This Creamy One Pan Lemon Spinach Orzo is the perfect Spring time meal! Loaded with tons of bright flavor thanks to the lemon juice and lemon zest this Spinach Orzo makes a great side dish or meatless main!

Up close shot of lemon spinach orzo being stirred by a wooden spoon.

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    The BEST Lemon Spinach Orzo

    This Lemon Spinach Orzo has been a repeat in our house. It makes the perfect side dish to pretty much anything grilled chicken, salmon, steak you name it! It also can be served as a stand along meal on it’s on alongside a side salad and some crusty bread!

    This lemon spinach orzo is somehow light and creamy at the same time. The flavors of the milk and parmesan cheese are lifted by the lemon zest and lemon juice, and the spinach adds a nice earthy flavor and a bit of greens for nutrients!

    The best thing about this recipe is that it uses just one pan, no need to cook the orzo in a separate pot! The orzo will cook right in the pan with the chicken broth and milk. This results in a creamy and rich sauce that is so flavorful.

    Lemon spinach orzo in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

    Ingredients Needed

    This simple lemon spinach orzo uses minimal ingredients to create a dish that is still packed with flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Garlic: You can’t have pasta without garlic! I add in 4 whole garlic cloves and sauté them in some melted butter.
    • Orzo: Although orzo looks a lot like rice it is actually pasta! Orzo has a lovely chewy texture and is actually very fun to eat. Best of all it takes a lot less time to cook versus rice!
    • Milk & Chicken Broth: A combination of milk and chicken broth are what the orzo will be cooked in. The orzo soaks up the liquid and leaves a creamy, saucy, and starchy texture.
    • Lemon Zest & Lemon Juice: A combination of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice are used to make this pasta nice and lemony. The lemon adds a slight tang and balances the richness of the milk and parmesan cheese.
    • Dried Oregano: Or Italian herbs add the perfect punch of flavor. Fresh herbs would be amazing in this if you have them!
    • Parmesan Cheese: Make sure to use freshly grated parmesan cheese from a block for the best flavor / texture.

    How to Make Lemon Spinach Orzo

    • Sauté Garlic & Toast Orzo: Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the orzo and toast for 2 minutes stirring continuously until the pasta starts to get a bit golden. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
    Orzo in a white skillet with a wooden spoon.
    • Add Liquid & Cook: Stir in the milk, chicken broth, lemon zest and dried oregano. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 12-13 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
    Spinach in a skillet to be cooked.
    • Wilt Spinach: Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes.
    Orzo being stirred with spinach and parmesan in a white skillet.
    • Stir in Cheese & Lemon Juice: Remove from heat and add in the parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!
    Lemon Spinach Orzo in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

    Tips for Success

    • Make it vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth! If you use water instead of broth, it won’t be quite as flavorful and you will need to add more salt at the end.
    • Don’t have spinach on hand? You can substitute the spinach with baby kale or another hearty green. You can also add additional vegetables like zucchini or broccoli!
    • To efficiently zest the lemon, I recommend using a microplane!
    Wooden spoon scooping up orzo out of a skillet.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is orzo?

    Orzo is a pasta shape that is shaped like rice. Don’t be fooled, orzo is in fact pasta and does contain gluten! I am usually able to find orzo at my local grocery store, but it is definitely in stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts. When you put one cup of orzo in the pan, it might not look like much. But this pasta will soak up the liquids and grow significantly!

    How to store lemon spinach orzo?

    You can store any leftover lemon spinach orzo in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Orzo can be reheated in the microwave until heated through!

    What to serve with lemon orzo

    Lemon spinach orzo in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

    More Easy Recipes to Try

    Lemon Spinach Orzo

    4.25 from 4 votes
    This one pan creamy Lemon Spinach Orzo is an easy, light dinner or an amazing side dish! The lemon zest and juice lift the flavor creating a bright and light sauce that coats the orzo pasta perfectly. If you haven't jumped on the orzo train yet, now is the time!
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    Instructions 

    • Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
      Add in orzo and toast for 2 minutes stirring continuously until the pasta starts to get a bit golden.
      Add in garlic and cook stirring often for about a minute.
    • Stir in the milk, chicken broth, lemon zest and dried oregano. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 12-13 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
    • Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat and add in Parmesan Cheese and lemon juice.
      Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    Nutrition Information

    Calories: 298kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 13gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 506mgPotassium: 259mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 405IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 268mgIron: 1mg

    Did you make this?

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