Indulge in a creamy, protein-rich meal with this Butternut Squash Orzo Salad. With just 8 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time, it’s a fun side dish to go alongside most meals!
Orzo is one of those foods that I kind of… forget about. It might be because I’m a veggie pasta (aka zucchini or squash) gal through and through, so orzo just sort of slips through the cracks as I gravitate toward what I’m used to.
But this week, I remembered about its magic and dove right in to create some delicious butternut vegan orzo. Orzo itself is a form of pasta that essentially looks like big grains of rice. And let’s just say, it’s quite the flavorful grain.
For this dish we’re cooking it up and serving it alongside juicy butternut squash and a large assortment of sautéed veggies. Finally, we’ll top it with feta for a creamy touch that makes the entire side dish complete!
Here’s what you’ll need
Only 8 ingredients? Sounds good to me. Butternut orzo salad requires nothing other than some veggies, olive oil, feta, and of course, the squash! Oh, and a little bit of salt and pepper that goes a long way.
- Olive Oil: First up, we’ll need olive oil for prepping the squash and sautéing the veggies.
- Butternut Squash: Peeled, deseed, and dice a butternut squash (here’s how).
- Orzo: 1 lb of uncooked orzo (aka risoni) will be used to create 6 delicious, heaping servings.
- White Onion: Next up, chop up 1 medium sized white onion to achieve about 1 cup, diced. You could also use yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.
- Garlic: And because every good dish includes garlic, 3 cloves will taste great. You can slice or mince the cloves.
- Kale: We’re sneaking a bit of greens into this dish by using 4 cups of finely chopped kale. It tastes great and helps sneak in extra nutrients!
- Feta: Sprinkle ½ cup of feta crumbles on top, because cheese makes every dish a little better.
- Salt and Pepper: Finally, ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper will bring out the flavors of the dish, making everything pop!
How to cook orzo with butternut squash
It’s like pasta, reimagined. This dish is just as easy as plain old spaghetti in that all you have to do is chop and saute the veggies, boil the orzo, and assemble!
Step 1: Prep the butternut squash
First, peel, seed, and dice the butternut. Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet, and then add the squash. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butternut is fork tender – it will take about 10 to 15 minutes. When finished, roughly mash half of the butternut, and then remove it from the pan and wipe clean.
Step 2: Cook the orzo
Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package, about 10 minutes. Strain, cover, and set aside.
Step 3: Saute the vegetables
Next, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in your skillet. Add onion and garlic, cooking until soft, which will take about 5 minutes. Add the kale, cover, and cook until the kale wilts and is soft, about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Assemble the dish
Finally, stir together the butternut, sauteed kale mixture, orzo, feta, salt, and pepper.
Orzo ingredient add-ons
Thinking about adding a few extra ingredients to your butternut squash orzo? Here are some yummy options that would be well-suited for this dish!
Adding nutritional yeast will not only serve as a great vegan add on (and can also be a substitute for the feta), it works wonders to make this dish creamy!
Take the veggies up a notch by adding diced green pepper, extra white onion, or even red onion for extra flavor!
Finally, sneak extra greens into this dish by adding spinach. You can also use this as a swap for the kale if preferred.
More dinner recipes to enjoy this week
Need some more hearty dish ideas for this coming week? I have 5 days covered. Get on a butternut squash kick and whip up some of these tasty ideas! I’ve also included a yummy chimichurri orzo rendition, just in case you’re in the mood for another great orzo salad!
- Chimichurri Orzo Salad
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Crockpot Steel Cut Oats with Butternut Squash
- Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil divided, 30 mL
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 lb uncooked orzo aka risoni, 453 g
- 1 cup diced white onions 90 g
- 3 cloves garlic sliced or minced
- 4 cups finely chopped kale 360 g
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese 100 g
- ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
- Butternut: Peel, seed, and dice the butternut. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet, then add butternut. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until butternut is fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. When finished, roughly mash half of the butternut, then remove it from pan and wipe clean.
- Orzo: Meanwhile, cook orzo according to the instructions on package, about 10 minutes. Strain, cover, and set aside.
- Saute: Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat in your skillet. Add onion and garlic, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add kale, cover, and cook until kale wilts and is soft, 5 minutes.
- Assemble: Stir together butternut, sautéed kale mixture, orzo, feta, salt, and pepper.
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