Rice pilaf with orzo takes a classic rice pilaf and replaces it with orzo. With just a few ingredients, this simple side dish is as easy as making regular rice, but so much more impressive!
We love serving orzo pilaf alongside Greek lemon chicken, Peruvian chicken, or anywhere we would normally have rice on the table.
The Difference Between Pilaf and Risotto
Pilaf is typically made with rice simmered in stock with various spices added to it. Like risotto, pilaf is actually the method of cooking this dish.
With both pilaf and risotto, garlic or onion is added and the orzo, rice, or grain is browned to add a delicious nutty flavor to it. With pilaf, stock and spices are then added to the pan, covered, and simmered until absorbed. With risotto, stock is added slowly while it cooks, uncovered.
Both both pilaf and risotto create a grain that is less sticky, and a little firmer than standard rice or orzo.
What’s In Orzo Pilaf?
In this rice pilaf with orzo, I use:
- paprika (for color)
- chicken broth
If you’d like, try using 1/2 orzo and 1/2 rice. They’re super delicious mixed together! I love making this rice pilaf with orzo using jasmine rice.
If you are making a Middle Eastern dish, 1/2 teaspoon of garam marsala or cumin tastes delicious. I love adding a splash of lemon juice if I am cooking Mediterranean or Greek cuisine. It’s a very forgiving and customizable dish!
Let’s Make It
To make orzo rice pilaf:
- Saute the onions for about 3 minutes on medium heat, or until translucent.
- Add the orzo and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, making sure it doesn’t burn.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until orzo is cooked through.
- Fluff orzo pilaf with a fork, and serve next to your favorite mains!
Reheating Rice Pilaf with Orzo
This dish is great reheated, and one of my favorite easy and quick lunches when I am busy. To reheat it, add a 1 tablespoon of chicken broth per cup of pilaf, and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Pilaf is great for meal prep too! It makes a mean cold orzo pasta salad, and it’s delicious with some leftover chicken or pork added in.
Other Delicious Side Dishes
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Ramen Noodle Salad
- The Best Bruschetta Recipe
- Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)
- Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
Rice Pilaf with Orzo
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cups orzo
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, saute for 3-4 minutes or translucent.
- Add the orzo and garlic. Saute until golden brown for about 2 minutes, ensuring the orzo doesn't burn.
- Add chicken broth, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until orzo is cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and fluff with a fork before serving. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish.