Spicy Zucchini Orzo

Let me tell you about my first-ever recipe. It’s something I hold near and dear to my heart, and I want to share it with all of you. I call it “high school orzo,” but for the sake of SEO, let’s call this Spicy Zucchini Orzo. I began playing around the kitchen (unsupervised) in high school and would often make myself easy meals over the summer to test my abilities as a cook. With this recipe, I literally played “Chopped” in my mother’s kitchen and created a recipe that I have loved for over ten years. It’s a simple main course or side dish that I make on the regular.

My favorite pairing with this is Chicken Kiev, but it also goes perfectly with Greek-style chicken or kabobs. I make this recipe super spicy, but feel free to play around with the level of heat you want. It turns out just as good without the cayenne, but if you know me…I like all things spicy! This recipe is my ultimate comfort food that only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

It’s what I make when I need a break from life or when I’m starting out on something new and just need something familiar to bring me back to my roots. I’m finally sharing this recipe with all of your  because 1) I finally got a good photo of it, and 2) because it means a lot to me and I don’t think @MaryMangia would exist without this first win in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have through all of my life’s ups and downs. Let me know what you think in the comments!

*Note: While I have this recipe set as a main course (because that’s how I eat it), you can adjust the serving sizes for a low-cal option side dish!

Spicy Zucchini Orzo
Calories per serving: 517
Servings: 4 (for meal)
Fat: 12.4
Carbs: 89.8
Protein: 15.6
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • dash of pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced in medallions
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 16 oz. orzo – I find that Barilla makes the best orzo!
  1. Okay, you know the drill. As a certified pasta lady…this is always my first step: Get a large pot of water and begin the boiling process. This allows you to get your vegetables prepped while the water begins its boiling process, essentially cutting your time in half.
  2. Prepare your vegetables. I slice my zucchini into medallions and chop my onion into large diced pieces. I mince or grate my garlic, depending on how much garlic I want in my bite.
  3. Add your oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Add vegetables and garlic, along with your spices. Cook until zucchini is soft, onions are translucent, and garlic is fragrant. You can taste the amount of spice at this point, and if you want to add more or less cayenne, this is the time to do it.
  4. While vegetables are cooking, add your orzo to your boiling pot of water. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until al dente or preferred texture.
  5. Strain the orzo and add immediately to your frying pan of vegetables on low heat. Toss until orzo is completely coated with your olive oil and vegetables are evenly dispersed.

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