I love this Whole Wheat Orzo with Blistered Tomatoes and Mint recipe so much that I’ve made it three times in the last 2 weeks! It’s the perfect make-ahead recipe that you can prepare in advance and eat throughout the week for lunch or dinner.
We ate a good amount of orzo throughout our honeymoon in Greece last September, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized that I never make it at home. If you’ve never had orzo before, it’s a type of pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. Because of its small size and pasta-like texture, it is extremely versatile and you can use it as rice or pasta.
Traditional orzo recipes use white flour orzo, however for this recipe I used a whole wheat orzo to boost the protein and fiber of the dish. If you can find whole wheat orzo, use it. I promise you won’t be able to taste the difference.
The blistered tomatoes, pecorino romano and mint pack a lot of flavor into this recipe, and I would not recommend leaving any of them out. I listed the caramelized onions as optional because they do take 30-40 minutes of extra time, but if you happen to have some on hand or really want to take the recipe up a notch, include them. They really enhance the flavor of the whole dish.
This recipe is hearty and incredibly delicious on its own, but if you’d like to add some protein to it, I’d suggest a piece of pan-seared white fish, such as halibut, or grilled chicken breast with a squeeze of lemon.
- ½ lb. whole wheat orzo
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup grated pecorino romano
- ⅛ cup + 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium lemon, zested + juice reserved
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt + more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper + more to taste
- ½ cup caramelized onions (optional)*
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package instructions so it is al dente. Drain the water and put the orzo back in the pot. Add the pecorino romano to the orzo and stir lightly to combine. Cover the pot and set aside.
- While the orzo is cooking, bring a small skillet to medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to the pan. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and stir regularly for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are lightly brown and blistered. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the pot with the orzo.
- Return the small skillet to medium heat and add the ⅛ cup of olive oil, juice of lemon, zest of lemon and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring about every minute so that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the fresh herbs, ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper to the sauce. Add the lemon sauce to the pot of orzo. Add the caramelized onions (if using), and stir everything to combine. Serve warm.
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