How Do I Choose the Best Orzo?

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  • Written By: J. Gonzalez
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2015
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Orzo is small pasta that is shaped much like a flat grain of rice. When choosing an orzo pasta, you have many options, including whole wheat, sweet potato, rainbow, and lemon garlic among others. These varieties can be used in recipes from soup to pasta salad, so you'll want to consider the other flavors in your dish and how the orzo will complement them. Choosing the best variation involves being familiar with the different flavors of pasta and how they can be used in dishes.

For most dishes, regular orzo can be a good addition. It can be used to add bulk to soups and stews, or simply served as a side dish. Although plain orzo is a good option for many meals, flavored varieties can add an extra bit of flavor or color.

Whole-wheat orzo is a healthy choice and can make a good side dish when paired with meat and grilled vegetables, or eaten as the main course with lean protein such as chicken or fish mixed into the pasta. Dressing the dish with simple herbs and spices, or a drizzle of olive oil will keep the dish light and healthy. Whole-wheat orzo usually has more fiber than regular orzo, so can be a good choice for health-conscious diners.


Typically, when most people think of pasta, sweet potato may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Pasta, including orzo, made from vegetables has become popular among consumers and has helped to make pasta a healthier option. Sweet potato orzo can be prepared with sweeter flavors, such as cinnamon or brown sugar, and can be paired with a pork dish, such as pan seared pork chops or pork tenderloin.

Rainbow orzo, made from a mixture of vegetables such as spinach and red peppers, can be a fun choice for people with children and is a good way to add more vegetables into a regular diet. Colorful pasta can add flavor and visual appeal when accompanying chicken or fish. This pasta variation is also a good choice when making a chilled pasta salad. Adding a drizzling of light basil pesto sauce over the rainbow orzo is another option for a tasty pasta entree.

Lemon and garlic flavors often go together well, and they are a popular combination for orzo pasta. These flavorings usually pair very well with a fresh seafood dish; any variation of lobster, shrimp, fish, or scallops can be served alongside this type of orzo. The flavoring found in this pasta is also a good choice to add to a simple vegetable noodle or broth soup.


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Post 2

There is no uniform size for orzo. Some are significantly smaller and cook faster. I prefer the larger size and would appreciate any tips on which brands would be best for me.

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