This creamy Lemon Orzo Pasta is a simple side dish that’s fresh, flavorful, and easy to make. It’s a one-pot orzo recipe full of peas, spinach, and Parmesan cheese that goes with all sorts of main courses.
Creamy Lemon Orzo Pasta With Peas
This one-pot Lemon Orzo with Peas is a side dish that will never go out of style. It’s fresh, flavorful, creamy, only takes a few minutes to make, and goes with just about anything.
I like to add peas and spinach, but feel free to switch it up and add all sorts of different ingredients. Chicken, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and so much more would be great additions. I like to serve with a little lemon zest and fresh chopped parsley.
Lemon Orzo Ingredients
- Butter - I prefer to use salted butter. You can also substitute olive oil.
- Garlic - freshly minced garlic has the best flavor in this dish. You could substitute jarred minced garlic.
- Chicken Broth - any type of chicken broth or stock will work. To make this vegetarian you could also use vegetable broth.
- Spinach - use fresh instead of frozen. Chop into about ½” slices. Either baby spinach or large leaf work great.
- Parmesan Cheese - use either freshly grated or shredded Parmesan so that it will melt properly in the dish.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
- Orzo Pasta - this is a tiny pasta that cooks very quickly. A good substitute is Israeli couscous, ditalini pasta, or even broken or chopped spaghetti. For a healthy version, you could also substitute quinoa.
- Cream - this is optional but makes the dish super creamy so I highly recommend adding it.
- Peas - either fresh or frozen peas will work great. I would thaw them first since they won’t be cooking long in the pasta.
- Lemon - you will need about ½ of a fresh lemon, or about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Feel free to add a little fresh lemon zest, too.
- Parsley - I like to finish this with freshly chopped parsley.
How to Make Lemon Orzo Pasta
- Cook the garlic. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the butter and garlic. Cook while stirring until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden brown.
- Add the orzo and spinach and cook. Add the orzo, chicken broth, and spinach. Stir lightly and cover with a lid. Cook until there is no more liquid and the pasta has cooked to al dente, or about 8-9 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and cheese. Once the pasta has cooked, reduce heat to low and add the parmesan cheese and cream. Stir and heat the orzo until the cheese is melted.
- Serve. Remove from heat and stir in the peas and fresh lemon juice. Serve with lemon zest and fresh minced parsley. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Orzo may look like rice, but it’s actually pasta. It has the most amazing chewy texture and is great for making pasta side dishes and cold salads.
Nope - orzo is rice shaped pasta made with wheat flour. It is not gluten free, however you could easily substitute a gluten free option. Gluten free pasta would work great in this recipe!
The best way to reheat Lemon Orzo is to add it to a skillet with a bit of water or broth and warm over medium heat while stirring.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- To reheat: add leftover orzo to a skillet with a little water or broth and reheat over medium while stirring often.
Recipe for Lemon Orzo Pasta with Peas
- 2 Tablespoons Salted Butter can substitute olive oil
- 1½ Tablespoons Garlic minced
- 2 ⅔ cups Chicken Broth
- 2 cups Spinach fresh, chopped into ½" slices
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 16 oz Orzo Pasta
- ¼ cup Heavy Cream optional
- 1 cup Peas frozen or fresh
- ½ medium Lemon or about 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley fresh chopped for garnish
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and garlic. Cook while stirring until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden brown.
- Add the chicken broth, spinach, and orzo pasta. Stir lightly and cover with a lid. Cook until there is no more liquid and the pasta has cooked to al dente, or about 8-9 minutes.
- Once the pasta has cooked, reduce heat to low and add the parmesan cheese and cream. Stir and heat the orzo until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from heat and stir in the peas and fresh lemon juice. Top with fresh minced parsley before serving warm. Enjoy!
More Quick and Easy Side Dishes
- Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Rice Pilaf
- Coconut Rice
- Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes
- Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes
- Spanish Rice
- Lemon Herb Rice
- Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes
- More Rice Recipes
- More Potato Recipes
This quick and easy Lemon Orzo recipe is a simple one-pot side dish that goes with just about anything. It's full of spinach, peas, Parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon.