Lemon Orzo (Easy Side Dish)

Orzo is one of those fun kinds of pasta that can be served either hot or cold and can be made so many different ways, so get creative! 

Lemon orzo has a bright citrus flavor and comes out creamy and delicious!

Lemon Orzo with sliced lemon, garnished with mint leaves served in a bowl with a spoon

For a last-minute side dish or salad for a crowd, this lemon orzo salad will have everyone going for seconds! Using only a few simple ingredients, you can make this delicious lemon orzo in under 30 minutes.

What is Orzo

Pasta comes in dozens, if not hundreds of different shapes! Orzo (also called risoni) is commonly used in Greek food, but can be used in place of rice in any dish! Although in appearance orzo can look like rice, it is actually pasta.

It’s great added to soups or served chilled as an orzo salad.

A lemon with a few peels peeled off

How to Cook Lemon Orzo

Orzo is as easy to make as any rice or pasta. A tangy flavor takes just a few ingredients and a sprinkling of fresh chopped mint adds freshness!

  1. Simmer orzo, broth, oregano, and lemon zest to until the orzo is tender.
  2. Remove from heat, add butter, and let the orzo rest (per recipe below).
  3. Fluff with a fork and add lemon juice, mint, or parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: For a little pop of color and flavor, try garnishing with finely sliced green onions and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

Orzo in a pot with some mint garnish on top, with lemon juice being squeezed into the pot.

What to Serve with Lemon Orzo

Lemon orzo salad is a great side dish, and also works as an entrée dish or protein salad.

Other Tasty Pairings

Got Leftovers?

REFRIGERATE: Be sure to refrigerate any cooked orzo within two hours of cooking in an airtight container or a plastic zippered bag, which can last about 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

FREEZE: You can also freeze orzo in a zippered bag, just make sure to date it.

REHEAT: Simply reheat on the stovetop when you want to serve (you may need to add some water if needed). Add a little lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Easy Side Dishes

Did you enjoy this Lemon Orzo? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Lemon Orzo with garnish and lemon in a bowl

Lemon Orzo

This lemon orzo salad recipe has a bright citrus flavor, thanks to the secret of adding lemon rind to the broth!
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 168
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon for juice and zesting
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint finely chopped or 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel off two large strips of lemon zest.
  • Bring orzo, broth, oregano and lemon zest to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13-15 minutes uncovered until the orzo is tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter. Rest 5 minutes.
  • Juice half of the lemon over the orzo, add mint or parsley and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes

Optional additions
Stir in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese
Stir in 2 green onions finely sliced

Nutrition

Calories: 168 | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 238mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Lemon Orzo with lemon being squeezed and writing
Lemon Orzo in a dish with title
Lemon Orzo closeup with garnish and writing
Lemon Orzo with lemon squeeze and writing

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