Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta

This was definitely one of those surprise meals. As in, I made it not expecting much (and actually not planning on posting about it) and it totally blew us away. I’m not going to lie, casseroles generally let me down. I have a few casseroles that I love, love, but overall, casseroles rarely leave me raving (and if you follow that link, you’ll see I probably have a bit of a flexible view of what a casserole can be). I think it might have something to do with all those different ingredients hanging out together and acting like they should be married. It kind of freaks me out sometimes.

Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta

Clearly I was able to get over my issues for this meal. Shrimp, toasted orzo, peas, tomatoes and a bit of feta (with some other simple seasonings) are officially allowed to be friends because this baked casserole is super delicious. Granted, my family and I adore shrimp, so that was already a winning ingredient but keep in mind that because shrimp isn’t the cheapest ingredient on the planet, I’m pretty choosy with how I use it. If it means anything, this recipe definitely makes the worth-buying-shrimp cut and it’s already on the menu again because it’s that good (and pretty darn easy to put together).

Plus, that golden, bubbly feta cheese on top? Heaven help me. I was stealing those yummy bits from my kids’ plate with no guilt in sight.

What To ServeThis meal has a lot of components already wrapped up inside so I keep it simple with…
Fresh fruit or green salad
Steamed broccoli or other vegetable (even with peas in the casserole, you can never offer too many veggies to kids, in my opinion)
Simple Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

One Year AgoSugar Cookie Bars
Two Years Ago: Spring Penne Pasta with Light Butter Sauce
Three Years Ago: Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta Cheese

Yield: Serves 6

Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta Cheese

Because I live nowhere near fresh seafood, I always buy frozen shrimp in the bags (FYI: most shrimp you see in the meat case at the grocery store has already been frozen and thawed and in my experience, the still frozen shrimp in the bags tastes much fresher). I usually pop the frozen bag of shrimp into the fridge the night before I want to use it, then drain off the water and use the thawed shrimp as needed. I almost always buy my frozen shrimp from Sam's Club when I'm in the big city.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds large shrimp (31 to 40 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium yellow, white or red onion)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pat the shrimp dry with a few paper towels and lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and also set aside.
  2. In a 4- or 5-quart pot, combine the onion, oil, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt over medium-low heat. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have started to turn translucent, 7-8 minutes. Check often so the mixture doesn't burn. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the orzo, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the orzo is coated with the mixture and is lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the broth and water and cook, stirring every once in a while, until the orzo is slightly tender but still has some firmness (it will continue to cook in the oven), about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, peas and shrimp.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the top. Bake the casserole until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese is lightly browned, 18-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/baked-shrimp-and-orzo-with-feta-cheese/
Recipe Source: adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2007 (upped the shrimp a bit, omitted some ingredients like peppers, green onions and saffron, used coconut oil instead of olive oil, altered recipe to use dried oregano instead of fresh)

31 Responses to Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta Cheese

  1. Yum! I’ve been craving shrimp for weeks and this looks like it would hit the spot!

  2. danielle says:

    I make something similar to this and it i a definite hit -so good!

  3. Sheila H. says:

    Yum. Makes me remember a dish that I made frequently years ago. Same components but use 1 tablespoon of basil instead of oregano. I also add extra feta after cooking so that it doesn’t all melt into the casserole. Love this dish and will have to put it back in rotation.

  4. Alisia says:

    This looks amazing! I will definitely be pinning this for later use.

  5. Susan says:

    Hello Mel! Thank you for the recipe and the information on buying shrimp!! Looking forward to making this for my family!!! Happy Easter!!

  6. Kelsey L. says:

    This looks amazing! Do you think this dish could be prepared ahead of time and baked the next day?

    • Mel says:

      Kelsey – I think so but there’d probably need to be a few changes, like cooking the orzo 1-2 minutes less and letting that mixture cool before adding the shrimp and refrigerating (that way the shrimp don’t get cooked in the hot mixture). Or better yet, adding the shrimp the next day before popping in the oven.

  7. Holly says:

    Any tips on how to adjust this recipe to use rice instead of Orzo? We are gluten free. =)

  8. Stacey R says:

    I’m curious as to whether or not you use fresh or frozen shrimp. Would this recipe have the same result if the shrimp were frozen, then thawed?

  9. Michelle says:

    My goodness! This looks amazing. I actually have all of the ingredients on hand too. It’s going on the meal list for this week. Thanks for sharing, Mel!

  10. Melina P. says:

    Everything about this is delicious! Must.make.now! Thanks:)

  11. Anne says:

    This may be a silly question, but you’re using uncooked frozen shrimp, not ready to eat shrimp, right??

  12. Sheri says:

    Do you drain the orzo first before putting in the tomatoes, peas and shrimp or does the liquid cook off?

  13. I made this for dinner yesterday, and my family enjoyed it. Thanks Mel. I made it a little ahead of time (around 4pm), because it’s easier for me if I prep dinner during my 3 month old’s nap time. I put the shrimp in the hot mixture (and they did cook a bit), but I still put it all in the oven about an hour later (5:15pm) waiting til then to add the feta topping, and it came out great. I might add some extra veggies to the dish next time (broccoli or snap peas) and definitely add some fresh lemon juice to give it a little zing. The golden brown feta crumbles on top are a surprisingly nice touch (not sure I’ve ever cooked feta), my husband even mentioned he specifically liked that part (he had three bowls).

  14. Pauline says:

    Shrimp? Orzo? Feta? COUNT ME IN!!! Don’t you just love Cook’s Illustrated? I’ve never been disappointed.

  15. Terri says:

    This sounds great and would like to try it … just one thing, I haven’t acquired a taste for Feta cheese. Any suggestions for another cheese?

    • Mel says:

      Terri – Queso fresco is a very mild crumbly cheese like feta but the taste is more like a creamy mozzarella. It’s usually available in most grocery stores and would make a good sub, I think.

  16. Cyndi B says:

    This was amazing! Restaurant-quality actually. The only thing that I did differently is after the orzo was toasted, I added 1/2 cup wine to deglaze the pan and let it cook down before adding the broth and water. Thank you for a surprisingly good dinner.

  17. Jen says:

    This is so good! I made it for dinner tonight. It made a lot for our family so I’m wondering how freezable this would be? I’m also trying to make some freezer meals since I’m due with my 4th in a few weeks! Thanks again for a delicious meal!

    • Mel says:

      Jen – My theory is it never hurts to try and freeze something especially if it will go to waste if not frozen. The texture may change just a tad and the shrimp may not be quite as tender, but I’d try freezing – then defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating gently in a warm oven.

  18. Anne says:

    Hi Mel,
    1st- You are simply amazing.
    Do you think scallops could be substituted for the shrimps?

  19. Michelle says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was a BIG HIT with my teenage boys. Due to the fact they run from chunks of tomatoes, I omitted them and added cremini mushrooms. This one is a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Lori says:

    My husband has an issue of eating shrimp; because they are debris eaters and I guess he feels they shouldn’t be eaten. However, I love orzo, feta cheese, and shrimp. Do you think I could sauté some chicken and add it in with the shrimp (my husband would have to pick out the shrimp). Where would you add it?

    Ps. I am new to the site. I love your style in that things are yummy but are not really complicated or overly time consuming. I grew up in Rochester MN and still love MN, and would go back in a heartbeat, even with the winters!

    • Mel says:

      Lori – Sure, I think that could work just fine – the only thing I’d keep an eye on is making sure the chicken doesn’t get overcooked in the oven – maybe just brown it in the skillet and let it finish cooking with the casserole. I am glad you are enjoying the recipes!

  21. Jodie says:

    I made this for dinner Friday night and my family loved it!!! We added it to our “keep” recipes. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  22. SG says:

    I’m sad because we all thought this tasted like soggy seafood. I followed the directions completely and now feel like I wasted a lot of food and most importantly, a lot of expensive shrimp. Maybe it will be better tomorrow? :(

  23. LilySong says:

    Thanks for this recipe Mel! My husband said: “This is good! Make it again!” -a very rare compliment. :) And my 20 month old even ate some -although he picked out the tomatoes and shrimp. lol

  24. Ana says:

    Could you tell me how much and what kind of peppers were in the original recipe? I love peppers and would like to add them back in. I’m also curious how much saffron was in this recipe originally. Sounds kind of paella-ish (but a whole lot easier and quicker to make)! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying it. Sounds delicious.

  25. Natalie says:

    I made this last week (omitting the peas) and it was SO good. Ah, looking at the picture makes me crave it all over again. My little sons are all shrimp fans, so they all ate it ALL, which is huge for some of them. Thank you!

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