Greek Shrimp with Orzo, Feta, Olives, and Tomatoes is a delicious one-pan 30-minute restaurant-quality dinner that is sure to become one of the family favorites! This Mediterranean-style recipe can be easily adjusted to get dairy-free and gluten-free. It's high in protein, has lots of veggies, and is Pescatarian (appropriate for vegetarians who include seafood in their diet).
Greek shrimp with orzo and feta - easy 30-minute dinner
In this recipe, everything is cooked in one pan in just 30 minutes - a perfect weeknight choice for busy people and families. This easy Mediterranean-style main course also makes a beautiful presentation, and you can serve it on special occasions when you have company over or guests. What I love the best about this Greek shrimp with orzo is that it's a well-balanced meal that will keep you full and satisfied. It has everything: protein (shrimp), veggies (cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives), carbs (orzo), and healthy fats (olive oil and feta cheese). You don't need any side dishes to go with it - it's a complete meal all on its own! If you love shrimp and orzo combo, check out my other recipes: Summery Lemon Shrimp Orzo with Asparagus and super comforting
Why you'll love it
- Easy but fancy! As simple as this recipe is, Greek shrimp with orzo and feta looks and tastes like a restaurant-quality dish. The whole recipe takes only 30 minutes to make, so it's a perfect dinner for entertaining guests. Spend more time with your family and friends and not in the kitchen!
- The juiciest shrimp. Shrimp is quickly seared to perfection in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. This recipe will show you how to cook shrimp properly to make it delicious, juicy, tender, and never dry and rubbery.
- The combination of flavors is amazing! Greek shrimp features bold flavors, such as smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and lime juice. It makes a fantastic combo together with Greek orzo, feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, and basil.
What is orzo?
Orzo is a short-cut pasta resembling long-grain rice in shape. It is made from flour, like usual pasta. Often, orzo is made with semolina (durum wheat used for making pasta).
How to cook orzo?
Cook orzo in a 1:2 ratio (1 cup of orzo with 2 cups of chicken stock or water) for about 10 minutes on a low boil (simmer) - medium-low heat. All the water (or chicken stock) should get absorbed by the orzo. You might have to add extra liquid (about ¼ cup, sometimes more), if the heat is too high, and some water evaporates, leaving the orzo undercooked. The properly cooked orzo should have a soft texture, just like regular cooked pasta.
Best kind of shrimp to use
Buy large raw shrimp that is preferably already peeled and deveined. Tiny shrimp tend to overcook faster and just don't look as presentable as larger shrimp. This recipe uses 1.5 lb large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) which usually equates to 16 or 20 count. Remove the tails. I don't like shrimp with tails as I like to eat shrimp with a fork and knife and not with my fingers.
Helpful tips for properly cooking shrimp
- Use large raw shrimp, not small kind. Also, do not use pre-cooked small shrimp. When you use large raw shrimp and cook it with spices, you get so many more juices and so much more flavor! Using larger shrimp also makes a beautiful presentation.
- With raw shrimp, make sure it's peeled and deveined.
- Take the tails off. It's easier and less messy to eat the shrimp with a fork and knife instead of picking up the shrimp out of the creamy sauce by the tail. So, I recommend removing the tails.
- Do not overcook shrimp. Cook it for only about 2 minutes per side, just until it turns pink in color. Overcooking the shrimp will result in a rubbery texture.
- Space out the shrimp in the skillet when searing. This will ensure that shrimp actually gets seared and not steamed. Also, watch the cooking times closely not to overcook the shrimp. You might have to cook in batches.
Can you make it gluten-free?
Make this recipe gluten-free by using orzo clearly labeled as "gluten-free". Or, simply use long-grain rice instead.
Can you make it dairy-free?
Use dairy-free, vegan feta cheese instead of regular feta.
Variations, substitutions, and add-ins
- Use other types of seafood, such as scallops, lobster meat, crab meat, or salmon.
- Pasta. You can make Greek shrimp not only with orzo, but with any other kind of short-cut pasta, such as bow-tie (farfalle), spiral pasta (fusilli), penne, or rigatoni.
- Rice. You can also use rice instead of orzo. After all, orzo is shaped very similarly to rice! I recommend jasmine rice, basmati rice, any long-grain rice, or Arborio rice.
- Veggies. Add your favorite veggies. My favorites are asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini.
- Lime or lemon will work great. Freshly squeezed juice is always the best!
- Add capers, instead of olives or in addition to them.
- Add pine nuts as a topping. I like to toast pine nuts briefly (and carefully!) in the oven for an even richer flavor.
- Add other toppings, such as fresh herbs (basil, thyme, or oregano), chopped green onions, or chopped chives.
- Make it spicy. Red pepper flakes will add heat. Use these sparingly, to taste, so that they don't overwhelm the dish.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Store cooked Greek shrimp and orzo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer. Freeze it in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Taste and reheat for 30 seconds more, if needed.
- Reheat on the stovetop. Reheat this dish in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop on low-medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil + water or lime juice (or lemon juice) when reheating to prevent the shrimp orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
What to serve with it
Because Greek shrimp with orzo and feta is a complete, well-balanced meal all on its own, it doesn't need any side dishes. Serve it with a simple fresh salad, such as one of these:
- Italian Salad with Spinach, Arugula, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, Cherry Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese
- Greek Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber, Avocado, Capers, Red Onions, and Feta Cheese
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Blueberries, Feta cheese, Pecans, and a simple Balsamic dressing
- Avocado Mango Salad
- Strawberry Mango Salad with Greens, Feta Cheese, Pine Nuts, and Lemon Mustard Dressing
Other shrimp orzo recipes you might like
- Lemon Shrimp Orzo with Asparagus
- Creamy Shrimp Orzo with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Artichokes
- Spicy Red Curry Shrimp Orzo with Snap Peas
Greek Shrimp with Orzo and Feta (One-Pan, 30-Minute Meal)
- 1.5 lb raw shrimp peeled and deveined (large - about 15-20 count per pound)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Greek orzo with feta
- 1.5 cups orzo
- 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or water
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes red and yellow, sliced in half
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives sliced
- ¼ cup green olives sliced
- 6 oz feta cheese crumbled or diced into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- salt and pepper
- In a large bowl, combine shrimp together with seasonings: smoked paprika, chili powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt. Toss to coat.
- Heat a large (12-inch), high-sided, skillet until hot on medium heat. Add olive oil - it should run easily but not sizzle or burn.
- Add shrimp without overcrowding (you might have to cook in 2 batches).
- Cook shrimp, flipping it once or twice, on medium heat, about 3-4 minutes total, until pink in color.
- Remove shrimp from the skillet.
Make Greek orzo
- To the same, now empty, skillet, add orzo and chicken stock. Bring to a brief boil, reduce to a visible simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes (according to package instructions). Check the orzo 5 minutes into the cooking, and stir it to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Orzo is cooked when all the water is absorbed and the orzo has a nice texture of cooked pasta. You might have to add more water at the end if the orzo is undercooked or the water evaporates too fast.
- Stir in halved cherry tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, sliced Kalamata olives, and sliced green olives. Add Feta cheese (crumbled or diced into small cubes), reserving ¼ cup of cheese for later.
- Add lemon juice (or lime), extra virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning.
- Reheat everything on low heat, constantly stirring, to blend all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add cooked shrimp back to the skillet. Reheat gently, if needed.
- When serving, top with the remaining feta cheese and chopped fresh basil.
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. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.