to eat! This recipe uses a couple of my favorite time saving ingredients to have this tasty side dish recipe on the table in under 20 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 container Tri-pepper Mix (diced green, yellow & red bell peppers) or dice the vegetables
  • 1/3 cup savory cream cheese spread, such as garlic and herb or chive and onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tbsps fresh chopped basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and toast orzo pasta until lightly browned. Add 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  2. Add the veggie mixture, 1/3 cup cream cheese spread, and 1/4 cup Parmesan and combine well. Add the fresh chopped basil and pepper to taste. Give it a taste and add salt if needed. Adjust flavors to your liking and enjoy!
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 mins.
Cook time: 15 mins.
Total time: 20 mins.

Recipe inspired by: Publix Apron Meals - Orzotto

NOTE: My Garlic and Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Veggies was first published on Life Tastes Good on April 18, 2013. I have updated the photos and tweaked recipe to show a photo tutorial of the recipe.

3 comments:

  1. I like orzo too, but it's sort of plain...that's why I love what you have done here! Yum! I'll be making this side dish soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Renee! This is super easy and addicting! It's hard to stop eating it!!

      Delete
  2. This looks delicious! I need to try this soon!

    ReplyDelete

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