Cheesy Vegetable Orzo is a quick, easy, economical side dish that will convert even your worst vegetable-haters into zucchini-eaters.
I love this orzo recipe! It’s fast and easy to make, extremely economical, and it goes with practically anything.
Cheesy Vegetable Orzo isn’t a fancy recipe, or one that will impress your friends with its exotic flavor profile.
No, this simple orzo side dish is more along the lines of …
… I just got home from work and I’m tired and I need a quick and easy side dish to go with this roast chicken I just picked up from Costco. Preferably something I can make from pantry and fridge staples, because I’m not going out there again today!
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Every time I make Cheesy Vegetable Orzo, this little eye-roller happens at the dinner table:
Me: [Putting the orzo on the table]
Someone: (There is always someone) “Is that rice?”
Me: (Every time) “No – it’s orzo. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta.”
And every time it plays out, I laugh inside my head. I know it doesn’t sound funny, but the thing is, I’m pretty sure I’ve said the same exact thing at least fifty times in the last ten years, and I can guarantee the next time I make it, someone will ask again. (Can anyone relate?)
Either I am easily entertained or they are slow learners.
Anywho, I got this vegetable orzo recipe from my friend Val many years ago, and it has become a staple on our table ever since. You can make it with fresh basil (fresh is always best) but dried basil works fine, too.
Cheesy Vegetable Orzo
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried 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, grated carrots, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. (Add dried basil at this time if you aren't using fresh.)
- 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 if you are using it. Cover and let stand 2 minutes.
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This post was originally published August 22, 2013