Zucchini Orzo Recipe Side Dishes

When you’re looking for a colorfully different side dish, you’ll love this orzo recipe with fresh veggies!

Zucchini orzo combines orzo (a delicious rice-Like pasta) with zucchini, tomatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan. Tihs side is so good, you’ll go back to it again and again.

A bowl of zucchini orzo with a serving spoon

What is Orzo?

Orzo is often mistaken for rice, but it is really a tiny type of pasta that’s shaped a little larger than rice. It can be served hot or cold (as an orzo pasta salad).

It holds up well in soups or salads and makes for a great side!

We Enjoy it because of its mild flavor and firm texture and the fact that it can be paired with almost anything.

overview of zucchini orzo ingredients

How to Cook Orzo with Zucchini

Super easy but elegant, this orzo recipe will be ready in no time.

  1. Cook onion in butter and garlic with zucchini (per recipe below).
  2. Meanwhile, cook orzo in broth until tender. Stir in tomatoes and pesto. Cover and let it rest.

zucchini being sauteed with orzo, tomatoes, and pesto in a pot.

  1. Stir in the diced zucchini and half the Parmesan cheese. Season again with salt and pepper to desired taste.

Garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (optional).

Serve With…

This hearty side dish goes well with almost any protein entrees Enjoy juicy pork chops.

Add in some baked chicken breasts or pair it with an Air Fryer chicken to make it into a meal.

Orzo Favorites

  • Lemon Orzo – quick & easy
  • Creamy Stovetop Mushroom Orzo – easy & elegant
  • Lemon Chicken Soup – perfect for a cold day
  • Mediterranean Orzo Salad – so colorful
  • Meatball Soup – hearty & satisfying

Did you love this Zucchini Orzo? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Zucchini Orzo being served.

In this space, I am always sharing flavorful, fresh, (mostly) healthy recipes that I love to make and eat in my real, actual, every day life. If I wouldn’t eat it in real life, I won’t put in on the blog. You’re cooking for yourself, your family, your roommates, or your friends. I want you to be so excited about these recipes that you eagerly await 5pm when you can go home from work and start cooking.

5 from 2 votes

Review Recipe

Zucchini Orzo

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Holly Nilsson
This Zucchini Orzo is creamy, cheesy, and colorful. This pasta side dish is the perfect pairing for any entrèe!
Print Recipe


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth or as needed
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 small zucchini diced, about 1 ½ cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish optional


  • Bring orzo, broth, and Italian seasoning to a boil. Decrease heat to a simmer and cook 13-15 minutes uncovered until the orzo is tender, adding more broth if needed.
  • While orzo is cooking, dice zucchini into ¼ inch pieces.
  • Fry onion in butter, add garlic until fragrant, add zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Once orzo is cooked, stir in tomatoes and pesto. Cover and rest 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 269, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 767mg, Potassium: 374mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 616IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 118mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Zucchini Orzo Recipe Side Dishes

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