Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Orzo is a quick and easy pasta recipe that comes together in just 30 minutes, using only one pan. It makes a fantastic meatless main course. You can also serve it as a side dish with your favorite proteins, such as grilled, baked, or pan-seared meats, chicken, or seafood.
Sun-dried tomato and spinach orzo
This sun-dried tomato orzo was inspired by Italian ravioli I made a while ago. It features the same ingredients: spinach, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers. It's a light, refreshing Mediterranean-style dish that has no cream and no cheese. Perfect if you want to make a delicious, meatless, vegetarian dinner. If you crave some protein, you can easily turn this sun-dried spinach orzo into something more substantial. Just add pan-seared chicken thighs or this Mediterranean chicken. If you like seafood, add pesto shrimp or seared scallops.
Why you'll love it
- 30-minute, one-pan recipe. To make this easy recipe, first, saute spinach together with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and capers in the same skillet. Then, combine it with cooked orzo, lemon juices, and seasoning to spice it up. Simple and quite impressive.
- Healthy recipe packed with veggies. This is a healthy pasta dish since it has so many veggies, no cheese, and no cream. It's healthy, meatless, high in fiber, and dairy-free. You can easily make it gluten-free by using gluten-free orzo or long-grain rice.
- Beautiful presentation. Sun-dried tomato orzo is one of those recipes that you don't have to work hard to make look pretty on a plate. With so many colorful vegetables, the presentation is naturally stunning!
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 together with chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water). Usually, the orzo is cooked in 1:2 proportion, for example, 1 cup of orzo in 2 cups of water, or 1.5 cups of orzo in 3 cups of water. Cook according to package instructions, which usually means 10 minutes. Orzo has to absorb all the water in the saucepan, similar to how you would cook rice. You might have to add a small amount of liquid (if the orzo is too dry) and check on your orzo 5 minutes into the cooking, to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Orzo (One-Pan, 30-Minute Meal)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 4 oz artichoke hearts chopped
- 5 oz fresh spinach
- 8 oz cooked orzo
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons capers drained
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add minced garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped artichokes, and fresh spinach. Cook, stirring until the spinach wilts.
- To the skillet with sautéed vegetables, add cooked orzo, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and capers. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring, for about 1 minute.
- The dish should be salty enough from capers. If it's not, add more salt (or capers), if needed.
This recipe uses cooked orzo. Here is how to cook orzo:
- Proportion. Cook orzo together with chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water) in 1:2 proportion, for example, 1 cup of orzo in 2 cups of water, or 1.5 cups of orzo in 3 cups of water.
- Cooking time. Cook according to package instructions, which usually means 10 minutes. You might have to add a small amount of liquid (if the orzo is too dry) and stir it a couple of times to make sure it doesn't dry out and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Orzo cooks in a similar way as rice. In other words, all the water should be absorbed by the orzo.
- Use the same skillet. You can cook orzo in the same skillet as you use in this recipe, before cooking all the vegetables (to keep it a one-pan meal).
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.
Add protein to make it a complete meal
Add your favorite protein to turn this pasta dish into a well-balanced, complete meal. Any meat goes well with sun-dried tomato spinach orzo. Easy ideas are leftover cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, grilled meats, shrimp, salmon, or scallops. Here are super simple meats or seafood you can add:
- Shrimp Scampi with Capers
- Garlic Parmesan Baked Salmon
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Greek Chicken
- Cajun Chicken
- Bacon Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- What is a good substitution for Orzo? Rice is a great (and gluten-free!) substitute for orzo. After all, orzo is shaped very similarly to rice! I recommend long-grain rice, such as jasmine rice or basmati. Or, arborio rice.
- What is a good substitute for spinach? You can use arugula or kale.
- What to substitute for capers? Use pitted green olives. Chop them up into smaller pieces.
Storage and reheating tips
Because the sun-dried tomato orzo is made without any cream or cheese, this recipe is easy to store and reheat. You can also make this ahead.
- Fridge. Store sun-dried tomato spinach orzo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat the refrigerated leftovers in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Taste and reheat for 30 seconds more, if needed.
- Reheat on the stovetop. You can also reheat this in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop on low-medium heat. When using this method, add a small amount of olive oil to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
What to serve with it
- Green salad. Make a simple salad, using your favorite greens, such as spinach, arugula, or kale. Dress the salad with a basic salad dressing made with olive oil, a small amount of balsamic vinegar, coarsely ground black pepper, and shredded Parmesan cheese.
- More salad choices. Serve sun-dried tomato orzo with a simple spinach salad or cranberry spinach salad with cashews and goat cheese. Or, try arugula salad with balsamic dressing and pine nuts. Another great choice is an arugula salad with apples, cranberries, and pecans.
Other orzo recipes you might enjoy
- Creamy Shrimp Orzo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
- Greek Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta
- Italian Sausage Orzo Soup with Spinach and Portobello Mushrooms
- Creamy Chicken Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach