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Creative Orzo Substitute to Spice Up Your Meal

by Sidra Munir
Published: Last Updated on 120 views
The Best Orzo Substitute For You

Hello there! If you want to substitute orzo, there are a few possibilities depending on the recipe and your preferences, which might be effective. Depending on the recipe, the required texture, and the intended flavor, a variety of substances can be used in place of orzo.

Have you ever discovered you don’t have any orzo while cooking a dish that called for it? Trying to follow a recipe while lacking some of the necessary components can be frustrating.

Orzo can replace with many different ingredients and can utilize in a wide range of meals, which is fortunate. There are several possibilities available, whether you’re searching for a gluten-free substitute, a heartier grain, or just something to swap out for orzo’s tiny, oblong shape.

This article will discuss several outstanding orzo substitutes and how to incorporate them into your favorite dishes.

Rice Risotto

Risotto rice can use as an orzo substitute. Because it has short grains and is starchy, this kind of rice is ideal for risotto and other meals that call for a creamy texture. Due to its similar texture and form to orzo, risotto rice can also be substituted for it in soups and stews.

Moreover, both kids and adults love this orzo rice side dish! Even though kids can be picky, you can be sure they won’t go to bed hungry if you put this on the table.


Quinoa is a wonderful choice if you want to substitute orzo with something that doesn’t contain gluten. Although, it is a grain with a nutty flavor and a high protein and fiber content. It can be used in salads and side dishes in place of orzo because it cooks up with a fluffy texture similar to orzo.

Small Pasta Shapes

If you need to substitute orzo quickly and don’t have any of the aforementioned alternatives on hand, you may always use little pasta shapes. Pastina and ditalini are a few examples of little pasta shapes. These forms work well as an alternative to orzo in dishes like soups and stews since they have a similar size and shape.


Particularly in soups and stews, rice is frequently used as a substitute for orzo. Any variety of rice, including white, brown, and wild rice, may be used. Just be aware that the cooking time may vary from orzo and make the necessary adjustments.

Recipe of Orzo Substitute

Here’s a simple quinoa salad with a roasted vegetable recipe using quinoa as an orzo substitute:

Prep TimeCook TimeTotal TimeServings
20 Minutes30 Minutes50 Minutes6

Ingredients | Orzo Substitute

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed and drained

Instructions | Orzo Substitute

  • Firstly, set the oven’s temperature to 425°F (220°C)
  • Use parchment paper to cover a baking sheet
  • Add the bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and red onion to a large bowl along with the olive oil and salt and pepper
  • On the prepared baking sheet, spread out the vegetables in a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until soft and gently browned
  • In a medium saucepan, mix the quinoa with water or vegetable broth while the vegetables are roasting
  • When the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft, simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes after bringing it to a boil
  • Combine the cooked quinoa and roasted vegetables in a sizable bowl
  • Toss in the minced mint and parsley after adding them
  • Top the salad with feta cheese crumbles before serving

Why You Might Need an Orzo Substitute

There are various situations in which orzo needs to be replaced in a recipe. Perhaps you must avoid eating wheat-based pasta because you are on a gluten-free diet, or you don’t have any orzo in your pantry. Whatever the cause, there are several suitable alternatives that you might utilize.

The Best Orzo Substitute For You

Pros and Cons of Orzo Substitutions

The followings are some pros and cons of orzo substitutes:


  • Substitute orzo provides a variety of textures and flavors, enhancing recipe flexibility and originality
  • Certain orzo substitutes, such as quinoa and barley, are simpler to locate than orzo itself since they are more widely available
  • Several orzo substitutes are vegan and/or gluten-free, making them appropriate for people with dietary requirements
  • Quinoa and farro, which both have higher levels of protein, fiber, and vitamins than orzo itself, are excellent orzo substitutes


  • In some places or supermarket stores, it could be more difficult to locate some orzo replacements
  • It’s possible that orzo alternatives need to cook for longer than orzo does, which could affect how long it takes to prepare a meal
  • The price of the dish may change because some orzo replacements, including farro, may be more costly than orzo


Long story short, you can substitute orzo with a variety of grains and pasta varieties, such as rice, couscous, quinoa, Israeli couscous, and couscous.

You can achieve the greatest results, taking into account the texture, flavor, cooking time, quantity, and nutritional content of the replacement. If you keep these alternatives in mind, even if you don’t have any orzo on hand, you can still enjoy your favorite recipes.


What can I use in a soup in place of an orzo?

In place of orzo in soups, you can use pearl couscous, fregola, quinoa, or tiny pasta forms like ditalini or acini di pepe.

Are substitutes to orzo more costly than orzo?

Depending on the replacement you select. Quinoa and barley are two orzo substitutes that may cost more than the orzo itself. Some alternatives, such as tiny pasta shapes, might, however, cost less.

How do I choose the right orzo substitute?

Think about the recipe you’re cooking and the necessary textures and flavors. Take into account any dietary limitations you may have as well. Try out many possibilities to see which suits your palate preferences and the particular recipe you’re preparing the best.

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