December 12, 2018
Risotto ingredients

Mediterranean Orzo

by Berkeley Wellness  

Orzo means “barley” in Italian, although it is actually a rice-shaped pasta. Olives are a part of a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, and because they are so rich in taste (and salty!), you only need a few to add intense flavor to this dish.


  • 1 cup orzo pasta (6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup Gaeta or Calamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (4 ounces)


1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the bell pepper and zucchini, and cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, tarragon, and salt, and cook until the tomatoes begin to collapse, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil.

5. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the drained orzo and the cheese, and toss to combine.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 300 calories, 9g total fat (3g saturated), 10mg cholesterol, 4g dietary fiber, 44g carbohydrate, 14g protein, 840mg sodium.

Good source of: folate, thiamin, vitamin C.