Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it’s sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Orzo is one of my favorite kind of pastas. It may be due to the fact that I grew up on Korean rice my entire childhood, so it’s really no surprise that I would love this pasta in rice-shaped form. And when you couple that with the amazing flavors of the salty Parmesan and fresh spinach in a light cream sauce, what’s not to love?

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Now the great thing about this dish is how versatile it is, serving it as either a light main dish or a side dish. We served it alongsideĀ the pan roasted lemon chicken, although I may have had this orzo as a main dish instead. After all, when Parmesan and pasta is involved, I have no self control. I just kept telling myself that with the fresh spinach, this was really a salad.

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo - This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Yield 4 servings

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

This creamy orzo dish is a wonderful side or light main dish, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family!


  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until melted, about 1 minute. Add orzo and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately.



  1. Sheri N. says

    As I was reading, I was thinking that this would be a great main dish…I’m so glad you agree! This looks totally tasty and comforting. I am trying this tonight. Thank you!!

  2. says

    This looks AMAZING!!! I make something very similar but I add in cherry tomatoes and basil… Which reminds me…I need to blog that! Thanks for the reminder! Love love your site and pics :)

  3. says

    Love that due to the fresh spinach, you tell yourself this is a salad šŸ˜‰ I like the way you think and I love this cheese-y bowl of soon to be happening orzo!

  4. says

    We are orzo eaters for sure! My boys love that fun little pasta that looks like a form of rice, but is actually a teensy noodle šŸ˜‰ The creamy parm and spinach is absolutely perfect for this. This post is making me hungry right now!

  5. debi says

    This looks fabulous, were about to go on holiday, so I’m gathering some special recipes to try while via-vaca, this will surly be on the list…thanks so much!

    • Chung-Ah says

      You can certainly use almond milk but please remember that by using a substitution, I cannot speak for how much this will change in the overall taste or texture of the dish. I recommend using the specified ingredients listed in the recipe whenever possible for optimal results.

  6. Kathleen says

    This was great. I made it as a side dish for lemon garlic tilapia and it was a great great meal. Thanks for these amazing recipes!!

  7. Shana says

    Just made this and it was great! Used skim milk and whole wheat flour. I also used about 2 1/2 cups of spinach (what I had on hand) and 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets instead of onion (just emptying out the fridge and using what i had on hand). It was really really good, thanks for the recipe!

  8. Ariane says

    I just saw this and had some spare orzo, so I decided to whip it together! It was delicious! I didn’t have spinach, so I sautĆ©ed some jalapeƱos with the onions and garlic. It made for a really nice flavor and a touch of green! This will be a perfect side dish in the future. Thank for the fast and tasty recipe!


    Tried this recipe last night and it was soooo good. It was super creamy and has lots of flavor. I really would like to put this in my fitness pal. Does anyone have the nutritional facts?

    • Amber says

      I too am looking for nutritional facts for MFP. May calculate on my own when I make this… will let you know if I figure it out.

  10. Aubs says

    Loved this! Made for a “meatless monday” meal… added roasted chickpeas to make it a full main dish.. it was wonderful! Great recipe

  11. chickenmama316 says

    I found this recipe this evening while making dinner, I had all the ingredients and decided to give it a try. Absolutely delicious with no changes to the recipe. It was my first time making Orzo but won’t be the last…this recipe was a big hit with the family! I used it as a side dish with poached scallops.

  12. Kendra says

    My husband and I really enjoyed this. I added about 1/2 a lb. spicy and sweet crumbled Italian Sausage and 1 tsp chili flakes. I didn’t bother with the olive oil since the sausage rendered enough liquid to brown the onions in. So good! I’ll be putting this meal into my rotation. Thanks again!

  13. Jonell says

    Just made this tonight and am eating it for dinner as my entree. It is just right, creamy yet light, and so yummy! Thank you!

  14. Jill Zinser says

    Hello, Chung-Ah,
    Loved your Parmesan and Spinach Orzo recipe! Thank you! Had some orzo in cupboard for long time and didn’t know what to do with it. Made a few alterations to your recipe (mostly out of necessity) and thought would share: substituted homemade chicken broth for milk, used frozen spinach (all I had), and added basil at the end to add flavor. Inhaling it now as I type, and can’t wait to make again! Thanks again.

  15. Kessia says

    This is delicious! I do it with spaghetti and my children love it. A new family favorite, thank you!

  16. Carolina says

    Hello! This recipe looks delicious!! I can’t wait to make it. What would you recommend as a substitute for the milk? Do you think whole wheat flour will work in the recipe?

    • Chungah says

      You can certainly substitute whole wheat flour but I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish as further recipe testing is needed. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.

  17. Ashley says

    I made this today and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! It was amazing. I subbed in whole wheat orzo, skim milk and fat free parmesan and it was still super tasty. That’s saying something because I am super critical of subbing in healthier options (I like my cheese full fat, damn it!) but have recently been trying to eat better. This was a definite make again dish, even with the substitutions.

  18. says

    This was amazing! Made it last night – I was intending it as a side dish but it was so delicious it became the main course. Will definitely be making this again soon!

  19. Liz says

    I am so glad I have discovered your website! You have recipes that are fast, easy, and don’t involve busywork–and that taste amazing. Made 2 of your soups already and can’t wait to try this one tonight. Seriously, I am pregnant, working 40+ hours a week and it’s now a crispy 10 degrees where I live–cooking should be the last thing I want to do when I get home, but so far your recipes have been downright fun and easy to make! Thank you for being a weeknight lifesaver :)

  20. Gail says

    This has become one of my go-to recipes. Great as a side dish, but I often use it as the base for a main dish and add a protein or other sautƩed veggies. You are making me look good!

  21. Leisa says

    Lovely recipe. Just had it this p.m. with grilled chicken (yes, I grill all year long!). I used 1/2 a largish yellow onion. My preference for recipes is to state the amount of the dice. I felt that a large onion would be too much. Half was just right…just a little bit more than 1/2 cup diced.

    Also, I added the garlic after the onion became transulescent to prevent scorching.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Rachel says

    This was fabulous!!! I added slices of nature’s promise (from Giant grocery store) chicken,feta,spinach sausage links. I added 2, to the recipe listed. This was a great addition!! It would also be great with grilled shrimp mixed in…or as the blog says, as a side dish. Because of its richness, I will probably serve this as a side dish from now on, but if your belly can handle super creamy main dishes, this one’s for you!!

  23. Steph says

    I made this last night with a seafood stuffed salmon and I ate two servings of the orzo and left half my salmon for lunch today. It was so good, next time I think I will have this as my main dish instead of a side.

  24. Mary G says

    This was delicious! It tasted so rich and creamy. If I hadn’t made it myself I would have thought it was made with heavy cream, not milk. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  25. Sarai :) says

    Hi. I just pinned this on Pinterest and it came up under low calorie recipes. I can’t find the nutritional info on this. Do you happen to have it? Making it tonight. Thanks.

    • Chungah says

      Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

  26. Paloma says

    I recently discovered your page and have become addicted. I’ve tried 2 recipes so far and am hooked! Everything is so delicious and your blogs are enticing and quirky. Thanks a lot for sharing your talent and hobby with the public!

  27. Amy says

    First of all- thank you for your great recipes! I’m always pleased with entrees I find on DamnDelicious, this one was no exception. That being said- possibly helpful comments for others…use a small onion. Even though we love onion, I used a large one and it took away from the yummy texture of the orzo. Also, next time I make this- and I will make it again- I will add a bit more liquid to make really creamy. I used 3 oz (half a bag of baby) spinach if that helps.
    Thanks again!

  28. Nicole Valentine says

    I made this twice already, once at home and the other to bring to a friend’s BBQ! Best tasting recipe ever!!

  29. says

    YUM! I just served this for dinner with ham. It was easy to make & just delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Happy 4th of July!

  30. Mary says

    Just made the recipe. It’s really creamy…maybe too creamy. I think if you’re not a huge cheese fan you might want to consider cutting the parmesean to 1/4 cup as opposed to 1/2 cup. Otherwise, great recipe!

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