Day 291: Orzo with Spinach ♥ | A Veggie Venture: Day 291: Orzo with Spinach ♥

Day 291: Orzo with Spinach ♥

Orzo with Spinach
One of my oldest recipes, a garlicky pasta with strips of tender cooked spinach. This one requires will power: I could eat the whole pot if I let myself!

~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006 Original: Funny. This pasta and spinach has been a year-round favorite for so long that it's made two cookbooks, one for church, one for family. So how nearly 300 Veggie Venture days have passed without its appearance here is beyond explanation. But with little ado, here it is, just simple orzo with spinach, Parmesan and pine nuts. Fast, easy, and unless you're a carb counter, not entirely unhealthful.

2012: Funny again. I still make this recipe off and on, it's so easy to throw together. The trick is to use plenty of garlic and let the garlic essence really develop as it turns golden.

"I use this recipe for inspiration all the time. ... I've passed it on to many friends, and have probably posted it to my Facebook feed more than once. Thanks so much for the inspiration!" ~ Renee
"I love coming across vegetarian recipes that are quick. I asked my granddaughter to describe and she said it was 'BAZOOMA GOOD'!" ~ Anonymous


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 3 cups

1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon garlic (3 cloves, minced, this time, I don't recommend garlic from a jar)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon was too little)
3/4 cups orzo or tiny pasta bits

2 tablespoon grated Parmesan
About 5 ounces tender baby spinach, stems removed
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the garlic and let cook for a minute. Then add the water, salt and orzo. (Yes, put the pasta straight into the cold water. This is an atypical way to cook pasta but it's the way the recipe I've been using for so many years is written and does work.) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to MEDIUM, cover and let simmer until pasta is done and water is absorbed. Stir in the Parmesan and stir to distribute. Stir in the spinach in batches, adding more as what's there wilts/cooks from the heat of the pasta. Stir in the pine nuts. Serve and enjoy.

2006 NEXT TIME I might add a finely minced chili with the garlic to punch up the flavor.
2012 PINE NUTS Pine nuts are so expensive now and are dense calories so now I skip them entirely. The texture contrast of the nuts is missed however, if I were serving this to guests, I'd include them.
2012 LEFTOVER PASTA WATER I'm not sure why, but the last time or two I've made this, the pasta has been cooked well before the water has been absorbed. So I just drain the water and so much of the starch right off.

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from A Veggie Venture

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~ more pasta recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


Gotta make this.Sounds so simple and delicious

Amazing blog. Sorry I missed while I blog hoped for my weekend links. You can check out the links on my weekend links festival, i believe i linked many veg dishes as well. I have also posted some simple easy to cook veg dishes. You might like them

I always see orzo on the supermarket shelves but never dared making anything. Thanks for your recipe as it sounds really simple and yummy that I must get some orzo now to try it out.

Hey boo -- thanks for visiting all the way from Malaysia! Orzo is nothing more than pasta in a rice shape. Usually I like to use just tiny handfuls of it, say in a soup, because it gives the essence of pasta without all the calories. Alanna

I cook something like this, spaghettata. I'll try it with orzo sometime. Thanks for the idea!

I see this post hasn't been commented on in 4 years, but I want you to know it is still valuable! I came across it a while ago (probably just googled "spinach + orzo") and you popped up! Funny, since I'm subscribed to your blog now (but not back then).

I use this recipe for inspiration all the time. Tonight I used Anci de pepe (small soup pasta, used because I have had it in my pantry for way too long and was out of orzo anyway) cooked with onions, chopped beet stems, mushrooms, garlic with beet greens wilted in and topped off with some Parmesan cheese.

Other times in the past I've used kale, chicken broth instead of water, different nuts (though I usually go without), whatever strikes my fancy, has just arrived in the CSA box, or is in the fridge about pass its prime.

I've passed it on to many friends, and have probably posted it to my Facebook feed more than once. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

I made this tonight with the addition of portabella mushrooms and carrots. It was yummy served with a spring salad and arugula. I love coming across vegetarian recipes that are quick. I asked my granddaughter to describe and she said it was 'BAZOOMA GOOD'!
Jean from Minnesota

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna