This creamy spinach orzo in a pot is better than any side of canned pasta you'll find in the grocery store. It's easy, full of healthy ingredients, and will pair perfectly with just about any main course.
Creamy Spinach Orzo
Sides - the item often forgotten or thrown at random in a meal. A bit of a miserable situation as a well-executed side can really catapult an average meal into something spectacular.
Well, I'm here to shout from the roof of the internet that our creamy spinach orzo is anything but forgetful and just might be your new go-to companion. The one that will go deliciously well with our Creamy Chicken with Olives, Creamy Chicken with Olivess, or Creamy Chicken with Olivess.
As for the sides, for as long as I can remember my guilty pleasure have been those creamy canned pasta sides that you find tucked away near the burger aid and mac and cheese. Even to this day, I sometimes grab a box when the husband is out of town, just to have a brush of nostalgia and get my sodium fix all at once.
I had been trying to replicate it at home for some time, but wanted to make sure to mimic the flavor and creamy texture while keeping the mix as easy as the canned version.
And we did. Our one-pot version is just as creamy as the canned version and infinitely more flavorful. Bonus points for healthy ingredients, minimum fat and ease of preparation.
Ingredients in a pot of spinach orzo
Butter. I think butter has a bad reputation. Like everything in life and in food, it's all about moderation. A little won't hurt you! However, if you want to use olive oil or some other type of fat, go for it.
Onion + garlic. The simple combination of onion and garlic adds so much flavor to our creamy spinach orzo.
Orzo. We like to use whole grains when we can, so we went for the whole wheat orzo (this is our favorite brand). We also tried it with regular orzo and it also works great.
Chicken stock. Always use low sodium or no salt added chicken broth. You want to be able to control the amount of salt going into the orzo.
Cream. Just a little cream is all you need to make the spinach orzo even more creamy and luxurious.
Parmesan cheese. Again, a little goes a long way! We love to use aged Parmigiano Reggiano food with its strong nutty flavor.
spinach. I have to introduce these vegetables where you can. We chop the baby spinach and gently stir it into the orzo until it wilts.
How to make a creamy spinach orzo
For maximum flavor, we toast the orzo, onion and garlic in a touch of butter (or olive oil if you prefer). When the orzo pieces are super grilled, we incorporate the chicken broth.
For there, the process is quite simple. We bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a boil and cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is aldente. I like to stir the orzo every few minutes to make sure the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. It also helps release starch a bit better (similar to how we cook risotto).
When the orzo is aldente, we add a few cups of spinach, a touch of heavy cream and about half a cup of freshly grated Parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted.
Substitutions and tips and tricks for a successful recipe
- If the mixture seems a little more sticky than creamy, adding a little more chicken broth is an easy remedy.
- As with any dish, the last step before serving is to taste to make sure the seasoning is correct, I almost always need to add an extra pinch of salt and pepper.
- Make sure that the orzo during cooking does not stick to the bottom.
- Add toasted pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic or drained artichokes for added flavor and texture.
- If you don't have parmesan, you can use pecorino or romano.
What to serve with a One Pot creamed spinach orzo
- This Crispy salmon with pesto is the perfect simple meal to accompany a spinach orzo.
- Our favorite Grilled Tilapishared a lot of the same ingredients, so this would be the perfect combo.
- This Chicken Parmesan on an easy plate is a family favorite and calls for an easy-to-serve side.
For easier dinner sides, check out these dishes:
Creamy Spinach Orzo
This creamy spinach orzo in a pot is better than any side of canned pasta you'll find in the grocery store. It's easy, full of good-for-you ingredients, and will pair perfectly with just about any e
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- 1/2 Chopped off diced onion
- 1 tall garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups whole wheat orzo
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 Chopped off heavy cream
- 1/2 Chopped off grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic. Sauté until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add orzo. Toss to coat with butter, garlic and onion. Grill the orzo, stirring often, until some pieces are lightly toasted and golden brown.
Stir in the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the orzo is aldente and most of the chicken broth has been absorbed. Be sure to stir the orzo a few times so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If the orzo is still not cooked when all the liquid has been absorbed, add another 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
Add the heavy cream, Parmesan and spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted and the cheese has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Creamy Spinach Orzo
Amount per serving (1 serving)
Calories 336 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value *
Fat 14 g22%
Saturated fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 40 mg13%
Sodium 475 mg21%
Potassium 308 mg9%
Vitamin A 1617IU32%
Vitamin C 5 mg6%
Calcium 141 mg14%
The iron 1 mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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