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!
Creamy orzo is my new favorite side dish. The way I make it is sorta similar to how you'd make risotto, but it's quicker and a bit easier since we're not adding the broth bit by bit. One pot, no fuss, done and done.
I added some parmesan cheese to this orzo with spinach dish since pretty much any creamy recipe can be enhanced by parmesan cheese, amirite? Straight out of the Salt & Lavender playbook.
I suppose you could eat this creamy spinach parmesan orzo as a meatless main course if you wanted to, but I'd then definitely serve it with something like a side salad to lighten the meal up a bit overall.
Recipe notes & tips:
- While you're cooking this recipe, you may think to yourself "there's way too much liquid", but I promise it all gets absorbed as the orzo cooks and it releases starch.
- I know I'll get questions on whether rice can be substituted for the orzo since it looks similar (even though one is pasta and one is not). My answer is "it depends" and "you may need to adjust liquid measurements and do some testing". Rice typically takes a lot longer to cook.
- You can use frozen spinach if you thaw it and squeeze the water out really well, but fresh spinach is probably your best bet.
- I think a bit of lemon zest would be delicious in here.
- If you don't have any heavy cream, try half-and-half instead.
What to serve with creamy garlic spinach orzo?
More amazing orzo recipes to try:
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken
- Lemon Chicken Orzo (One Pot Pasta)
I hope you will love this creamy spinach orzo recipe as much as I do! Questions? Ask me in the comments below.
Creamy Garlic Spinach Orzo
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.