Today’s shrimp orzo recipe stands out as a great weeknight supper. Succulent shrimp are sautéed in garlic and butter with fresh lemons, spices, and seasonings.
The vegetables are quickly stirred until crisp. Then, everything is mixed together with orzo in a sauce made of dairy and broth. The result is a dish that is not only a breeze to cook but also one of exquisite perfection.
Our Shrimp Orzo Is Healthy
First, shrimp is one of the healthiest seafood options due to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have many positive effects on the human body, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and improving the health of the skin, eyes, and brain.
The recipe is made more nutritious by the addition of zucchini and snow peas. These additions not only improve the micronutrient content of the final dish but also its texture and flavor.
Thanks to these and other ingredients our shrimp orzo has an attractive nutritional profile: 488 calories, 9.8 grams of saturated fat, and 588 milligrams of salt. This is also possible because we kept the amounts of butter, cheese, and salt in check and kept each serving at a decent portion size.
Ingredients for Shrimp Orzo
Here are some notes and a shopping list regarding the ingredients you'll need to make this dish:
Shrimp: Buy peeled and deveined shrimp to save a great deal of time. Shrimp of all sizes work in this recipe, so go with the one you prefer or have on hand.
Orzo: Orzo is a small pasta variant that has a similar shape to rice. Much like other small-sized pasta, it can also be used to make pasta salad. We don’t suggest using a different type of pasta because the cooking time and amount of added liquid will not be the same.
Vegetables: Any kind will suffice. Zucchini is readily available and simple to incorporate year-round. For this recipe, cut each slice into quarters or small cubes.
We normally use frozen peas without defrosting or cooking them beforehand. You may substitute baby spinach, frozen corn, or frozen carrots.
Broth: Instead of water, use chicken, fish, or vegetable broths for extra umami taste. We prefer to use a low-sodium variety to manage the saltiness of the final dish, but you may use and enjoy any type you like.
Dairy: To thicken the liquid base and add a touch of creaminess.
How We Made Shrimp Orzo
We began by boiling the orzo as per the instructions in the package and draining it well. The next step produces one of the tastiest parts of this recipe: toasting the shrimp with butter and garlic.
Sauté the garlic until slightly toasted and add the shrimp to stir fry to opaque. The garlic butter is aromatic and irresistible, and then once simmered with orzo, the pasta gets even more of a nutty taste.
Once the shrimp is cooked, place them on a plate and put them aside. In the same pan, melt another piece of butter and start frying the onion and vegetables. Now, whisk in the boiled orzo and cook it for one minute to impart flavor.
Add a mixture of broth, milk, and heavy cream, stir well, and bring the liquid to a quick boil by increasing the heat. After quick bubbling, return the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for one or two minutes.
Reduce the heat further if necessary and stir it occasionally throughout this time to avoid sticking. The dish is done when the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.
Now add the cheese and parsley and your dinner is ready. Both the orzo and shrimp in this recipe cook fast, which is a major plus.
Here’re step-by-step photographs of how to prepare this dish and as always, you can find the complete recipe in the recipe card.
Step 1: Boil the orzo. Set aside after draining.
Step 2: Melt the butter and sauté the garlic.
Step 3: Stir in the shrimp and seasonings. Cook the shrimp until opaque and transfer them to a plate.
Step 4: Sauté the onion in butter.
Step 5: Stir fry zucchini and green peas for a few minutes before adding the orzo.
Step 6: Pour in chicken broth and dairy. Season with salt.
Step 7: Add the shrimp back to the pan. Sprinkle it with cheese and serve the dish hot.
Store and Reheat the Leftover
Refrigerate: Refrigerate cooked shrimp orzo in an airtight container or a zip-top bag within two hours of cooking. The dish should last for 3 - 4 days.
Freeze: You can also freeze shrimp orzo in a freezer-safe bag. It will remain fresh for around 3 months. It’s best to write the expiration date on the container so that you know if the dish is still safe to eat.
Reheat: This shrimp orzo is delicious when reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop. Reheat the shrimp in the microwave at 50% power. This will make it less likely that the shrimp will become overcooked and rubbery.
You may also reheat on the stovetop in a small pan. Stir with a splash of additional water or broth to prevent the food from sticking to the pan’s bottom.
What to Serve With Shrimp Orzo
We served the shrimp orzo with a kale salad and lemonade. This salad comes in a rainbow bowl of different veggies and fruits. When combined with a homemade drink, they are a tasty way to add more fiber and vitamins to your diet.
Looking for Shrimp Pasta Recipes? We’ve Got ‘Em Here!
Shrimp and pasta is a wonderfully versatile combination, so we’ve got an ever-growing collection that you should check out. Here are a few of our favorites:
12 oz peeled and deveined shrimp (equal to 24 oz raw shrimp)
4 oz uncooked orzo
6 oz green zucchini (cubed)
0.25 oz shredded parmesan cheese
3 fl oz white wine
2 oz onion (chopped)
4 oz green peas
1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp heavy cream
3 cups water (for boiling)
3 tbsp unsalted butter (divided)
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
Add 3 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Then add 4 oz orzo and stir. Continue to cook for 7 minutes or until it reaches your desired tenderness. Drain and set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter and 1 tbsp garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds.
Add 12 oz peeled shrimp and season with 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Stir fry the shrimp for 4 minutes and pour in 3 fl oz white wine. Increase to high heat and cook for 1 minute. Take off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a plate. Set aside.
Over medium heat, add the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter to the skillet. Stir in 2 oz onion and cook for 1 minute.
Add 6 oz green zucchini and 4 oz green peas and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the boiled orzo and stir to combine.
Pour 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth, 1/2 cup milk, and 4 tbsp heavy cream. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and continue to simmer for an extra 1 minute.
Return the shrimp to the skillet and sprinkle with 0.25 oz parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish hot.
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 463Calories from Fat 155
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 9.8g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Vitamin A 1016IU
Vitamin C 19mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Emily Rogers is a California-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in Public Health Dietetics. She has had an eclectic career working as a health educator, nutrition counselor, recipe developer, clinical dietitian and outpatient dietitian. Emily is currently a full-time Public Health Nutritionist with the County of Orange where she teaches Nutrition Education and Community Nutrition courses.
A delicious and easy-to-make meal that's perfect for any night of the week.