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This creamy garlic spinach orzo is a comforting and easy to make side dish that comes together fast and will have everyone asking for seconds! It’s ready in 30 minutes.

Love one pot orzo recipes? Try my Creamy Spinach Bacon Orzo or this Italian Sausage Orzo Soup next.

creamy orzo with spinach in a serving bowl

Why you’ll love it

This creamy orzo is my new favorite side dish or meatless main. It’s loaded with garlic and fresh spinach, and it’s creamy like a risotto. The best part? It’s actually so much quicker and easier than making a risotto! One pot, no fuss, done and done in just half an hour.

I added some parmesan cheese to this orzo with spinach since pretty much any creamy recipe can be enhanced by parmesan cheese, amirite? Straight out of the Salt & Lavender playbook! One kind reader said that it’s the creamiest, most delicious orzo they’ve ever had.

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil and butter – for sautéing
  • Onions and garlic – tasty aromatics. I like sweet (Vidalia) onions.
  • Italian seasoning – this tasty dried herb blend is a pantry staple!
  • Orzo – this tiny rice-shaped pasta is one of my favorites
  • Chicken broth – for savory depth of flavor. Use vegetable broth if desired.
  • Heavy cream – it’s what makes the sauce silky and rich
  • Parmesan – an extra cheesy quality to tie it all together
  • Spinach – for a burst of freshness
ingredients for creamy garlic spinach orzo in prep bowls

Pro tip

  • Since stovetops and cookware vary, adjust as needed when making any one pot orzo recipe!
  • If you find there’s too much liquid, keep in mind that the orzo will absorb it as it releases starch. Cover it and wait. Conversely, if there’s not enough liquid and the pasta isn’t cooked yet, simply add in some more broth as needed.

How to make creamy garlic spinach orzo

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing onions in a soup pot and adding in orzo and seasonings

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter and oil until softened. Add the garlic, orzo, and Italian seasoning, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, to lightly toast the orzo.

cooking creamy orzo in a soup pot and adding parmesan and spinach

Stir in the broth and cream, and let it bubble gently, stirring every so often. Once reduced and the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan and spinach, cover, and let it wilt. Season with salt & pepper.

Can I use rice?

Since orzo is pasta, you’d have to do some testing because rice typically takes longer to cook. The liquid measurements will vary, and our kitchen hasn’t tried this one with rice.

Substitutions and variations

  • I think a bit of lemon zest would be delicious in here for a pop of citrus flavor.
  • If you don’t have any heavy cream, you could try half-and-half instead, but keep in mind the results won’t be as creamy.
  • Stir in cooked chicken or shrimp at the end for some added protein.
  • You can use frozen spinach if you thaw it and squeeze the water out really well, but fresh spinach is probably your best bet.
creamy spinach orzo in a pot with a wooden spoon

What to serve with creamy garlic orzo

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftover orzo for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat, and you may want to add another splash of broth or cream since orzo will soak it up over time.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this one.
close-up of creamy garlic spinach orzo

If you made this creamy spinach orzo recipe, please leave a star rating and review below! Ask me any questions. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.

creamy orzo with spinach in a serving bowl
4.87 from 37 votes

Creamy Garlic Spinach Orzo

This creamy garlic spinach orzo is a comforting and easy to make side dish that comes together fast and will have everyone asking for seconds! It's ready in 30 minutes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a bit).
  • Stir in the chicken broth and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). You want it to gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
  • Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. The orzo will absorb the liquid quickly, so if it still seems like there's too much liquid, just wait a little bit longer. Season with salt & pepper as needed.

Notes

  • Orzo is pasta. If you want to make this with rice, you may have to adjust liquid measurements and cooking time (it would be a different recipe).
  • Feel free to leave the spinach out if it’s not your thing or you don’t have any. I just add it for a bit of color and texture and to make it a bit more nutritious.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 473mg, Potassium: 236mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1710IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 144mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.87 from 37 votes (1 rating without comment)

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107 Comments

  1. Mary says:

    5 stars
    Salt & Lavender always knocks recipes and flavor out of the park! This is an insanely good recipe and so so fast! I added a splash of lemon juice at the end and it was so delicious! This will be made for years to come!

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww thank you so much, Mary!!

  2. SP says:

    5 stars
    I love this!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!!

  3. Joanne Morelli says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved it! I had all the ingredients and it went perfectly with my basic chicken cutlets. Thank you for upping my meal into a dinner!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that!! 😀