The Weekly Menus and Recipes, Vegetarian

Recipe 9.3: Zucchini Orzo

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Adapted from Barbara Kingsolver

I did this meal as part of the week 2 menu and now it is back by popular demand! I have several friends who have home gardens and their gardens are all overflowing with zucchini! Even if you don’t have a garden, you can pick up a few zucchini for around 50 cents each at the farmer’s market. This entire meal will cost you under $5 for four servings…you can’t beat that, can you?! Original intro: Well, we have a new favorite pasta dish in our house!  This dish is so delicious, filling, and good for you!  It is stocked full of zucchini (which is in season right now!), but you can’t even tell it’s in there.  It blends in with the orzo so beautifully that  Jason said he felt like a little kid whom I was trying to trick into eating veggies!  (You hear that Moms and Dads?!?)


¾ lb. orzo pasta

3 large zucchini

2 tbs. olive oil

3 springs fresh Thyme (I used fresh because it is growing in my windowsill garden, but you could use dried – just use 1 tbs.)

1 yellow onion

¼ cup grated parmesan

1 tomato, diced


Bring a pot (about 6 cups) of water to boil.  Salt water with 1 tbs. salt, then add orzo.  Boil 8-10 minutes, or until you can easily bite into a noddle.  There should be the smallest amount of crunch to it when you drain it– it will continue to cook in its own heat.

Heat a medium frypan over medium-medium high heat.  Add 2 tbs. olive oil.  Prep onion for sautéing by removing skin, cutting off roots, and dicing (to dice means to cut it into small pieces).  Prep garlic by removing skin, cutting off root, and mincing (to mince means to cut into extremely small pieces). Add both to warm oil.  Sprinkle with salt. Allow onion and garlic to soften and become fragrant, stirring often, 2-4 minutes.

While they cook, prep zucchini.  I like to peel the skin off zucchini before using it as I don’t like the bitter flavor it adds to dishes, but feel free to leave skin on if you prefer additional texture.  Shred zucchini using the larger holes on a cheese grater.  You should have about 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini. Add zucchini to pan with garlic and onion.  Add thyme (leafs only) and oregano. Sauté until zucchini is softened and lightly golden, 3-5 minutes.

Combine cooked orzo with the zucchini mixture in large bowl (or pot the orzo cooked in) and add parmesan. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Top with chopped tomatoes. Serve warm.