Creamy Spinach and Feta Orzo
Creamy spinach and feta orzo is the perfect one-skillet side dish for any dinner. Loaded with cheese, veggies, and fresh herbs, spinach and feta orzo pairs perfectly with everything! Turn it into a main course by adding an easy protein, like grilled chicken or sauteed white beans. The best part? It comes together in 20 minutes!
What is Orzo?
Is orzo pasta or rice? I get this question a lot! Orzo, also known as risoni, is a rice-shaped pasta from Greece. It’s also used often in Italian cuisine, especially in soups! If you haven’t ever tried it, you’re going to absolutely love it.
How to Make Creamy Spinach and Feta Orzo
I love how easy it is to make orzo! I’ve always got some in my pantry and it’s easy to swap in different veggies, cheeses, and herbs.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Orzo. Any really small pasta shape will do, but orzo is my favorite. Orzo is readily available in most grocery stores
- Veggies. I used shallots, zucchini, and spinach but you could easily swap in your favorites.
- Cheese. Feta and parmesan make this orzo extra cheesy and creamy but you could use all parmesan, or swap in goat cheese. Whatever sounds good!
- Herbs. Fresh basil is AMAZING in this recipe but you could also stir in some parsley, chives, dill, lemon zest–really anything!
- Broth. I almost always use chicken broth for a little richness, but swap in vegetable broth to keep your spinach and feta orzo vegetarian.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Saute your shallots, garlic, and zucchini until softened and fragrant.
- Add your orzo to the skillet. You’ll want to toast it for a few minutes, stirring regularly, to really coat it in the butter and oil.
- Add your broth and half & half to the pan and stir to combine. Bring the orzo to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add in your chopped spinach, basil, and feta, and stir really well. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes more, until the orzo is cooked through and spinach is wilted.
- Remove the lid and stir in 1 more tablespoon of butter, the parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with more fresh basil on top.
Ideas for customizing creamy spinach and feta orzo
- I love creamy spinach and feta orzo as a side, but it’s great as a main dish too! Throw some grilled chicken or shrimp, seared salmon, or even white beans in while cooking to add some protein and elevate this to main dish status.
- If you don’t have fresh spinach, you can use frozen (make sure you thaw and squeeze out as much excess water as you can before adding to the dish) or add kale instead of spinach.
- Other veggies that taste delicious in this orzo include peas, asparagus, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- If you don’t love feta, try another creamy cheesy in its place like goat cheese, Boursin, or even cream cheese if that’s what you have on hand.
More Pasta Recipes to Try
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Creamy Spinach and Feta Orzo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter divided
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 shallots diced
- 1 zucchini finely diced
- 1 1/4 cup dry orzo pasta
- 4 oz feta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic, shallot, and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies are softened and lightly golden brown.
- Then, add the orzo to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, so that the orzo is coated in the butter and oil. Add the broth and half & half to the pan, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, stir well, and add the chopped spinach, basil, and feta. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is cooked all the way through. Stir in the remaining butter and parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm topped with more fresh basil.