Brussels Sprouts Orzo is a quick and easy vegetarian recipe inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. Just toss lemon orzo pasta with chickpeas, feta cheese, Brussels sprouts, and walnuts.
Have you ever tried making orzo at home? It has been one of my favorite ingredients to use when I want to make a meal in under 30 minutes.
Like pearl couscous, orzo is a type of small pasta made from wheat flour. Also similar to pearl couscous, orzo goes by different names depending on the region. It's popular in Greece, where it's called "krithiraki." In Italy, a similar rice-shaped pasta is known as "risoni." The word, "orzo" that we use here in America translates to "barley" in Italian, due to its grain-like shape.
Most recently, I've been loving orzo pasta with seasonal Brussels sprouts and a Mediterranean-inspired mix of chickpeas, kalamata olives, feta cheese, lemon, and walnuts.
This recipe is so easy to make and it always makes me feel satisfied. It just requires about ten minutes of prep work and another ten minutes of cooking time so it's really quick, too.
Orzo pasta is delicious warm, and you can also serve it at room temperature or cold if you want it to have more of a salad feel. (One reason I love this recipe for make-ahead lunches!)
Here's what you'll need to make Brussels Sprouts Orzo.
- Orzo - find it in the pasta aisle.
- Grapeseed oil or whatever you use for cooking oil at home.
- Brussels sprouts - buy them whole, or opt for a bag of shaved Brussels sprouts to cut back on the prep work.
- Shallot - look for it near the onions.
- Chickpeas - cook dry chickpeas yourself or just use one 15-ounce can of rinsed chickpeas.
- Walnuts - buy in bulk for the lowest cost (and bring a reusable container to cut back on packaging waste).
- Pitted kalamata olives (optional)
- Feta cheese - buy it pre-crumbed or use a block and crumble yourself.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon - I like fresh lemon, but you could also use bottled lemon juice.
Optional for garnish:
- Fresh oregano and parsley - you could also use basil and any other fresh herbs you like
You can cook orzo the same way you cook other types of pasta. Boil a pot of salted water, add the orzo, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente (tender yet firm when bitten). Once the orzo is cooked, drain the pot, fluff with a fork, and set aside.
While the orzo is cooking, sauté the vegetables in a skillet. Pour oil into a preheated skillet over medium heat, add the Brussels sprouts and the shallot, and cook for about five minutes, stirring often. When the Brussels sprouts are ready, they will soften and begin to turn brown on the edges.
Once the veggies are cooked, stir in the chickpeas, walnuts, olives (if you're using them), and crumbled feta cheese. Stir in the cooked orzo pasta and turn off the heat.
To serve, transfer the orzo pasta to a serving dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and then gently toss to mix all of the ingredients together. Garnish with fresh oregano and parsley if desired.
Can you Make Orzo Ahead of Time?
This is a great recipe for meal prep. You can make the entire thing in advance. Store orzo pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate up to five days.
Eat the orzo cold or at room temperature, or reheat it in the microwave or in a skillet.
Potential Ingredient Substitutions
- Vegan and dairy-free variation: Omit feta cheese or substitute tofu feta
- If you don't have walnuts, use pecans or almonds instead
- Instead of chickpeas, try this recipe with cooked lentils or cannellini beans
- If you don't have a shallot, substitute 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
Best Recipes to Serve with Brussels Sprouts Orzo Pasta
Looking for something else to make with this Brussels Sprouts Orzo? Try one of these easy vegetarian dishes.
- Vegan Potato Soup
- Harissa Bean Chili
- Tomato Barley Soup
- Mushroom Goat Cheese Frittata
- Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Burgers
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or oil of choice
- 4 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives (optional)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (see note)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Fresh oregano leaves
- Chopped fresh parsley
Add orzo to a pot of salted boiling water and cook 8 minutes, or until tender yet firm when bitten. Drain and set aside.
In the meantime, pour oil into a preheated skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and shallot and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, or until Brussels sprouts are softened and beginning to brown. Stir in chickpeas, walnuts, olives (if using), and feta cheese. Stir in cooked orzo pasta and turn off the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer orzo mixture to a serving dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and toss gently to mix. Garnish with fresh oregano and parsley if desired.
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days.
Vegan and dairy-free variation: Omit feta cheese or substitute tofu feta.
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