Broccoli and Orzo

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Broccoli and Orzo is an easy, kid-friendly side dish which combines orzo – a rice shaped pasta with fresh broccoli, garlic and oil.

Broccoli and Orzo is an easy, kid-friendly side dish which combines orzo – a rice shaped pasta with fresh broccoli, garlic and oil.
Broccoli and Orzo

It’s also quick to whip up, and makes a perfect side for fish or chicken or enjoy it as a main meal by increasing the servings.

This works great with any small pasta shape. I make this often and everyone loves it, sometimes I even enjoy it alone for lunch by doubling the portion. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Orzo is an easy, kid-friendly side dish which combines orzo – a rice shaped pasta with fresh broccoli, garlic and oil.
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4.19 from 16 votes
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Broccoli and Orzo

4
4
4
SP
159 Cals 5.5 Protein 27 Carbs 4 Fats
Total Time: 15 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Side Dish
CUISINE: Italian
A simple side dish which combines orzo, a rice shaped pasta with fresh broccoli, garlic and oil. A perfect side for fish or chicken or enjoy it as a main meal.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups of fresh broccoli florets only, no stems
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Trim stems off broccoli, cut into small pieces and season with salt.
  • Steam covered with a little water until cooked, careful not to overcook. When broccoli is cooked, remove from pan and chop into smaller pieces.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in medium pot of salted water as directed for al dente.
  • Reserve about 1/2 cup liquid before draining.
  • Drain orzo in a colander and add the oil to the pot.
  • Saute garlic a few minutes until golden, add broccoli, season with salt and mix well.
  • Add orzo and stir to combine all. Add a little reserved liquid as needed so pasta isn't dry.
  • Serve with freshly grated cheese if desired (optional).

Nutrition

Serving: 3/4 cup, Calories: 159kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 5.5g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Sodium: 12.5mg, Fiber: 2.5g, Sugar: 1.5g
Blue Smart Points: 4
Green Smart Points: 4
Purple Smart Points: 4
Points +: 4
Keywords: Broccoli and Orzo, Broccoli and Orzo Recipe, Broccoli and Pasta, Easy Broccoli and Pasta

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104 comments

  1. This was fabulous! Not sure why some comments refer to it being bland. I boiled my orzo in chicken stock (per the package directions) and I’m sure it added some flavour. Sprinkled low-fat feta cheese on top. Delish! Thanks for another great one Gina!

  2. This was good. I added parmesan (as a recommendation) but it would have been good without too! I made sure to salt the pasta water. All I can think of from the comments about the pasta being bland is under-seasoning. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. I didn’t love this. The flavor was surprisingly bland. Couldn’t taste the garlic and added more salt.  Won’t make again. 

  4. Any suggestions on a substitute for the orzo to make this gluten free? Rice doesn’t seem quite right. 

  5. I didn’t add enough salt so it tasted bland, but will try again !

  6. This was delicious. I added pepper as well as salt when mixing the broccoli and garlic, and then after adding the orzo and mixing everything together, I also added some shredded parmesean cheese. Topped it with some fresh lemon juice and it turned out amazing! Love it. Definitely will make again.

  7. Delicious,  have it often and it doesn’t need anything!

  8. can you use frozen broccoli florets?

  9. This dish is one of our favorites!! I make it quite often. I do sub the orzo for a gluten free orzo as I am GF and the hubby is a vegetarian. Would this freeze well? I am working out of town and wanting to make him freezer lunches to grab and go!

  10. Gina I love @skinnytaste ! For future could you add a pull down for doubling a recipe? To feed my hungry bunch, I often need to double or to make one and a half times your original recipe. Thanks so much for all of the great recipes. Keep em coming.

    • I agree on the pull down to increase the number of servings. Sometimes I forget to double or 1.5x’s the recipe I’m making and end up being short on some of the ingredients. 

  11. Love this side dish. I often add a bit of feta on top, and it really kicks it up a notch!

  12. MAking this orzo dish tonight along with your baked chicken parm.  Looking forward to dinner.. I’m doing WW.

  13. This is still one of my favourites! I make it to bring to potlucks, BBQ’s etc and it’s always a hit. I always throw some plump, pan seared, spicy shrimp in with it as well. Fantastic!

  14. Followed the recipe exactly. Just tasted like broccoli and orzo mixed together. Quite bland.

    • Don’t under estimate the power of salt. And ESPECIALLY make sure your pasta water is well seasoned before you cook the orzo— this will season the orzo from the inside out. Also, add salt once you throw the broccoli in to be sautéed. Taste as you go and tweak to your liking. But if it tastes bland, you’re probably not using enough salt.
      If you’re watching your sodium, there are plenty of other herbs/spices/aromatics you can use to add more flavor too. Maybe a squeeze of lemon, or a sprinkling of parsley or basil, or some fresh parm as she suggests. I think this dish is delightful and fresh.
      Use your imagination. Do not be tied to the recipe instructions as the final and complete rules of the dish! This pasta dish is your oyster (if you will), and remember: salt is your friend.

      • My family loves this side dish. I cook the orzo and broccoli in the same pan with some lemon zest and then top it with lemon juice at the end. It comes out perfect every time.

  15. A little bland. I don’t mind eating plain veggies, but I’d rather have some sauce on my pasta.

  16. I am in Toronto Canada and have searched far and wide for orzo in grocery stores and can’t find anything.  Any suggestions anyone?  Please help Gina…

  17. This is cooking right now!  Looking forward to it! I’ve made several recipes and all are delicious so I expect this one will be too 🙂 
    Only issue I have is that when I use my WW calculator (on the app) points are higher. This is pretty consistent with all recipes on this site. Are your numbers current??  

    • The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

  18. I wonder how this would taste cold.

  19. I think this sounds delicious, but a serving is only 1/4 cup? Ouch. That makes me sad. I’m surprised no one has commented yet on the small serving size. Maybe I’m a bigger pasta eater than others?

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  22. Yup! You were right – my kids loved this! Always good when you can find a new way to use broccoli so the kids won’t tire of it. Thanks Gina!

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  26. We wanted to love this since it’s so nice and simple but unfortunately we found it a little bland. Nothing horrible about it but nothing great either. Could possibly just need more seasoning but we haven’t made it again to try.

  27. Making this tomorrow, but adding in shrimp to make it a fuller lunch for work. So excited to try!

  28. Has anyone cooked this a day ahead and heated it up the next. Having a party and need to have all food cooked prior.

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  30. Made this tonight. Yum! Great side dish to grilled chicken. 

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  32. Do you serve this hot or cold? I’m thinking either? Maybe some feta on top?

  33. Loved it but made the following changes. I had no idea what 4.5 oz of dry orzo was so I eyeballed it. I cooked the pasta and brocolli both in lowfat/low sodium chicken stock. I added a lot more brocolli than called for and some artichoke hearts. Although it called for Parmesan I didn’t add it and it didn’t need it. It was over the top delicious served with baked salmon.

  34. Great taste and easy, but I came ip with 6pts for 1/4 cup serving.

  35. My husband and I LOVE this recipe, and have it about once a week. Because we use it as a main dish, I use about 1 cup of uncooked orzo and two bunches of broccoli, but I don't increase the other ingredients. I also add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes when I'm sautéing the garlic, which gives it a little heat without being overpowering. I'm not a weight watcher, so someone else will have to figure out the points on this one. It makes 4 to 5 generous servings.

  36. I found this recipe on Yummly a few months ago and I now make this once a week. Love the simplicity and the flavor is amazing. Thank you!,

  37. I was out of orzo, so I subbed farro and it was awesome.

  38. Gina, love your recipes and this website! I've tried a bunch of your recipes with great success! But I have to say this one was bland. I ended up adding a good deal of parmesan and then squeezed almost a whole lemon into it. The lemon definitely helped.

  39. I doubled it, added carrots and brought it to a potluck tonight. It went fast and I got great comments on it. It was easy and yummy.

  40. This was great, I made my roasted broccoli and added it to the garlic orzo with a squeeze of lemon and grated parm!

  41. Yum I LOVED this! I had it for lunch with the Dijon baked chicken and it was a wonderful meal. I used whole wheat orzo and added 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and it was very filling.

  42. This was exactly the kind of side I was looking for!
    I made it with whole wheat pearl couscous instead of orzo and it was wonderful. I served it with with your lemon feta chicken with oregano. It was so simple and turned out to be a huge success! Thank you!

  43. This was unbelievably good! So much more than I expected! The best part was my whole family loved it! The only change I will make is doubling it next time!

  44. Hmm I wonder how this would be with cream of mushroom?

  45. Delicious!

    I have made this both with Orzo and Bowtie pasta. Tasted great both times. Definitely a keeper, as it is one of the only ways to get me to eat the tops of broccoli.

  46. Hi Gina!

    Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely fell in love with "Skinny Taste" after seeing some of your recipes on Pinterest. I am on weight watchers and your recipes are AMAZING. Making this orzo tonight for dinner and had your lightened Cajun Chicken Pasta last night, lucky for me my bf didn't woof it all down last night and I get to enjoy it once more for lunch today. 🙂 Thx for all you do!

  47. Simply love Orzo and combing the veggies is a great way to add to sides together. I need to make more sides and this one looks like a lot of fun to make and play with.

  48. Made this tonight, with some grilled chicken. Tomorrows lunch for me and hubby is set, just chopped up some chicken and lunch is ready, no fuss in the morning! Thanks for a great dish, it's a keeper!

  49. I have made this twice now. The first time I sauteed some spinach and added it in to the mixture with the broccoli, and it was really good that way, too. I have not needed to use the reserved liquid either time I have made it. I especially like this recipe because it is so simple. Now that you wrote it out for me, I can think about doing it without having to look up the recipe. It is a great side dish when I don't feel like having just straight vegetables. With the diet changes I have made, I started buying the bags of broccoli florets to have on hand for dipping and snacks for the middle of the day, so I have these ingredients on hand all the time.

  50. How many cups is 4.5 oz of Orzo Pasta?

    Thanks!

  51. This might be good with couscous too!

  52. Looks delicious! I am never disappointed when I come to your website looking for a healthy meal to serve my family. Your site is such a great resource and I never leave without finding at least a couple new things to try. Thanks so much!!

  53. I made this recipe with Whole wheat orzo and the taste was flat. Only thing that fixed it was a big mound of parm and salt. If I would make this again, it would need a taste overhaul!

  54. This looks simple and easy – perfect for a weeknight dinner. I haven't cooked orzo before, but seems straight-forward.

  55. I mde this for dinner last night. It was to die for!!!!! Honey ate two big servings! I add some chopped grilled chicken breast that I needed to use and some red pepper flakes. I think I could eat this everyday—it is really that good! Thanks Gina!

  56. Is this meant to be served hot or cold?

  57. Thanks for reposting with a picture! I bought Orzo yesterday in an effort to lessen the amount of meat eaten each day!

  58. I had trader joes chile lime chicken burgers with this so I used a persian lime olive oil in this dish and it was delicious. Perfect for summer. Thank you for a great recipe

  59. Yum! This looks like it would be so great with a sprinkle of Parmesan. So simple too!

  60. This is really pretty and simple. I love recipes like this. Can't wait to try it.

  61. Fresh and simple- perfect!

  62. I REALLY want to make this for dinner tonight, but with the 103 degree temps here, I think I'll try one of your cold salads instead. We'll enjoy this one later in the week. Thanks so much, Gina!

  63. I just bought some orzo today for the first time. This is on my menu for tomorrow night after a quick trip to get some broccoli! Yum!

  64. Looks Fantastic, I will try tonite!!!!!

  65. I made this for lunch today and it was delicious!!! Thanks for yet another great recipe Gina!

  66. YUM! This looks so good.. can't wait to try it!

  67. Looks like a risotto but without all the stirring. Thanks Gina
    Carol in WI

  68. I love orzo….always use it…even in soups. Adding the broccoli and maybe some cheese would make it great. thank you for all your great recipes.

  69. Thanks, Gina, for another great recipe. I like how easy this one is!

  70. I will try this with my quinoa (gluten-free here) and I'm sure it will be fantastic, too! I'll cook it up in chicken broth and have it with my roasted garlic chicken breasts! Sounds perfect! (Chris in Indiana)

  71. For those that want a source for whole wheat orzo, I buy Rice Selects Whole Wheat Orzo through Amazon on the Subscribe and Save program. I am a personal chef and only use whole wheat and whole grain products and I am very happy with the Rice Selects brand. Each 1/3 cup dry serving has 195 cal, 1g fat, 39g carb, 9g fiber (yes, 9!) and 7g protein. Thanks Gina for helping so many eat well AND healthy!

  72. I love everything about this dish – the simplicity of it and all of its wonderful flavors!

  73. I added a little parmesan cheese to the mix and also fat-free chicken broth instead of the orzo water.

    • I followed this advice, doubled the recipe and added 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. It's incredibly delicious and I'll have it on hand for a few days. So simple and so flavorful. Thanks Gina!

    • I did the same thing (prior to seeing this comment) and it was tasty. Dont think I would have liked it otherwise.

    • Great idea with the chicken broth. I always use low sodium chicken broth for my pilaf with orzo and it's amazing!

  74. Oh wow, this looks fantastic! I could go for some of this orzo!

  75. Ooooo I remember when Macaroni Grill used to serve that with their terriyaki salmon. I must make some! Peggy

  76. Love this side dish!

  77. I tried this dish tonight-it is great! The broccoli was falvored perfectly by the garlic!

  78. I am trying this tonight! I can't wait!!!

  79. This has become one of my go-to side dishes. It's delicious, thank you!

  80. The dish is amazing! I highly recommend it.

  81. this looks great! I just tried the WW honey mango barbecue chicken for lunch today, and it had an orzo side dish that this reminded me of. Can’t wait to try your recipe with broccoli and spinach.