Healthy side dish meets satisfying comfort food with this caprese baked orzo pasta recipe! Fresh tomatoes, creamy cheese, and plenty of herbs and seasonings combine with hearty orzo for an easy recipe perfect for every occasion. Serve it on its own or with your favorite proteins for a filling dinner!
Why We Love This Caprese Baked Orzo Pasta
Is there anything more classic than caprese? There’s just something about the combination of refreshing tomatoes and creamy cheese that always hits the spot! However, while we love a traditional caprese salad, we also enjoy incorporating the ingredients into more filling recipes like our favorite turkey caprese sandwiches, caprese avocado toast, and this baked orzo pasta! There are so many reasons why we love this dish, but we’ll just name a few. It’s:
- Quick to toss together and a breeze to clean up.
- Great to serve on its own or as a side.
- Loaded with nutrients and flavor.
- Perfect for feeding a crowd.
Is Baked Orzo Healthy?
Relatively speaking, this baked orzo is a pretty healthy dish! It’s full of vitamins, nutrients, and protein thanks to the use of fresh tomatoes and cheese. Plus, the orzo provides a good source of fiber to keep you full!
How Is Orzo Different from Pasta?
Often mistaken for rice, orzo is actually a type of pasta that just looks like rice. A common ingredient in Italian recipes, orzo is traditionally made with whole-wheat, semolina, white, or whole-grain flour and cut into its tiny rice-like shape. As a result, it is used in a white variety of recipes like this Greek orzo pasta salad, creamy parmesan spinach orzo pasta, and our favorite Middle Eastern orzo soup!
Simple Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredient list for this baked orzo couldn’t get any simpler! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Veggies – Grape tomatoes, garlic cloves, and chopped shallot add vibrant flavor and extra nutrients to the dish.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Helps caramelize the tomatoes while also adding a boost of healthy fats.
- Seasonings – Basil, chili pepper, salt, and pepper add extra flavor and just a bit of spice.
- Orzo – Orzo can be found in the pasta section at your local grocery store. Or, if preferred, you could use any pasta you have on hand in its place. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.
- Broth – Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth helps cook the orzo while also adding extra savory goodness.
- Cheese – Just like regular caprese, plenty of Mozzarella is included for a creamy texture, and salty, savory, satisfying taste.
How to Make Caprese Baked Orzo
Combined in one casserole dish and baked in the oven, this baked orzo is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make.
- Cook the veggies. Add the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and seasonings to a casserole dish. Toss with olive oil until the ingredients are completely coated. Then, bake for 25 minutes. Gently press the tomatoes down with the back of the spoon until they burst.
- Add the pasta. Place the orzo and broth in the casserole dish with the rest of the ingredients. Then, cover it with foil, and continue to bake until the pasta is al dente.
- Layer the cheese. Remove the dish from the oven, and carefully layer the Mozzarella on top. Then, place it back in to broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
- Serve. Top your baked orzo with fresh basil, serve warm, and enjoy!
If you want to bulk this baked orzo up and turn it into a complete meal, try mixing in shredded chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey for a bit of extra protein!
Storage and Make Ahead Options
We don’t recommend freezing this recipe as the taste and texture will change once thawed. However, if you want to make it ahead of time, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days!
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Looking for more family-friendly pasta options? Try out some of our favorites below!
- One Pot Mediterranean Orzo Pasta – Loaded with veggies, healthy fats, and flavor, this recipe is on the table in just 30 minutes!
- Egyptian Orzo Pasta – This recipe is an easy twist on one of our favorite childhood meals.
- One Pot Caprese Pasta – A great meatless option, this recipe is fresh, flavorful, and ready in 15 minutes.
- Greek Pasta Bake – This warm recipe is sure to become a family favorite with just one bite!
Caprese Baked Orzo Pasta
- 3 cups grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 pound dry orzo pasta
- 1/2 teapoons chili pepper (more or less to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella slices
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- In an 11×7 baking dish, add the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss to combine.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the tomatoes caramelize and burst.
- Remove the dish from the oven, and gently flatten the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
- In the baking dish, add the uncooked orzo and broth.
- Cover with foil, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pasta is al-dente.
- Remove the foil, and continue to bake for 1-2 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Keep a close eye on the dish so it does not burn!
- Top with fresh basil, and serve warm.