orzo with mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley in a bowl


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If you’re a fan of easy AND delicious then this Orzo with Mushrooms Recipe is a must try! It’s packed full of flavour thanks to simple and fresh ingredients and can be served up as both a hearty main dish or a light and tasty side.

I’m a big fan of mushroom risotto (what can I say, I’m Italian!). But if you’re no stranger in the kitchen then you probably know that a good one takes a bit of patience, practice, perfection and time to make. Probably with a slight emphasis on the words patience and time. You see, you pretty much have to slave over the hot stove constantly adding broth and stirring in order to get the perfect creamy texture and the right consistency. And while I’m not going to sit here and try to argue that the delicate process of making a good and creamy risotto isn’t worth it (because trust me, it is) what I can tell you is that if you ain’t got time for that, this orzo with mushrooms recipe is here to save the day.

Not quite risotto but way easier and faster to make with the same level of deliciousness. No stove slaving involved.

bowl of orzo with mushrooms garnished with fresh chopped parsley, spoons and grater with parmesan cheese in the background

I get it. Weeknights are busy. You have to pick the kids up from school, help them with their homework, take them to soccer practice, make their lunch for tomorrow, get ’em clean and bathed, etc, etc, etc all the while figuring out what to feed tired and hangry mouths for dinner after having just worked a full day. You supermom, you! So, you want healthy, delicious, easy to make, fresh ingredients and something everything will love. Sound impossible? Not today, mama!

This mushroom orzo checks off all of those boxes AND THEN SOME. It’s quick to whip up, perfect for busy weeknights and I just know it’ll become a staple in your house like it is in mine. My favourite part about this orzo with mushrooms recipe is that you can use it either as a light and refreshing side dish to compliment things like air fryer chicken, seared steak or parmesan crusted fish. OR you can make it the main event next to something simple such as garlic bread, a light salad or a tasty soup. Whichever way you choose to serve it, fresh, healthy, easy and delicious truly does exist!


ingredients for aglio e olio - olive oil, garlic, parsley, parmesan cheese, spaghetti, salt, pepper
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Simple, fresh and flavourful is the name of the game when it comes to this orzo with mushrooms recipe. These ingredients are easy to find and each plays a specific role in giving this dish the perfect taste and texture. Let’s get into them in a little bit more detail down below:

  • Orzo: A type of pasta that resembles grains of rice. However, despite its rice-like appearance, orzo is made from wheat flour, similar to other pasta varieties. It has a slightly chewy texture when cooked and offers the perfect base for this dish.
  • Chicken Broth: Adds depth of flavour to the orzo and helps give it the perfect texture. I used chicken broth for this recipe. However, vegetable broth or mushroom broth will also work just fine.
  • Olive Oil: Adds flavour and richness to this easy orzo recipe. As always, good quality and extra virgin works best.
  • Onions: Sautéed to create a flavourful foundation for the dish. Also adds depth and sweetness to this mushroom orzo.
  • Garlic: Sautéed with onions to infuse the dish with savoury notes and add extra flavour. Therefore, freshly minced garlic works best in this recipe.
  • Mushrooms: Their meaty texture and earthy flavour adds savoury umami flavours to this orzo with mushrooms. I used sliced cremini mushrooms for this recipe. However, you can use any kind of mushroom you prefer or have on hand. White button or shiitake make great options.
  • White Wine: Optional but adds a subtle complexity to the dish. It also adds acidity and depth of flavour. If you choose not to use wine, just use extra broth in its place instead.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a creamy texture and a savoury note to the dish. Therefore, freshly grated parmesan cheese (that you grate yourself) works best in this recipe.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhances the flavour of the overall dish and balances out the other tastes. Pepper adds a hint of spiciness and depth. Both play an important role in seasoning the orzo dish to taste.
  • Parsley: Optional but adds a hint of herbal flavour to this mushroom orzo recipe. It also adds a burst of freshness and a pop of green colour to the final dish. Therefore, freshly chopped parsley works best in this recipe.
side view of mushrooms, orzo and fresh chopped parsley in a bowl


hand holding a spoonful of mushroom orzo with fresh chopped parsley over a bowl with the rest of it

You can find full instructions for how to make this healthy recipe for orzo with mushrooms in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Prep ingredients beforehand. Chop onions, mince garlic, slice mushrooms and measure out all other ingredients before you start cooking. This will help streamline the cooking process and prevent any last minute scrambling.
  • Use high quality ingredients. Since this recipe relies on simple ingredients, using high-quality ones will significantly enhance the flavour of the final dish. Opt for fresh mushrooms, good quality Parmesan cheese and flavourful broth.
  • Properly cook the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they are golden brown and tender. This will bring out their rich flavour and prevent them from becoming soggy. Make sure to keep stirring them to ensure even cooking on all sides.
  • Don’t overcook the orzo. Cook the orzo pasta just until it’s al dente, meaning it’s tender but still has a slight bite to it. Overcooking can result in mushy or sticky pasta, which won’t be as enjoyable in the final dish. I recommend you follow the instructions on the back of the packaging for best results.
  • Taste the dish as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Remember that Parmesan cheese adds saltiness, so be cautious when adding additional salt. Freshly ground black pepper adds a nice kick, so don’t skimp on it if you enjoy a bit of heat.
  • Add wine for depth. While optional, adding white wine can elevate the flavours of the dish by deglazing the pan and adding complexity. If you choose to use wine, opt for a dry white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. If not, use more broth in its place instead.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs. Fresh parsley adds a pop of colour and freshness to the dish. Don’t skip the garnish — it not only enhances the presentation but also adds a burst of flavour to the final dish. EXTRA TIP: Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your taste preferences. You can add other vegetables like spinach or bell peppers, incorporate different herbs or cheeses or even add protein like grilled chicken or shrimp for a heartier meal.
two spoons in a bowl of mushroom orzo with fresh chopped parsley



Orzo is a type of pasta rather than a type of rice. Although orzo resembles grains of rice in shape and size, it’s made from wheat flour and water, similar to other pasta varieties. The word “orzo” itself is Italian for “barley,” reflecting its grain-like appearance. When cooked, orzo has a slightly chewy texture and a mild flavour, making it a versatile base for various dishes.


Risotto and orzo are both popular Italian dishes, but they differ in several key ways. Risotto is a creamy rice dish made from Arborio rice, a short-grain rice variety known for its high starch content. It’s cooked slowly by gradually adding warm broth and stirring constantly to release the starches, resulting in a creamy texture. You can flavour risotto with different ingredients such as onions, garlic, wine, Parmesan cheese and various vegetables or meats.

On the other hand, orzo is a type of pasta made from wheat flour, similar to other pasta shapes like penne or spaghetti. Unlike rice, orzo does not release starch during cooking, so it does not naturally develop the creamy consistency of risotto. You typically boil orzo in water or broth until tender, then drained and served as a base for sauces, vegetables, meats or cheeses. Its small size and versatile nature make it a popular choice for soups, salads, side dishes and main courses.


Rinsing orzo before cooking is not necessary, but it can be done depending on personal preference and the desired texture of the final dish. Orzo is a type of pasta made from wheat flour, and like other pasta varieties, it contains starch on its surface. Rinsing the orzo under cold water can remove some of this surface starch, which may result in slightly less sticky cooked pasta. However, rinsing can also wash away some of the pasta’s natural flavour and may affect its ability to absorb sauces.

Some cooks prefer to rinse orzo before cooking to prevent it from clumping together during cooking, especially if it will be used in a salad or a dish where individual grains are desired. Others choose to skip rinsing and cook the orzo as is, allowing it to absorb flavours from the cooking liquid and resulting in a slightly creamier texture. Ultimately, whether or not to rinse orzo before cooking is a matter of personal preference.


To prevent orzo from becoming mushy during cooking, it’s important to follow a few key steps. First, make sure not to overcook the orzo. Orzo typically cooks relatively quickly, usually within 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand and the desired level of doneness. It’s essential to monitor the cooking time closely and remove the orzo from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired texture, usually when it’s al dente, meaning it’s tender but still has a slight bite to it.

Additionally, using the right amount of cooking liquid is crucial. Be sure to measure the broth or water accurately according to the package instructions or recipe guidelines. Too much liquid can lead to overcooking and mushy orzo, while too little liquid can result in unevenly cooked pasta.

Stirring the orzo occasionally while it cooks can help prevent clumping and ensure even cooking. However, be careful not to stir too vigorously, as this can cause the orzo to break apart and become mushy.

Finally, once the orzo is cooked to the desired doneness, drain it promptly to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming overly soft. If using the orzo in a recipe that requires further cooking, such as a soup or casserole, slightly undercooking it can help prevent it from becoming mushy when reheated or baked.

side view of a bowl of orzo with mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley
orzo with mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley in a bowl


Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

If you're a fan of easy AND delicious then this Orzo with Mushrooms Recipe is a must try! It's packed full of flavour thanks to simple and fresh ingredients and can be served up as both a hearty main dish or a light and tasty side.


  • 1 cup Orzo Pasta
  • 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 8 oz Mushrooms (such as cremini or shiitake), sliced
  • 1/4 cup White Wine, optional
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Chopped Parsley, optional, for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
    orzo cooking in broth in a pot
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
    diced onions cooking in a wok
    diced onions and minced garlic cooking in a skillet
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cook until they are browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using, pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until slightly reduced.
    sliced mushrooms and diced onions cooking in a skillet
  4. Add the cooked orzo pasta to the skillet with the mushrooms and toss everything together until well combined.
    mushrooms and orzo in a skillet
  5. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese until melted and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the orzo with mushrooms hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
    freshly grated parmesan cheese sprinkled over mushrooms and orzo in a skillet
    orzo and mushrooms cooking in a skillet with a rubber spatula


This recipe for mushroom orzo makes 4 side dish servings or 2 main dish servings.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 407mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 23g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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