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Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers

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Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers is an easy 20-minute side dish. Orzo pasta, bell peppers, and toasted pine nuts combine for this dish that’s perfect hot, warm or even cold

THIS POST AND RECIPE CARD WERE UPDATED JUNE 18, 2019
overhead shot of finished dish in a white bowl with fork and napkin on right side, and glass of wine in top left corner

I have WAY too many boxes of pasta in my pantry…because whenever I’m at a specialty store and find fun new pasta shapes, I have to buy a box. And because of that, some boxes end up way in the back, out of sight and out of mind.

That’s definitely the case with orzo, so I really don’t eat it very often. When you first look at orzo, you might think it’s a type of rice. However, it is just a rice-shaped pasta.

My only other orzo recipe on the blog is Peppery Parmesan Grilled Chicken Orzo. I’m always on the lookout for easy and delicious side dishes, and I found the perfect one with Orzo with Onions, Garlic & Peppers

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • A simple side dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes
  • It is delicious hot, room temperature or even cold
  • You can eat it as a side dish or a light meal
overhead shot of finished dish in a white bowl, offset to one side

I’m a huge fan of Orzo with Onions, Garlic, and Peppers. It’s such a simple dish, yet loaded with flavor. It pairs well with all kinds of proteins and is great as leftovers.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR ORZO WITH ONIONS, GARLIC AND PEPPERS

I use regular Orzo, but you could certainly use whole wheat or even a combination of both.

Toast the Pine Nuts in a dry skillet first, to release the natural oils. Make sure to keep an eye on them…they take a few minutes to toast, and then go from golden to burnt in no time.

Use real butter. It has more flavor and melts more evenly than margarine or imitation butter. And a little bit goes a long way

Use a wine that you like to drink! If not, you’ll end up with a dish that you don’t like. The alcohol cooks out, leaving just gorgeous flavor.

I saute the onion and garlic in the butter for a wonderful base flavor. And then I add salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with the bell peppers. That extra kick of onion and garlic flavor makes a big difference

The more colors of bell peppers, the better. I always have red, yellow and green bell peppers in the fridge. If you have orange, throw those in there as well!

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Cook the orzo according to the box directions

In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts. Watch carefully, as they will be done in about 2 minutes. Remove pine nuts and set aside

overhead process shot of pine nuts in skillet

Melt butter in the same skillet. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until golden. Next, add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 3 minutes

Turn heat to medium, and add bell peppers to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Saute for another 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally.

overhead process shot of peppers, onion and garlic in skillet

Drain pasta, add to the skillet, and toss with bell pepper mixture. 

overhead process shot of orzo added to skillet

Add pine nuts and stir to combine.

overhead process shot of pine nuts added to rest of dish

Garnish with parsley, and serve

overhead shot of finished dish, with fork full of food in foreground
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I have to use wine? I highly recommend it, because it adds so much wonderful flavor. If you absolutely don’t want to use wine, then you could substitute vegetable broth.

Can I use other vegetables? Absolutely! Mix in your favorite vegetables to make it a heartier dish.

What’s the best type of wine to use? I use Sauvignon blanc, and I recommend a dry white wine. If you prefer a chardonnay or another sweeter option, feel free to do so.

How long will Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers last? In an airtight container in the fridge, it will last at least one week.

How far ahead can I make this dish? You could definitely make this 1-2 days ahead, and then just fluff it lightly with a fork before serving.

What is the best way to serve Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers? You have lots of options! It’s delicious hot, room temperature or even as a cold salad. You can also enjoy it as a side dish or on its own as a light vegetarian meal.

overhead shot of finished dish with napkin and fork on right side, glass of wine in top left corner
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overhead shot of finished dish with napkin and fork on right side, glass of wine in top left corner

Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Orzo with Onions, Garlic and Peppers is an easy 20-minute side dish. Orzo pasta, bell peppers, and toasted pine nuts combine for this dish that’s perfect hot, warm or even cold

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces orzo pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon raw pine nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup each red, yellow, and green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook orzo according to recipe directions, in a pot of boiling, salted water
  2. Add pine nuts to a large, cold skillet. Turn heat to medium-low, and toast pine nuts until they are golden brown; will take 2-3 minutes maximum. Watch carefully, as pine nuts burn easily. Remove and set aside
  3. Add butter and oil to same skillet, and turn heat to medium
  4. When butter melts, add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
  5. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute
  6. Add wine, turn heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 minutes. The alcohol will cook out, leaving only flavor
  7. Once liquid is almost gone, add bell peppers, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Saute peppers for 5 minutes, until tender-crisp
  8. Drain orzo and add to skillet. Add pine nuts, and toss mixture fully to combine. Garnish with parsley
  9. Transfer to serving bowl

Notes

Keep an eye on the pine nuts while they toast...they take a few minutes to get golden, but then go from golden to burnt really fast. And pine nuts are expensive.

I use regular orzo, but you could certainly substitute whole wheat orzo. Or use a combination.

Use a wine that you like to drink! If not, you’ll end up with a dish that you don’t like.

Use real butter. It has more flavor and melts more evenly than margarine or imitation butter. And a little bit goes a long way

I make this dish right before eating. But it's also delicious at room temperature, making it perfect for entertaining. Or cold, right out of the fridge.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s the best type of wine to use? I use Sauvignon blanc, and I recommend a dry white wine

Do I have to use wine? I highly recommend it, because it adds so much wonderful flavor. If you absolutely don’t want to use wine, then you could substitute vegetable broth.

Can I use other vegetables? Absolutely! Mix in your favorite vegetables to make it a heartier dish

How far ahead can you make this dish? You could definitely make this 1-2 days ahead, and then just fluff it lightly with a fork before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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Linda

Sunday 18th of February 2018

This cooks up really fast and the pine nuts give it depth. I used 1/4 cup shallots instead and sautéed all the vegetables together in one step using avocado oil. Fresh basil added at the last gave it some flavor. Nice side dish with fish or as a stand alone.

Karyl

Monday 19th of February 2018

Thanks Linda! Basil is a wonderful idea! I love using fresh herbs whenever I can

Emily

Sunday 31st of December 2017

Yum! Since I can't eat pasta, I could easily sub in some rice and this would be a delicious side dish!

Karyl

Thursday 4th of January 2018

Yes, rice would work really well Emily!

Maryal

Friday 29th of December 2017

This looks and sounds AMAZING! And I love how colorful it is, too. Saving this one!

Karyl

Friday 29th of December 2017

Thanks Maryal! It's so delicious, and simple to make

Mariah

Thursday 28th of December 2017

This looks so yummy! I always forget how much I like orzo pasta—I need to make it more often!

Mariah www.likehoneyblog.com

Karyl

Friday 29th of December 2017

I always forget too Mariah! It's kind of like a forgotten pasta in my house

Cristina - Memories of the Pacific

Thursday 28th of December 2017

Looks delicious! I've never tried orzo, but I love pasta so I'd love to give it a try! I'll look for it in the supermarket.

Karyl

Friday 29th of December 2017

Thanks Cristina! You can find it with all the other pasta in the grocery store.

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