Orzo, often mistaken for a grain, is actually a form of short-cut pasta, resembling large rice grains. Originating from Italy, it has become a favorite in various cuisines for its versatility and ease of preparation. Unlike larger pasta shapes, orzo cooks quickly, making it an excellent choice for busy weeknights and elegant meals alike.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: A 1-cup serving of cooked orzo (174 grams)

  • Calories: 200 kcal
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Fats: 1 g
  • Folate: 85 mcg (21% of the DV)
  • Selenium: 37.2 mcg (53% of the DV)

Where to Buy Orzo:

Orzo can be found in the pasta aisle of most supermarkets, specialty Italian stores, and online. It’s available in both white (refined) and whole wheat versions, catering to different dietary preferences.

Foods Made with Orzo:

  • Salads: Orzo is a staple in Mediterranean salads, mixed with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a zesty dressing.
  • Soups: Its small size makes it ideal for adding substance to broths and soups.
  • Pilafs: Cooked in stock with spices, orzo pilafs are a flavorful side dish.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Orzo can be used as a filling, combined with ground meat, cheese, and spices.

Flavor Profile:

Orzo has a subtle, slightly nutty flavor that makes it a perfect canvas for a variety of ingredients. It absorbs sauces and dressings well, enhancing the overall taste of the dishes it’s added to.

Health Benefits of Orzo:

As with other pastas, orzo’s health benefits depend on whether it’s made from refined or whole wheat flour. Whole wheat orzo offers more fiber and nutrients, such as protein and B vitamins, than its refined counterpart, making it a healthier choice for those looking to maintain a balanced diet.


Orzo’s quick cooking time, delicate texture, and ability to complement a wide range of flavors have secured its place in the hearts of chefs and home cooks around the world. Whether used in traditional Italian recipes, as a base for hearty salads, or as a comforting addition to soups, orzo is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking.