A simple 6-ingredient lemon orzo pasta recipe is the perfect family meal for when your pantry is running low. It’s a fragrant and very flavorful side dish
Yesterday, I noticed that my pantry is running low!
Now, my first instinct was to want to run out and fill it up.
But, on second thoughts, I decided to challenge myself and make a meal from what I do have in my pantry.
And, that’s how this aromatic and flavorful orzo recipe was born!
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Tips for making this pasta recipe
- Use a stainless steel bottom pan for making this pasta recipe. It tends to cook the orzo more evenly.
- Don’t rinse your orzo before adding to the pan. Water and melted butter tend to not get along, so, there will be a lot of crackling noises
- I used vegan butter (Earth Balance butter sticks) for this recipe. If you don’t have vegan butter, you can use regular butter
- If you have coconut milk on hand, add about 2 Tbsp at the end when the water has dissipated.
- Garnish would be nice, if you have some. Go with curly parsley as a garnish. It will add even more heavenly aroma to the pasta
- If you don’t have fresh garlic, use garlic powder instead. It won’t taste the same, but, it will be delicious.
- If you don’t have fresh lemons, feel free to use store bought lemon juice.
Why I love this pasta
I am the kind of person who always uses fresh ingredients in my cooking. Before all the crisis, I could easily go to the grocery store twice in a day to get fresh ingredients.
So, when I had to make a recipe with just a few ingredients, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. I tried this recipe just once without having to experiment and guess what?
It came out great in just one try!
That is why I absolutely love this recipe. A recipe made with just a few ingredients and it turned out so delicious!
Plus, my entire home had the wonderful aroma of garlic and lemons!
Wish I could bottle the aroma!
Other ingredients to add to this orzo pasta
This recipe is made with the bare essentials. If this is all you have in your pantry, you should still be able to make a meal.
Next time I make this recipe, I plan to add baby sweet peas! They will be the perfect addition to this orzo pasta.
Common questions for making this orzo pasta recipe
So, as I was making this recipe, I thought of some of the questions I had for it. It occurred to me that you might have the same questions, so, here I try to answer all your questions.
If you have more questions, please feel free to ask me in the comment section below.
What if I don’t have any butter?
If you don’t have butter, you can use olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil. Use any oil you have on hand.
If you don’t have oil or butter, you can do without it. Heat a pan for 30 seconds and then add the orzo. Stir it for about a minute, then add garlic.
Continue cooking the recipe as mentioned below.
Can I use a different pasta?
Yes, feel free to use a different pasta recipe. It will work with penne, farfalle pasta, angel hair pasta, spaghetti, linguine or even frozen ravioli.
You may have to adjust the other ingredient amount based on the pasta you use.
Is this pasta freezer-friendly?
No, don’t freeze this lemon orzo. You can definitely refrigerate it and use it up in a week or less.
Cooked orzo doesn’t do well when frozen. It gets clumpy and dry.
So, place the leftovers in a glass container and drizzle some water on top. Close the lid and place in the refrigerator. Use it up in 7 days or less.
Can I skip the garlic in this recipe?
Garlic and lemon are the most important part of this recipe! Without it, you won’t get the same flavors.
You can substitute all the other ingredients, but, lemon + garlic are absolutely essential.
If you don’t have fresh garlic, use garlic powder instead. But, you will definitely need it in this recipe.
Can I use cooked pasta?
Yes, you can cook the pasta separately and then add it to the butter and garlic mixture.
The reason I cooked everything together is because the flavors infuse into every molecule of the orzo as it cooks. The orzo also turns so soft and practically melts in your mouth.
Plus, this is a one pan meal. That means only one pan to clean!
How to make this lemon and orzo pasta
Heat a stainless steel pan for 30 seconds and then add 3 Tbsp of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance butter sticks)
Once the butter has melted, add 2 medium sized garlic cloves to the pan. I grated them before adding to the vegan butter
Add 1 cup of uncooked orzo to the pan
Mix well. Let the butter coat every orzo
Let it saute for about 1 minute, then add water
Next, add 1 tsp of salt to the pan
Set the heat to medium and cook for 20-25 min or until all the water is gone. The cook time will depend on your stove.
Be sure to stir occasionally so that the pasta doesn’t stick at the bottom.
When the water is gone, drizzle the juice from a 1/4 of a lemon (about 1 Tbsp). You can add more lemon juice, if you like.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately
Now that you have made this recipe, be sure to rate it below. I love getting your input. If you really like it, be sure to give it 5 stars.
What is in your pantry right now? Want to know what to make with those items? Send me your ingredients and let’s see what you and I can make with it.
More Orzo Recipes
Orzo is a family favorite! I have quite a few recipes where I use orzo because it’s so delicious. Orzo is great in so many meals.
Poblanos are stuffed with orzo and lentils. Then, I top it with a sinful amount of cheese!
Cauliflower and orzo can make for a great combination. The flavors are so good and you won’t have to work too hard to make it.
This is hearty and quick soup to make with other nutritious ingredients like spinach.
Lemon Orzo Pasta
- Stainless Steel Pan
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter
- 2 garlic cloves medium sized, grated
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 lemon juice about 1 Tbsp
- Heat a stainless steel pan for 30 seconds and then add vegan butter
- Once the butter has melted, add garlic cloves to the pan
- Add orzo to the pan and mix well. Let the butter coat every orzo
- Let it saute for about 1 minute
- Add water
- Next, add salt to the pan and mix well
- Cook on medium heat for 20-25 min or until all the water is gone (see notes)
- Be sure to stir occasionally so that the pasta doesn’t stick at the bottom.
- When the water is gone, drizzle the lemon juice
- Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately