When you’re looking for a colorfully different side dish, you’ll love this orzo recipe with fresh veggies!

Zucchini orzo combines orzo (a delicious rice-like pasta) with zucchini, tomatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan. Tihs side is so good, you’ll go back to it again and again.

A bowl of zucchini orzo with a serving spoon

What is Orzo?

Orzo is often mistaken for rice, but it is really a tiny type of pasta that’s shaped a little larger than rice. It can be served hot or cold (as an orzo pasta salad).

It holds up well in soups or salads and makes for a great side!

We like it because of its mild flavor and firm texture and the fact that it can be paired with almost anything.

overview of zucchini orzo ingredients

How to Cook Orzo with Zucchini

Super easy but elegant, this orzo recipe will be ready in no time.

  1. Cook onion in butter and garlic with zucchini (per recipe below).
  2. Meanwhile, cook orzo in broth until tender. Stir in tomatoes and pesto. Cover and let it rest.

zucchini being sauteed with orzo, tomatoes, and pesto in a pot.

  1. Stir in the diced zucchini and half the Parmesan cheese. Season again with salt and pepper to desired taste.

Garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (optional).

Serve With…

This hearty side dish goes well with almost any protein entrees like juicy pork chops.

Add in some baked chicken breasts or pair it with an Air Fryer chicken to make it into a meal.

Orzo Favorites

Did you love this Zucchini Orzo? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Zucchini Orzo being served.
5 from 14 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Zucchini Orzo Recipe

This Zucchini Orzo is creamy, cheesy, and colorful. This pasta side dish is the perfect pairing for any entrèe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
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  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth or as needed
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 small zucchini diced, about 1 ½ cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish optional


  • Bring orzo, broth, and Italian seasoning to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13-15 minutes uncovered until the orzo is tender, adding more broth if needed.
  • While orzo is cooking, dice zucchini into ¼ inch pieces.
  • Fry onion in butter, add garlic until fragrant, add zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Once orzo is cooked, stir in tomatoes and pesto. Cover and rest 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.


Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
5 from 14 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 269 | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 767mg | Potassium: 374mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 616IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American
a bowl of zucchini orzo with a title
Close up of zucchini orzo being served with a title
Serving zucchini orzo with a title
Top image - zucchini orzo being served. Bottom image - zucchini orzo ingredients with a title



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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. This is colorful and delicious and only used 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
    Served with grilled salmon and salad on the side. Def. recommend. Never been disappointed with Holly’s recipes.5 stars

  2. Holly, I’ve commented on other recipes as well. With my wife now 10 years out of gastric bypass surgery, she still has special dietary needs. Everything that I’ve made from your recipes has been a home run for her. I’d also like to thank you for teaching me how to properly make Orzo. My wife also thanks you for teaching her to “rest” her lasagna for 20 minutes after removing from the oven. We call you “the kitchen mad scientist”.

    1. Thank you both so much for your kind words, it has truly made my day (and I love my new name, The Kitchen Mad Scientist. LOL!)!! So glad you’ve loved the recipes!

  3. This sure sounds delicious, looks beautiful, and it’s npretty quick to prepare. What a lovely side, fit for company-as well :-)