This one-pot Shrimp Orzo with Lemon and Asparagus is bright, flavorful, healthy, and refreshingly simple.
This delightful recipe was born out of necessity.
Due to a broken stovetop, I was relying on one, small electric burner to do all my non-oven cooking.
The pasta, asparagus, and shrimp all are made in one handy pot, meaning you only have one pot to worry about washing at the end of the meal.
- Fresh lemon zest and juice make the shrimp pasta bright and zippy.
- Asparagus gives it a spring feel.
- The juicy shrimp are a refreshing change from standard weeknight chicken (not that I’d ever complain about having Chicken Pesto Pasta).
This healthy shrimp orzo feels impressive and special but uses simple ingredients and takes less than an hour to prepare.
This one pot meal is both a warrior for weeknight dinners and a dinner party-approved recipe.
5 Star Review
“This recipe is quick and super simple to make – perfect for a weeknight! Everyone who has tried it has asked me for the recipe!”— Jacqueline —
How to Make Shrimp Orzo with Asparagus
Every bite of this dish is pure sunshine.
The orzo deliciously clings to the shrimp, and its creamy, almost risotto-like texture is truly addictive. You won’t believe you haven’t added cream.
- Shrimp. You can use either fresh shrimp (I like peel and eat for ease of preparation), or for ultimate ease, swap frozen raw shrimp that already peeled and deveined. (Frozen shrimp are also perfect for this Garlic Shrimp Pasta!)
- Orzo. I used whole wheat orzo pasta, which is quick-cooking and offers more fiber and nutrients than white pasta. It’s a small change that makes the recipe healthier, for no additional effort.
- Asparagus. Fresh asparagus tastes like springtime. It adds a wonderful texture and is packed with fiber and folate.
- Chicken Stock or Broth. Using chicken stock or broth as the cooking liquid adds extra flavor to the dish.
- Lemon Zest + Juice. For brightness and pop.
- Parmesan. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese melts into the liquid, creating a scrumptious sauce that coats each ingredient in cheesy flavor.
- Parsley. Adds freshness and an additional pop of green color.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for optional spice.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
- Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and orzo.
- Pour in the broth and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus. Cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, part of the Parmesan, parsley, and shrimp. Add the remaining Parmesan.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through and the orzo is al dente. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. You can freeze shrimp orzo. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, chop the onion, trim the asparagus, and mince the garlic. Refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making this Mediterranean shrimp orzo.
- Wooden Spoon. For stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot.
- Cheese Grater. Grating your own cheese is worth the extra effort.
For your next busy weeknight, when dinnertime is on the line, try this fast, yummy shrimp orzo pasta. It’s creamy, cheesy, and packed with splendid flavor!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Since this recipe tastes just as good cold as it does warm, shrimp orzo salad would be delicious. Check out this Shrimp Salad too.
To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free orzo. Note that the orzo may cook more quickly or end up mushy (a reality of many gluten free pastas).
If you don’t have Parmesan on hand, you could try making this as a shrimp orzo feta recipe instead. Omit the Parmesan (or reduce), then stir in 4 to 6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese at the end, according to your taste. Goat cheese would be scrumptious too.
Shrimp Orzo with Lemon and Asparagus
- 1 1/4 pounds large raw shrimp 31 to 35 count, peeled and deveined (use fresh or frozen, thawed shrimp)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta I like DeLallo
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 large lemon zest and juice (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus additional for serving
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the shrimp in a small bowl, sprinkle with pepper and salt, and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir in the orzo. Increase the heat to medium high and cook the orzo until it's lightly browned and smells toasty, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and 1/2 cup water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan so that you loosen any stuck pasta. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan again. Add the asparagus, recover, then continue cooking until the pasta is just becoming tender, about 10 minutes. The pasta will look a little liquidy. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, parsley, and the seasoned shrimp. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top.
- Bake the pasta, uncovered, just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 8 – 10 minutes. The shrimp will be pink, fairly firm, and opaque—do not overcook. Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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