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Mar 24

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

If you’re looking for a cheesy and delicious side dish that pairs well with practically any meat course, look no further. This Spinach and Parmesan Orzo is the stuff dreams are made of (well, my dreams anyway…have I mentioned how much I love food? And cheese?) and it comes together really quickly for inclusion in an easy weeknight meal.

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

My husband loves to grill, and now that ours is no longer buried in snow he is in his element. I love this Spinach and Parmesan Orzo because he can throw some meat on the grill, I can easily whip this up in the kitchen along with a salad or some fruit and dinner is served. This is also a great dish to pair with a salad for a light meatless meal or easy lunch.

Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

Looking for more ideas for tasty and satisfying side dishes? Check out my Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Almonds, Zucchini Casserole, Loaded Cauliflower Bake, Zucchini Squares, Cheesy Potluck Potatoes, Crispy Corn Fritters, Buffalo Cheese Bread and more in my side dish recipe category!

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Spinach and Parmesan Orzo

Yield: 5 (1/2 cup) servings


  • 1 tablespoon light butter (I used Land O’Lakes)
  • 1 cup (6 oz weighed) dry whole wheat orzo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth if making vegetarian)
  • 4 oz fresh chopped spinach
  • 1 ½ oz freshly grated Parmesan (I use the smallest holed side of my box grater to shred)
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • A sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large skillet or saute pan, bring the butter over medium high heat until melted. Add the dry orzo and stir to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes until some pieces of the orzo begin to brown. Add the minced garlic and stir together. Cook for an additional minute or so until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil (mine was basically boiling right away). Cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 14-15 minutes until the broth is absorbed and the orzo is tender. Stir in the chopped spinach and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Add the Parmesan, basil, Italian seasoning and black pepper and stir together until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints:
4 per (1/2 cup) serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
4 per (1/2 cup) serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on

Nutrition Information:
172 calories, 25 g carbs, 1 g sugars, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 3 g fiber (from

Adapted from AllRecipes


17 Responses to “Spinach and Parmesan Orzo”

  1. #
    Debbie Rodas — March 24, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

    Hey Emily, do you think I can make this with broccoli instead of spinach? Maybe if I blanch it for a minute or two before adding it to the orzo?

    Thanks, love many of your recipes!

    • Emily Bites replied: — March 25th, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

      Sure, you could definitely add some cooked broccoli instead of spinach. Hope you love it!

  2. #
    Mary Beth — March 25, 2015 @ 11:33 am

    Debbie, I was thinking the same thing, and I think broccoli would be great! Blanching it first is a good idea. I’d sub arugula, too. And I think blanched asparagus cut into small pieces would be super…fresh asparagus will be appearing at my farmers market before long. Yum!

    • Emily Bites replied: — March 25th, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

      Hope you love it! 🙂

  3. #
    Morgan — March 25, 2015 @ 7:53 pm

    Made this tonight! So delicious!!! My store didn’t have whole wheat orzo but they had tri-colored so I used that. Such a delicious side, I paired mine with orange roughy

  4. #
    Laura — March 25, 2015 @ 8:03 pm

    Looks wonderful! I have some whole wheat orzo in my pantry!

  5. #
    Lauren — March 29, 2015 @ 9:46 pm

    Made this tonight, it was great! I like that I can sneak a vegetable in on my husband by having it in this delicious pasta dish! We both loved it, thanks for another great recipe!

  6. #
    Sarah — March 30, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

    Another awesome recipe! We had this side over the weekend with grilled steaks, and it was fabulous! Having pizza logs (one of our absolute favorites) for dinner tonight. Emily, your recipes and your website NEVER disappoint – thank you!

  7. #
    Amanda — April 19, 2015 @ 3:59 am

    Made this last night. Awesome!! Big hit with the family. They were even looking for leftovers today, of which there were none!!

    • Emily Bites replied: — April 20th, 2015 @ 10:17 am

      I’m so glad you and your family loved it!

  8. #
    Karen (Scotland) — April 21, 2015 @ 8:49 am

    Just made this and it was delish! Brought it down to a single lunch portion – 40g orzo, one bag spinach, 20g parmesan, one cup stock. Also threw in a tiny onion (finely chopped) when coating/browning the orzo. I feel full, satisfied and I can already tick “dose of greens” off today’s list!
    Thank you for another fab recipe. 🙂
    Karen (Scotland)
    Off to Google ‘aragula’ and find out what it is…

    • Emily Bites replied: — April 26th, 2015 @ 8:48 pm

      I’m happy you loved it! 🙂

  9. #
    Jeanne Morton — May 5, 2015 @ 11:13 am

    This was fantastic. Came together really simply. Even sent the link to my sister! Thanks for providing healthy recipes!!! Love your site.

  10. #
    Rachel — June 4, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

    Made this last night with some greek yogurt chicken – omg. Very delicious! I’m eating some leftover orzo for lunch, and it reheats pretty well. Definitely making this again. Thank you Emily!!

  11. #
    Kerri — July 16, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

    As it turns out this is the stuff my dreams are made of too! This was easy and absolutely delicious! The whole family declared it a winner-even one of my “no parmesan” kids loved it. Thanks!

    • Emily Bites replied: — July 22nd, 2015 @ 12:07 am

      I’m so happy to hear the whole fam loved it! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  12. #
    Megan Klemme — July 5, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

    If I cannot find whole whear orzo, would that change the points value?

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