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One-Pan Jammy Tomato Orzo

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding time to prepare a delicious and satisfying meal can often feel like a challenge.

One-Pan Jammy Tomato Orzo ready to be served

However, with the rise of one-pan dishes like this jammy tomato orzo, busy weeknights no longer have to mean sacrificing flavour or quality. Inspired by the flavours of Youvetsi, a traditional Greek dish typically made with meat and orzo cooked in a tomato-based sauce, this simplified version brings all the comforting flavours of the original in an effortless and convenient one-pan meal.

Effortless Flavour of Youvetsi-Inspired Orzo

At the heart of this jammy tomato orzo lies the effortless flavour reminiscent of Youvetsi, a dish celebrated for its rich, tomato-based sauce and tender orzo pasta. Orzo, a small, rice-shaped pasta, serves as the perfect vehicle for soaking up the flavours of the sauce while maintaining a satisfying texture. Inspired by the slow-simmered goodness of Youvetsi, this one-pan version offers a convenient way to enjoy those same comforting flavours with minimal effort.

Understanding Orzo and the Importance of Toasting

Orzo, derived from the Italian word for barley, is a versatile pasta commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. While its shape resembles rice, orzo is made from semolina flour, giving it a unique texture and flavour. When preparing our jammy tomato orzo, toasting the orzo in a hot frying pan before cooking serves to enhance its nutty flavour and adds depth to the over all dish. The key to simple, yet delicious meals, is layering flavour at every step. This simple step elevates the overall taste and ensures a more robust flavour profile in the finished meal.

top down shot of a vibrant tomato orzo dish simmered in a blue Le Creuset shallow casserole

Cooking Tinned Tomatoes for Depth of Flavour

Central to the rich and vibrant sauce of our one pan tomato orzo is the use of tinned tomatoes. Cooking tinned tomatoes low and slow allows their natural sweetness to intensify while developing complex flavours. The result is a luscious, jammy tomato sauce that coats the orzo, infusing each bite with a burst of tangy sweetness. By using tinned tomatoes, this one-pan dish offers a convenient way to achieve that slow-simmered taste without the need for hours of cooking.

Double Duty Herbs: Flavorful Feta and a Bright Drizzle

To add a final touch of flavor and creaminess to this easy orzo recipe, we’ll be employing fresh herbs in a double act. This takes this pantry staple, one-pan recipe up a level – from weeknight comfort to something that feels kind of special. Feta, we all have some knocking about in the fridge. But dress it in herbs, add some zestiness, spice, and olive oil, and that creamy little wedge will suck up all that bright flavor, transforming the overall taste. So, marinate your feta cheese, its tangy profile mellowing and taking on new dimensions with a vibrant mix of parsley and lemon zest. This marinated feta adds a creamy contrast to the bright acidity of the tomatoes and infuses the dish with herbaceous notes and a hint of richness. 

Now, I’m big on sauces, and the herbal magic doesn’t stop there! We’ll also create a simple herby drizzle, bursting with freshness and acidity. Combining the remaining chopped parsley, lemon zest, and a touch of chili flakes with olive oil, we create a vibrant sauce that will be drizzled over the finished orzo. This drizzle cuts through the richness of the dish, adding a delightful brightness and a touch of heat. Imagine the creamy, herb-infused feta melting into each bite of the orzo, perfectly complemented by the bright and refreshing parsley drizzle. It’s a harmonious interplay of textures and flavors that elevates the entire meal.

a le creuset casserole of tomato orzo with feta and herb pesto

Enjoyed This One-Pan Jammy Tomato Orzo?

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

You can also try these other orzo recipes:
Creamy Lemon Orzo
Summer Lemon Orzo

Happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this be made vegan?
Very easily. Aside from the feta, this orzo is naturally vegan. Be sure to opt for veg stock when making the recipe. Simply leave the feta off if you are dairy-free, or vegan, or substitute it for a vegan-friendly alternative. 

Can I use vegetable stock instead of regular stock?
Absolutely! This recipe is easily adaptable. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.

How can I adjust the spice level?
The chilli flakes add a touch of heat. Adjust the amount according to your preference. 

Do I have to use leftover meat?
No, this recipe is delicious without any additional protein. It’s a great vegetarian main course. 

Can I use crumbled feta instead of breaking it up?
Yes! Crumbled feta will create a creamier texture in the final dish. 

What other vegetables could I add?
Chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, or peas would all be delicious additions to this recipe.

What can I use instead of parsley for the feta marinade?
You can use store-bought chimichurri or basil pesto as quick alternatives. 


a white plate of tomato orzo with leftover pulled lamb, with marinated feta and herb sauce
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a le creuset casserole of tomato orzo with feta and herb pesto

One-Pan Jammy Tomato Orzo

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions


In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding time to prepare a delicious and satisfying meal can often feel like a challenge.

However, with the rise of one-pan dishes like jammy tomato orzo, busy weeknights no longer have to mean sacrificing flavour or quality.


  • 300g orzo
  • 1 tin peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 500ml Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100200ml water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 50ml Olive Oil, and more as needed for the pan
  • Optional: Handful of leftover lamb or roasted chicken


  1. Drizzle olive oil into a casserole dish over medium heat.
  2. Toast orzo until golden brown.
  3. While orzo is cooking, finely chop parsley, zest the lemon, and finely chop the garlic.
  4. Remove orzo from the pan. If necessary, add more oil, then fry off garlic. Add 1/3 of the chilli flakes,  the tinned tomatoes, and stock. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Break up feta cheese. Add half of the chopped parsley and lemon zest to the feta. Mix in 20ml of olive oil and 1/3 of the chilli flakes. Allow it to marinate.
  6. Make parsley drizzle by combining the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Add in the remaining chilli flakes. Blend with 30ml oil to achieve a pesto-like consistency.
  7. Add the toasted orzo to the simmering tomatoes. Season well with salt to take and cook, stirring often on a medium-low heat.
  8. Cook until al dente, adding more water as needed (100-200ml) to achieve a risotto-like consistency.
  9. Stir through leftover roasted meat if using. Give the seasoning a final check before removing the pan from the heat.
  10. Remove from heat and drizzle over parsley pesto and marinated feta.

Note: Adjust seasoning according to taste preferences. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20min
  • Category: Mains
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
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