Simple Orzo Pilaf

I hinted in my post last Friday about my goal this summer. I’m going to attempt what seems an impossible feat and avoid turning on my oven during the sweltering, humid months of June, July and August. My house heats up abnormally in the afternoon since we get the brunt of the setting sun and I don’t want to add to the sauna that forms in my kitchen (along with my oven, I’m also avoiding the A/C to keep down the cost of our utilities – heaven help me – I love my cool air). It’s either keep the oven off or prance around in my kitchen in a bikini while preparing dinner. And trust me, no one wants to witness the latter option (including my love-handled self).

What this means is I’ll be doing a lot of grilling, some stovetop cooking, and simplifying a whole heck of a lot. I may have to cheat in the cooler mornings and still bake my family’s bread, but other than that, and the occasional cookie craving, my oven will be off!

This orzo pilaf is a simple stovetop side dish that is perfect for a wide variety of meals and doesn’t heat up the house like a baked pilaf. I served it with the grilled Island Chicken, and it would be perfect with just about any grilled or baked meat. We love orzo around these parts and the delicious combination of the pasta and parmesan cheese was a huge hit with the whole family.

One Year Ago: Raspberry Lime Rickey
Two Years Ago: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple Orzo Pilaf

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish

Simple Orzo Pilaf

Note: this recipe can be dressed up in a variety of ways with fresh herbs (rosemary, basil) and bright green veggies like peas or asparagus. Let your imagination go wild! Also, please note that this dish is best served immediately as it tends to dry out a bit the longer it sits.


  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I love Swanson’s Natural Goodness 33% Less Sodium Broth)
  • 1 pound orzo pasta (usually comes in little bags or boxes by the pasta)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the orzo and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the orzo and broth uncovered, stirring now and then to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot, about 8-10 minutes, until the orzo is tender. The orzo mixture should be thick and syrupy when it is finished cooking – not dry. If it seems as though the orzo isn’t finished cooking but looks dry, add 1/4 cup chicken broth and continue to cook.
  2. When the orzo is tender, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the green onions and cheese. Add the pepper and additional salt to taste, if needed. Garnish with additional green onions and serve immediately! The dish has a tendency to become a bit dry the longer it sits so make haste and serve as quickly as can be!

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

27 Responses to Simple Orzo Pilaf

  1. […] adapted from: Orzo With Parmesan   Print Prep time 5 mins Cook time 10 mins Total time 15 […]

  2. […] Simple Orzo PilafMay 10, 2010 … I hinted in my post last Friday about my goal this summer. I’m going to attempt what seems an impossible feat and avoid turning on my oven … […]

  3. […] used green onions in Simple Orzo Pilaf (big hit!  We had never done orzo before.  Easier to scrape off the floor than rice!) last […]

  4. Deb says:

    Had this tonight with your Grilled Island Chicken recipe and it was amazing. Could not have been easier and quicker to prepare and had a ton of flavor. Thanks!

  5. Christina says:

    I have made this several times now. Love it, thank you!

  6. Camille says:

    I made this tonight with the Broiled Parmesan Tilapia (from sisters cafe) and it was an AMAZING combination and a 15 minute dinner! It’s our new favorite! Thank you for this recipe!!!

    • Mel says:

      Camille – glad you liked this but what on earth are you doing cooking so soon after having a baby? People should still be bringing YOU food, silly girl.

  7. Cammee says:

    I can’t wait for your oven free recipes. We usually end up eating a lot of take out during the summer because it’s to darn hot to cook! Perhaps you will inspire me to cook more during the heat. This orzo sounds delicious, we’ll start with it!

  8. Patricia says:

    Hope you had a happy Mother’s Day! We had your husband’s marinated grilled steak and the Island chicken for our Mother’s Day dinner. It was so yummy – we had the leftovers tonight. I just have a question – do you have any suggestions on cookbooks? If you could pick the two you refer to most often. I also wanted to let you know – after hearing you sing the praises of Cook’s Country – I subscribed to the magazine and read my first issue last night. It was so much fun!

    • Mel says:

      Patricia – I’m glad that you liked the steak and the chicken! To be honest (and I know this will sound crazy) – I don’t own very many cookbooks. The ones that I do own and love are from America’s Test Kitchen (the same company as Cook’s Country): The Best Skillet Recipes, The Best 30-Minute Recipes and the Joy of Cooking (this one is not from America’s Test Kitchen). You know I swear by Cook’s Country. Those are my main staples (and online searching: is wonderful)!

  9. Alicia says:

    A few years ago my super-old oven died in May. Rather than replace it right away, since it was already blasting hot here in AZ, I decided I’d wait until the fall. Not only did I save a ton on electricity (our rates here go through the roof in the summer) but I learned a lot of recipes and tricks to living without an oven. I used my crockpot outside on the patio (no desire to heat up the house), grilled lots of chicken/fish/pizza/veggies, and learned that there are many oven recipes that can be cooked just fine on the grill in a glass casserole dish. Who would have thought you could grill a 9 x 13 of enchiladas? Delish! I found it was helpful to lay down a sheet of tinfoil under my glass dishes to lessen the black flame marks that charred the outside of the glass. (They wipe off just fine.) Good luck– it’s totally do-able! I look forward to all the recipes. 🙂

  10. grace says:

    that’s one heck of a noble goal, melanie. wowza. the more i think about it, though, the more i love it–long live the grill!
    this is a great, easy-peasy side. the green onions are a real nice touch. 🙂

  11. I second the notion of turning off the oven in the summer! It’s way too hot!

  12. cindy harris says:

    I love orzo, it is fun to cook with. Good luck on your ‘no baking’ journey. My kitchen faces west so we get the afternoon heat too.

  13. This dish looks fantastic, and roasted asparagus would be absolutely amazing with it! I read your recipe for it (the asparagus) and I make it the same way, but with some garlic and onion powder as well. It is soooo delicious, I just eat it as a snack!

  14. Veronica M. says:

    I’ve never made orzo or a pilaf but this sounds great. As far as not turning on your oven–you could always turn to your crockpot for desserts. Even bread can be made in the crockpot, although it doesn’t turn out a convenient size for sandwiches. Here’s a link for how to make crockpot bread: And don’t forget no bake cookies when you get a hankering for cookies! I’m going to email you the recipe my hubby uses (he’s the King of no-bake cookies) which has a lot more chocolate than most recipes.

  15. Jaesi says:

    I love you for this because I have a box of orzo I didnt know what to do with. And this is right up my alley….

  16. Ashley Wood says:


    I LOVE this website of yours! Seriously it has saved my life… and I mean it! I just copied your menu plan template that you have on here and it has helped a ton! I like to be organized and so this just helped a lot. Not only will we have home cooked meals every night, but it saved us money at the grocery store! Also I love all of your recipes… we have them a lot and love every one of them.. tonight we are doing the baked chicken taquitos!! So anyways… thanks for taking the time to do this blog… I love it!

  17. Danielle says:

    The back of my house including the kitchen faces west, and we struggle to keep cool in the summer. I rarely turn on the oven, so I’m looking forward to your recipes.

    I have always thought of the crock pot for winter food, but the last couple of summers I have come to love it for summer fare as well, without the heat the oven produces.

    I can’t wait to see what you post!

  18. Gaye says:

    This sounds great, I’ll have to give it a try! My condo is second floor, west-facing, with vaulted ceilings and turns into an oven during the afternoon in the summer, so I vowed last summer not to turn on the oven unless absolutely necessary. I bought a toaster oven, and it was the best purchase EVER. I literally did not use my oven from June until September, but I was still able to heat up chicken nuggets and bake cookies and small things like that without heating up the whole place. Just a thought!

  19. Erin B says:

    This does sound yummy. We just put in a gas range/oven in the late winter. I have found that even with living dang near the arctic circle my kitchen gets VERY warm. I am hoping to avoid turning on the oven as well.

  20. Sara says:

    Sounds great…I love orzo!

  21. Liz says:

    Thank you. I just bought some orzo because I wanted to try it. I’ll have to try your recipe out!

  22. Kim in MD says:

    Oh…this would have gone so well with the Grilled Island Chicken (your recipe) that I made on Saturday! Yum! 🙂

  23. We love orzo. I just recently found some whole wheat orzo at my grocery store – I was thrilled!

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