Cheesy Vegetable Orzo is a super-easy, deliciously wholesome side dish [or mac-n-cheese substitute] that will convert even your worst “vegetable-haters” into “zucchini-eaters.”
I have this little eye-roller that makes me laugh inside my head every time I make Cheesy Vegetable Orzo: when I put it on the table, someone always asks, “Is that rice?” And every time, I say, “No – it’s orzo. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta.” Which sounds a lot more educational than entertaining, but the thing is, I’m pretty sure I’ve said that like fifty times in the last ten years, and I can guarantee the next time I make it, someone will ask again. So either I am very easily entertained or they are slow learners. Maybe both. Sigh.
Anywho, I got this recipe I got from my good friend, Val, many years ago and it has become a staple on our table, especially during zucchini season. I love it! It’s fast and easy to make, very economical, goes with practically anything, makes great leftovers, and you can even feed it to your “zucchini haters” – they’ll likely never even recognize that the vegetables are there.
Cheesy Vegetable Orzo
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth*
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
In a medium non-stick saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until soft (about three minutes). Add garlic and saute one minute more.
Add broth, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. (*If I use a commercially prepared vegetable broth, I omit the salt. If I use a homemade one, I dilute it dramatically so that the broth flavor doesn't overpower the other vegetables.)
Add orzo. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until orzo is tender. Remove from heat; stir in zucchini, cheese and fresh basil. Cover and let stand 2 minutes.
1/2 cup = 2 Weight Watcher Points. (Calculated on WW eTools Recipe Builder)