Is it rice? Or can we call it pasta? Orzo is both things and at the same time, none: it is actually pasta shaped like rice. It comes in different sizes but as it is usually made of wheat flour, it doesn’t take a lot of time to be ready which makes it a perfect dish when you are in a hurry.

The point of doneness is up to you, if you prefer it al dente, you should boil it as you would with any other type of pasta. Actually, when it comes to making pasta, just a quick rinse with cold water before starting with the recipe will do the trick. In case you enjoy a creamier result, just cook it as rice.

Surprise your palate!

On this occasion, we have a Moroccan orzo dish for you to try. Moroccan cuisine is all about spices, so if you are not used to the taste, you should start with a tiny bit since its flavor can be overpowering when used in excess. In addition to the blend of spices, Moroccan dishes typically mix textures and distinct flavors too: who would have thought that pairing lamb and olives could taste so well? 

This is for sure a combination that will shock your taste buds. Plus, it is a one-pot meal so if you hate washing up, just keep on reading.

A staple of Mediterranean cuisine

Its origins seem to be a mystery, but even if they lie in Italy or in Greece, orzo managed to spread to many Mediterranean countries. And this was made possible because it is incredibly versatile. Each region combined it with their typical aromas and flavors, taking what is actually very simple pasta to the sublime.

Depending on the ingredients that accompany it, orzo can emulate a creamy risotto, become the base of a warm winter soup or be a great side dish for your favorite meat.  In addition, you can create further varieties of the same dishes by serving them either hot or cold.  As you can see, orzo pleases all palates!

You can learn more about orzo here:

As any other type of pasta, it is fairly healthy but if you want to go for a more nutritious version, you should try whole wheat versions.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup orzo pasta.
  • about 2 pounds of lamb cubes.
  • 1 tsp olive oil.
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 1 cup vegetable stock.
  • black olives.
  • ½ tsp ginger.
  • ½ tsp turmeric.
  • ½ tsp cinnamon.
  • salt and pepper.
  • parsley, to taste.


  1. Choose a saucepan and heat it, bear in mind that orzo expands a lot while cooking it so you may want to use a big one. Heat the olive oil for 2 minutes. Instead of olive oil, butter can be used as well. Meanwhile, season the lamb with salt and pepper .
  2. Add lamb and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Don’t overcook it, before serving it, it will be back in the saucepan for a few minutes. Then, transfer it to a plate.
  3. Return the same saucepan to medium heat and sauté the diced onion for about 2 minutes. You don’t need to wash the pan, the leftover bits of meat will add some extra flavor.
  4. When ready, reduce the heat and add orzo, the spices, and the vegetable stock. Orzo may absorb a great amount of liquid so if you notice that’s the case, make sure to add as much as necessary. Cover and let it simmer, stirring once in a while so orzo doesn’t stick! This will take 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Add lamb and cook until heated. Season again if necessary and serve with fresh parsley on top.

Orzo is traditionally made of wheat flour but there are gluten-free versions for people with gluten allergies. If this is your case, bear in mind that the texture and cooking time may vary.

You can make this recipe vegetarian only by using tofu or your favorite vegetarian substitute for animal protein. Feel free of adding as many vegetables as you like! Orzo gets along very well with roasted and fresh greens so you can get as creative as you want.