Summer Garden Orzo

This simple orzo side dish makes great use of two summer garden favorites – tomatoes and zucchini. Lightly toasting the orzo in olive oil, then simmering it in chicken broth brings out a nutty quality in the pasta. The dish is just as delicious when made ahead and served at room temperature, making it a nice choice for entertaining.

Summer Garden Orzo

Summer Garden Orzo

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Orzo is flavored with onion and garlic, simmered in chicken broth until tender and combined with fresh zucchini and tomatoes for an easy side dish.


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the zucchini and season liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan along with the dried orzo. Cook until the orzo is lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Should the liquid cook off before the orzo is tender, add some water in 2 tablespoon increments.
  3. Return the zucchini mixture to the pan and combine well and heat through, 1 minute. Mix in the tomato and parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish. May be served warm or at room temperature.