This Rice Pilaf with Orzo recipe is your new favorite side dish. It is super simple to make, but it is easy to customize with my four pilaf variations for any meal or season.
It costs about $2.46 to make this recipe. The recipe makes six servings and costs just $0.41 per serving.
Rice Pilaf with Orzo is a wonderful, classic dish that anyone can make at home and one that everyone should have in their recipe collection! Not only can my 9-year-old cook this recipe herself, but this is also one of the most-requested side dishes at my house.
This recipe pairs well with any protein. It is 100 times better than any boxed version.
I love how easy and versatile this dish is. This recipe is made in one pot and is simple to make. Make it plain or follow my directions below to make four different flavor variations.
INGREDIENTS AND ESTIMATED COST
Per Serving Cost: $0.41
Recipe Cost: $2.46
RECIPE COST: $2.46
PRICE PER SERVING: $0.41
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil – $0.42
- 1 small yellow onion – $0.62
- ½ teaspoon salt – $0.01
- 1 cup long-grain white rice – $0.39
- ½ cup orzo – $0.16
- 2 large garlic cloves – $0.10
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth – $0.70
- 1 Tablespoon parsley – $0.06
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.
HOW TO MAKE RICE PILAF WITH ORZO
- Using a large pan with a lid, preheat the pan and add the olive oil, onion, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook the onion for two to three minutes.
- Next, add in the rice and orzo. Stir constantly while it is cooking.
- Add in the garlic and cook for another sixty seconds.
- Pour in the broth, bring it to a boil, and stir. After it gets to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with the lid.
- Cook for about 20-22 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and let the pilaf sit, covered, for eight minutes.
- To finish, fluff the pilaf with a fork and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
***For Complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
FOUR RICE PILAF FLAVOR VARIATIONS:
These variations use the base recipe below, but with just a few minor tweaks and additions.
- Mushroom and Thyme: When you cook the onion, add in ¾ cup (about 3 ounces) of crimini mushrooms that have been chopped fine. Additionally, when you add in the parsley also add in 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme.
- Lemon and Almond: When you stir in the broth, also add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. At the end of the recipe when you stir in the herbs, also stir in ⅓ cup of toasted slivered almonds.
- Curry, Golden Raisins, and Cilantro: When you stir in the broth, also add 1 Tablespoon of curry powder and ½ cup of golden raisins. At the end of the recipe, instead of adding in parsley, add in 2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro instead.
- Jalapeno and Cilantro: In the recipe below, when you add in the garlic, also add in 1 large jalapeno pepper that has been seeded and minced. After the pilaf has been fluffed, add in in 2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro instead of chopped parsley.
- You can add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric when you add in the chicken broth to get the yellow color that some rice pilaf dishes have.
- If you don’t have orzo on hand, you can use an extra ½ cup of rice (so a total of 1 ½ cups of rice), or you can use ½ cup of quinoa.
- Additionally, Instead of rice, you can use quinoa.
STORAGE AND REHEATING TIPS
SERVE: You can keep the rice out for about two hours before it needs to be covered and refrigerated.
STORE: Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
FREEZE: Once the rice has cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 months.
DEFROST: Defrost the rice in the refrigerator overnight.
REHEAT: Place the rice in a microwave-safe container and heat on high for 1 ½-2 ½ minutes or until heated through, stirring as needed.
Pilaf is a rice dish cooked in chicken stock or broth and usually has something in it.
It’s a flexible recipe. You can add different ingredients to it each time. However, the main ingredients for a classic pilaf recipe are olive oil, onion, rice, orzo, garlic, chicken broth, parsley, and salt and pepper.
The main difference between the two is the flavor. Plain rice is cooked in water, while rice pilaf is toasted in olive oil and onion and then cooked in broth and other seasonings, giving it a more nutty taste.
It’s called this for the same reason many English words are what they are! We have the English word because we borrow them from another language. Pilaf comes from the Turkish word pilau, which means rice cooked in broth.
I love to serve this with my Baked Salmon with Lemon Vinaigrette. The flaky fish served with rice pilaf with orzo is simply amazing. These roasted Greek chicken drumsticks would be another great option to serve alongside this dish. The drumsticks are full of oregano, lemon, and garlic.
- large pan with lid
- wooden spoon
- measuring cups and spoons
- cutting board
- chef’s knife
MORE SIDE DISHES
- Easy Mexican Rice
- Creamy Homemade Coleslaw
- Coconut Rice
- Simple Fried Rice
- Pad Thai Fried Rice
- Cranberry-Pecan Curry Rice
Rice Pilaf with Orzo
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- ½ cup orzo
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pan with a lid, preheat the pan over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil, onion, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Saute the onion until it just begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the rice and orzo and cook while constantly stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
COOK RICE AND ORZO:
- Pour in the broth, give everything a good stir, and bring everything to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with the lid.
- Cook until the rice and orzo is tender, about 20-22 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and let the pilaf sit, covered, for 8 minutes. Fluff the pilaf with a fork, and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
SEASON AND SERVE:
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.