This Creamy Spinach Orzo makes a perfect side dish or even a full meal. It’s cheesy, creamy, and kids are crazy about it. Ready in 15 minutes!
This Spinach Orzo is one of the easiest and tastiest meals I’ve ever made. Seriously. It’s made in one pot, so there is almost no clean-up required, and aside from roughly chopping spinach, there is no prep work either. Yes, you need this in your life!
Let’s get to basics first and learn a bit about orzo pasta.
Video Tutorial for this Spinach Orzo
What is Orzo?
Orzo is a name for pasta that is shaped like rice. It is made with semolina flour, which in turn is made of durum wheat. Orzo is a very versatile pasta cut that works really well for soups, salads, stews, and tasty side dishes, such as the one I am sharing with you today. It cooks faster than rice, and that’s why I love to use it in many recipes. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out.
If you’d like to learn more about Orzo pasta, here is a useful article: Orzo: What It Is and How to Cook It.
Ingredients for Creamy Spinach Orzo
The ingredient list is very short and simple:
- Vegetable Broth. Use homemade or store-bought vegetable broth. If using store-bought, pay attention to how much sodium it contains, so you can adjust how much extra salt you add, if any is needed.
- Milk. Whole milk is the way to go. Reduced-fat and nonfat milk will not make this orzo creamy.
- Orzo Pasta.
- Parmesan Cheese. Finely grated.
- Spinach. I like fresh baby spinach the most because there are no hard stems and it has a nice fresh taste.
- Salt and Pepper. If needed. Depending on how well-seasoned your vegetable broth is, you might need to add just a little bit of salt and pepper, or skip these altogether.
How to Make This Creamy Orzo
1. Combine the vegetable broth and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Parmesan and spinach. Keep cooking for about 3 minutes, until the spinach wilts down.
4. Taste the orzo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir, and remove from heat. Serve.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Use a non-stick pot. Because this recipe requires milk, orzo pasta may stick to the bottom of the pan if it’s not stirred frequently.
Adjust seasonings to taste. Because I don’t know how salty your vegetable broth is, I recommend adding salt in the final step, after you have tasted the dish. This way, you won’t end up with over-salted orzo.
Add extra vegetables. You can also add some peas, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms to this dish.
Use fresh herbs. Fresh parsley, dill, or cilantro would add a nice flavor and extra nutrients to the dish.
How to Store and Reheat this Spinach Orzo
Store this pasta in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4 days. When reheating, you’ll want to do so in a skillet with a little water, milk, or veggie broth to prevent the pasta from drying out or becoming gummy.
How to Serve
As a side dish. You can serve this tasty orzo as a side to your meat, seafood, or vegetables. It’ll pair wonderfully with Salmon Burgers, Fried Tofu, Blackened Salmon,Ahi Tuna Steak, Baked Cod, my highly-rated Spinach Stuffed Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetable Skillet, or Oven Roasted Vegetables.
As a main dish. It is very filling and makes a fantastic vegetarian meal. A nice side salad, such as German Cucumber Salad, Avocado Tomato Salad, or Perfect Tomato Salad, would make a great addition.
Is Orzo Pasta Gluten-Free?
Because Orzo looks like rice, it is a common misconception that orzo is gluten-free. But it’s not. Orzo is a type of pasta made from wheat semolina flour, and wheat contains gluten. However, you can find gluten-free orzo easily these days. It is sold in most large supermarkets (usually in the pasta aisle) and online. Check out this Delallo Corn & Rice Orzo. It has fantastic reviews!
Can I Freeze This Creamy Spinach Orzo?
Unfortunately, this milk-based pasta dish doesn’t thaw well after being frozen, so I don’t recommend storing it in the freezer.
How to Make This Dish Vegan?
Use the unsweetened nut milk of your choice, or ½ cup of full-fat coconut milk. Use a Vegan Parmesan Cheese alternative instead. This Parma! Vegan Parmesan tastes fantastic, and you’ll need just a tablespoon or two.
Can Other Type of Pasta be Used in This Recipe?
Yes. Small pasta types, such as acini di pepe, midolline, alphabet pasta, anelli, fideo, or pastina, would make great substitutes.
Can Frozen Spinach be Used Instead of Fresh?
Although I prefer using fresh baby spinach, frozen spinach would also work. You’ll need about 3 oz. of thawed spinach in this recipe.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes:
- Salmon Pasta with Spinach
- Orzo with Shrimp and Feta
- Easy Angel Hair Pasta
- Shrimp Fettuccine with Roasted Pepper Sauce
Creamy Spinach Orzo
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 oz. roughly chopped baby spinach
- ½ tsp. salt or to taste
- ½ tsp. pepper or to taste
- Combine the vegetable broth and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Parmesan and spinach. Keep cooking for about 3 minutes, until the spinach wilts down.
- Taste the orzo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir, and remove from heat. Serve.
Julie T says
I made it with kale as that's what I had available. I don't keep whole milk on hand but a spoonful of cream cheese added to the milk and broth appears to have done the trick. Came out creamy with good flavor. Will make this again.
Tania Sheff says
Awesome! Thank you, Julie!
Could you use chicken stock instead of vegetable?
Tania Sheff says
Hi Cindy! Sure! Happy cooking!
I made this last night mostly because I have a lot of spinach that I got for free that I am trying to get used up. It is delicious! I added a small zucchini, some baby bellas, part of a red bell pepper and some minced garlic. I think I might toss in some toasted slivered almonds next time. I warmed it up tonight in using the steaming basket in my rice cooker for about 20 minutes. Came out perfect!
Tania Sheff says
Sounds great, Tami! Thank you for reporting back!