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6 servings


0 hours 5 mins


0 hours 5 mins


0 hours 15 mins

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2 Tsps. Olive Oil

2 Garlic cloves, minced

2 Cups Vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 Cup Fat Free Half and half

1 Cup Whole wheat orzo

5 Oz.  Baby Spinach, about 4 cups

1/2 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Orange, zest and juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pot add olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute.

2. Add the orzo and stir to coat the grains of pasta.  Toast for about 3 minutes until light golden brown.  Add the stock a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.  Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer over medium high heat.   Cook per package instructions (about 8-10 minutes).

3.  Add the half and half and stir into the pasta.  The mix should be creamy and still have some liquid.  Once warm (about a minute) add the spinach and stir into the orzo.  With the pot off the heat, and the parmesan, orange juice and most of the zest. (Save some to garnish at the end.) Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve in a large bowl and add the rest of the orange zest on top and grate more parmesan on top if desired.  Serve alongside your favorite roast chicken or pork dish.

NOTE: This is one of my favorite new dishes. Easy to make and light and delicious with poultry or pork. The surprise ingredient was the orange!  I realized I only had a half of a lemon in the house (poor planning!) but I had fresh oranges I just received from a client.  (She has her own orange orchard.)  I used the orange zest and juice and I’m telling you, it went from really good to OMG that is fabulous!  What a difference a little juice and zest make.  I use whole wheat orzo for a nutritional boost but feel free to use regular pasta. The same goes for your choice of stock:  chicken or vegetable works just fine.  In a pinch, you could use water.  You are just giving up a layer of flavor.

I used fat free half and half to cut the calories and fat, but as you know by now, heavy cream or regular half and half would be just fine.  This is just a delicious creamy side dish that is going to be in regular rotation at my house!  Try it with my Roast Chicken…this would make the perfect side dish.