One Pan Orzo with Spinach and Feta is a great addition to your regular meal rotation. It is a delicious meatless main and also a one-pan wonder, and who doesn't love less cleanup at the end of a day?
I love making this pasta dish because the flavors remind me of the Greek dish called spanakopita, which is a savory pastry made with layers of crispy phyllo dough filled with a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, onions, eggs, and various herbs and seasonings. The best part, though, is that making this less time-consuming!
Here is a summary of the ingredients you'll need to make this spinach, feta, orzo dish:
- Orzo: Orzo is a type of pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. You will find this rice-shaped pasta in the pasta aisle of your grocery store.
- Feta cheese: Feta cheese is a type of brined cheese that originated in Greece. Feta has a crumbly texture and a tangy flavor. It is typically sold in blocks and stored in a container filled with brine to preserve its freshness and flavor.
- Shallots: Shallots have a mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic. Shallots are encased in papery reddish-brown skin composed of multiple cloves, similar to garlic.
- Fresh spinach: Baby spinach is ideal in this recipe; I would not use frozen spinach.
See the recipe card below for all the ingredients and measurements.
- Olive oil: Substitute with extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter.
- Unsalted vegetable stock: Substitute with unsalted vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- Yellow onion and garlic: Substitute with a small yellow onion and one garlic clove if you are not using shallots.
- There are several ways to vary this one-pan dish. For example, you could add lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a lemony orzo. Or even add some parmesan cheese to make it extra creamy.
- Cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes would be delicious, adding extra vegetables and color to this main dish.
- Fresh herbs such as mint, dill, or fresh basil would be great additions.
- Finish the dish by adding green onion, using the green parts only as a lovely garnish.
- Toasted pine nuts would also make a nice garnish, adding a crunchy texture to this meatless meal.
How to Make One Pan Orzo with Spinach and Feta
Easy recipes that require minimal cleanup are what I like. This recipe checks those two boxes and only takes 35 minutes to make.
Cook shallots. Heat a 3.5-quart braiser (or non-stick 12-inch skillet) over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the butter, melt, add the shallots, salt, and chili flakes. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until the shallots are soft.
Add orzo. Lower the heat and to the skillet, add the orzo and sauté, moving it around the pan to lightly toast it for 2-3 minutes.
Add broth. Add the chicken broth, stir, and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer on low heat for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally until the orzo is al dente and the water is almost completely absorbed.
Add spinach. Off the heat, add the spinach and stir well to incorporate (it will wilt and cook with the residual heat from the pasta).
Add feta. Add the feta and gently stir to incorporate. Serve this one-pot meal as a hearty side dish or a meatless main. It also makes a perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken.
Secrets for Success
- As the orzo cooks in the broth, it's important to stir it often so it does not stick to the bottom of the skillet.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing.
This one-pan meal can be made ahead of time, though it is best eaten right away.
I often eat the leftovers cold, as you would eat a pasta salad. Or you can gently reheat small portions of the dish on medium power in the microwave, adding a few drops of water to loosen the pasta. The advantage of heating the leftovers is that the feta melts, and the dish becomes more creamy ♥️
Yes, you can use acini di pepe (a type of pasta), pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous, and risoni, which is exactly like orzo but is called risoni in some parts of the world.
Yes, arugula or Swiss chard can be substituted for spinach.
Yes, you can add protein to the dish. If adding chicken, I would cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, sauté with the shallots, and proceed with the recipe. If using shrimp, I would add them at the halfway cooking mark of the orzo.
Stirring often will prevent the orzo from sticking when you first add the orzo to the pan of hot liquid.
📖 Recipe Card
One Pan Orzo with Spinach and Feta
- 3.5-quart braiser
- wooden spoon/spatula
- measuring cups
- ¼ cup salted butter
- ¾ cup shallots, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 cup orzo
- 2½ cups unsalted chicken broth
- 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Cook shallots. Heat a 3.5-quart braiser (or non-stick 12-inch skillet) over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the butter, melt, add the shallots, salt, and chili flakes. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until the shallots are soft.¼ cup salted butter, ¾ cup shallots, ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- Add orzo. Lower the heat and to the skillet, add the orzo and sauté, moving it around the pan to lightly toast it for 2-3 minutes.1 cup orzo
- Add broth. Add the chicken broth, stir, and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer on low heat for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally until the orzo is al dente and the water is almost completely absorbed.2½ cups unsalted chicken broth
- Add spinach. Off the heat, add the spinach and stir well to incorporate (it will wilt and cook with the residual heat from the pasta).6 ounces baby spinach
- Add feta. Add the feta and gently stir to incorporate. Serve this one-pot meal as a hearty side dish or a meatless main. It also makes a perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken.3 ounces feta cheese