Are you looking for a pasta substitute to use in your next dish? Orzo is a great option, but plenty of alternatives are available if you’re out of it or want something different.
I was so confused about orzo pasta because it is a small pasta shaped like a grain of rice, but it is also referred to as a “pastina” or “little pasta.” With its versatility and unique shape, I wanted to find other substitutes for orzo that could give my recipes a different flavor.
I was delighted to learn that several great alternatives to orzo are gluten-free and non-pasta options.
Orzo pasta is a popular pantry staple, but it can be difficult to find and not always available. Thankfully, many other types of pasta can be used as a substitute for orzo. Orecchiette is a small, round pasta that is shaped like an ear. Its concave shape is perfect for catching and holding sauces or creating a delicious bite.
You might enjoy this recipe: Vegan Orzo Pasta Salad
Ditalini pasta, which is commonly used in soups, can also be a great alternative. Arborio rice has a similar form to orzo and can be cooked in the same way. Other options include Fregola, couscous, quinoa, Acini di Pepe grapes, pearl barley, and short-grain brown rice. Each offers its own unique texture and flavor to dishes and provides an easy way to switch up meals without sacrificing taste.
Orecchiette is a great substitute for orzo pasta due to its small, round shape and ability to hold sauces or other ingredients. It is an excellent choice for salads, soups, and other recipes since it is made from semolina.
This pasta can also be used as an alternative to Fregola, or Sardinian couscous, between pasta and grain. These two options are among the nine best substitutes for orzo and can make a delicious addition to any meal.
Ditalini pasta is a great substitute for orzo. It has a similar shape and size, making it a great choice for soups and cold macaroni salads. It’s easy to cook, so you won’t have to worry about overcooking it. Plus, it is made from semolina, just like orzo, so that you can enjoy the same flavor and texture as orzo without the carbs.
Ditalini pasta is a great alternative to orzo and pairs well with the other substitutes mentioned in this blog, such as orecchiette, arborio rice, de pepe grapes, pearl barley, quinoa, cous cous, and emmer.
Arborio rice is the perfect substitute for orzo pasta. Due to its creamy texture, arborio is ideal in risotto, rice pudding, and other recipes. Orzo is very similar to risotto, a dish made with short-grain rice called Arborio.
A slow-cooking method draws the starch out of the rice, resulting in a creamy texture that holds its shape well.
This short-grain rice has a similar shape to orzo and can easily be used as a substitute in recipes. Thanks to the possibility of getting a creamy taste from cooking, arborio rice works as an excellent substitute for orzo pasta.
You can use it when cooking soups or cold macaroni salads. Ditalini pasta can also be used for these dishes and is simple to cook. Just add it to boiling water and allow it to cook until it reaches the desired consistency.
De Pepe grapes
Acini De Pepe grapes are a type of Italian pasta that are very small and round, making them an excellent alternative to orzo. They can be used in soups, stews, and pasta salads as a substitute for orzo, making them as versatile as orzo. Acini De Pepe is also a semolina-based pasta, so they have a similar texture and flavor to orzo. If you can’t find orzo, try using Acini De Pepe instead for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Pearl barley is an excellent replacement for orzo due to its small shape and mild flavor. It is a type of grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor that can easily substitute orzo pasta. The pearled variety has all of its bran removed and is the quickest to cook, making it a great option for quick weeknight meals.
If you decide to use barley as an orzo replacement, it must be boiled separately or added to any water-based dish much earlier than other grains like quinoa, couscous, and farro. Pearl barley is a great way to get more nutrients into your diet while still enjoying the familiar taste of pasta.
Quinoa is a popular grain choice in South American cuisine and is gaining popularity as a substitute for orzo in other dishes. Quinoa is a gluten-free alternative to orzo, which provides a healthy option with its high protein content. Quinoa is a great addition to soups and can be used in place of orzo pasta, as it has a similar texture.
Quinoa is relatively quick and easy to cook compared to other grains, making it ideal for busy lifestyles. Quinoa is also lighter than other grains, such as couscous and farro, making it an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in soups.
Couscous is an excellent substitute for orzo and can be used in a variety of dishes. Made from semolina flour, it is small in size and has a light, fluffy texture when cooked. It is often eaten as a side dish but can also be added to salads or used as a base for stews and casseroles.
Israeli couscous, or ptitim, is also a good alternative to orzo and can be used similarly.
Moroccan couscous is another type of couscous that can be used to replace orzo in recipes.
Fregola, also known as Sardinian couscous, is somewhere between pasta and grain, making it an ideal substitute for orzo.
All types of couscous are widely available and are easy to cook.
Emmer is a delicious and nutritious alternative to orzo. It has a chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it perfect for salads and side dishes. It’s also high in fiber and protein, making it a healthy choice.
Emmer is easy to cook, as it doesn’t require pre-soaking like some other grains.
Just add boiling water and simmer for about 20 minutes until the grains are tender and absorb the liquid.
You can also use emmer in place of rice in casseroles and stews or grind it into flour for baking. With its unique flavor and texture, emmer is a great substitute for orzo in any dish!
Short Grain Brown Rice
Short-grain brown rice is a great substitute for orzo pasta. It has the same texture and appearance and can be prepared and served the same way as orzo. Short-grain brown rice is gluten-free, unlike other alternative options, such as quinoa, couscous, farro, and orecchiette.
It also has a nutty flavor that pairs well with many dishes. Short-grain brown rice is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to orzo pasta but still want to maintain that same texture and appearance!
Fregola is a great substitute for orzo pasta because of its similar size and shape. The small semolina balls are close in size to that of an orzo and cook in the same amount of time. Furthermore, fregola is a healthy alternative for gluten-free people, as it is high in fiber and protein. It is also easy to find and can be used in many recipes that require orzo.
Acini di pepe
Acini di pepe is another choice to substitute for orzo due to its small, round shape and semolina wheat base. It looks almost like couscous and is perfect for light soups and pasta salads. Its unique shape helps it to catch and hold sauces or dressings, making it a great choice for frog eye salads.
To cook Acini di pepe, you need to bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook it for around 7-10 minutes or until the desired tenderness is reached. Drain the cooked pasta and enjoy your delicious dish!
An ancient Italian grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor, perfect for salads or side dishes, Farro has been around for centuries and can be found near the rice in the store. It can be used instead of rice or pasta in soups, salads, and slow-cooker dishes. Another benefit of farro is that it does not get mushy when cooked.
Farro can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as steamed, boiled, roasted, or baked. It can also be cooked slowly for more flavor and texture. Farro makes an excellent substitute for rice or orzo in any dish and adds more nutrition to your meal.
Bulgar wheat is a whole-grain wheat produced by parboiling and drying the wheat before packaging. When cooked, it has a delicate, nutty flavor and a chewy, tender texture. Bulgar wheat is an excellent substitute for orzo because it contains more fiber, fewer calories, and more micronutrients than other gluten-free options.
To cook bulgar wheat, it can be boiled in water or steamed. It can also be used as a side dish when cooked with meat or legumes. Bulgur has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, making it a great rice alternative.
Kamut is a type of ancient wheat grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It has high levels of protein, fiber, and minerals and is gluten-free. Kamut can be used in many dishes that require orzo, such as soups and salads.
For perfectly cooked kamut, begin by rinsing it and then boiling it in water for around 20 minutes or until soft. Kamut can also be steamed, baked, or boiled. It has a unique flavor and texture that makes it an excellent substitute for orzo in any recipe!
No matter your dietary needs, there is a perfect alternative to orzo pasta that will satisfy your taste buds. From short-grain brown rice to kamut, these substitutes are delicious and nutritious.
Tiny legumes with a chewy texture, ideal for soups, stews, and side dishes. Lentils are high in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients and make a great substitute for orzo.
To cook lentils, soak them overnight in cold water before cooking.
When ready to cook, simmer the lentils in boiling water until they’re soft and tender.
Lentils can also be steamed or roasted for added flavor. They make a great addition to salads, soups, and side dishes and are an excellent gluten-free alternative to orzo pasta.
A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor and fluffy texture – perfect for salads or side dishes. What makes Millet a great substitute for orzo pasta is that it cook quickly and does not require pre-soaking.
Bring a pot of water to an enthusiastic boil, then add the millet grain. Reduce the heat and simmer until it is cooked through, ending with softness that melts in your mouth!
Millet can also be cooked in milk to create a delicious, creamy side dish. It has a mild flavor and fluffy texture that makes it an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in any recipe!
An ancient grain that is high in fiber and protein – ideal for soups or burgers patties. Spelt is made from an ancient strain of wheat and can be substituted for orzo pasta in many recipes. Spelt is popular in Europe and is gaining traction in the United States. It is a healthy and tasty alternative to other grains and pasta.
To prepare Spelt, boil it in a pot of water and allow it to simmer until cooked through and soft. Spelt can also be steamed or roasted for extra flavor and texture. It is an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in soups, salads, and side dishes.
You can find Spelt in health food stores and many supermarkets.
A low-carb alternative to traditional rice made by grating cauliflower florets – great for risottos or fried “rice” dishes. Cauliflower rice is a great substitute for orzo pasta because it cooks quickly and has a mild flavor.
To prepare cauliflower rice, you can either grate it by hand or use a food processor to create small, rice-like pieces. Cauliflower rice can be cooked in the same way as traditional rice, or it can be steamed or roasted for added flavor. It is an ideal gluten-free alternative to orzo, which is high in fiber and low in carbs.
A grass-like plant native to North America with a nutty flavor – perfect for soups or casseroles. Wild rice is a type of long-grain rice that has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a great alternative to orzo pasta.
To cook wild rice, you need to boil a pot of water and add the grain. Simmer it over low heat until it is cooked through and tender. Wild rice can also be steamed or roasted for added flavor. It is an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in soups, salads, and side dishes.
Nutty-flavored grains with a chewy texture – great for salads or side dishes. Rye berries are a type of whole grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. They are high in fiber and protein, making them a great alternative to orzo pasta.
You can find Rye berries in health food stores and many supermarkets. Rye berries are popular in European cuisine and can be used to add texture and flavor to salads, soups, and side dishes.
To prepare rye berries, begin by bringing a pot of water to a boil and adding the grain. Then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until cooked through for an ideal tender texture.
Rye berries can also be steamed or roasted for added flavor and texture. It is an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in soups, salads, and side dishes.
Amaranth is an ancient gluten-free grain that is high in protein and fiber – perfect for soups or casseroles. Amaranth’s nutty flavor and chewy texture make it an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in many recipes. Amaranth is found in health food stores and many supermarkets and is popular in India and South America.
Treat your taste buds by boiling, steaming, or roasting amaranth! To get started on this scrumptious experience, bring a pot of water to boil before adding the grain. Then reduce the heat and cook it until its texture is tender yet firm. The options don’t end here; steaming or roasting can add even more flavor!
It is an ideal gluten-free alternative to orzo, which is high in fiber and low in carbs.
A tiny gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia – perfect for salads or side dishes. Teff grain is a type of whole grain that is high in fiber and protein, making it a great alternative to orzo pasta. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, which makes it an excellent addition to salads, soups, and side dishes.
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add the teff grain. Once that’s done, turn down the heat and let it simmer until it is cooked through with its texture made tender.
Teff grain can also be steamed or roasted for added flavor and texture. It is an ideal gluten-free alternative to orzo, which is high in fiber and low in carbs.
Buckwheat groats are a type of whole grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture – perfect for risotto or fried “rice” dishes. Buckwheat groats are high in protein and fiber, making them a great alternative to orzo pasta.
To prepare buckwheat groats, bring a pot full of water to a vigorous boil and add the grain. Simmer it over low heat until it is cooked through and tender.
Buckwheat groats can also be steamed or roasted for added flavor. It is an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in soups, risotto, and side dishes.
With these substitutes for orzo pasta, you can easily add texture and flavor to your meals without sacrificing nutrition. Each of these substitutes has its own unique characteristics that make it an ideal alternative to orzo pasta.
Whether you are looking for a gluten-free option or want to try something different, these substitutes are sure to make your meals more exciting.
So if you’re looking for substitutes for orzo pasta, try wild rice, rye berries, amaranth, teff grain, or buckwheat groats. These grains are high in protein and fiber and have a chewy texture and nutty flavor, making them an excellent alternative to orzo in soups, salads, and side dishes. Enjoy!