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This one-pot Shrimp Orzo with Lemon and Asparagus is bright, flavorful, healthy, and refreshingly simple.

A pot of pasta, vegetables, and seafood with lemon

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.

On the bright side, only having access to one burner at a time inspired me to bulk up my collection of delicious one-pot recipes like this shrimp orzo (and Chicken Broccoli Ziti).

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.

Shrimp orzo lemon and asparagus in a pot

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.

Tip!

If you love risotto, be sure to check out the One Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo Risotto in my cookbook, and this classic Mushroom Risotto.


The Ingredients

  • 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.

What is Orzo?

Although it resembles rice, orzo is a noodle (a.k.a. a small variety of pasta). It is prepared the same way as any other type of pasta. Orzo is commonly used in Greek food and Italian food.

  • 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.

Market Swap

Shrimp orzo is yummy with any of your favorite fresh herbs. Try fresh basil, or if you don’t have fresh available, a pinch or dried oregano.

  • Red Pepper Flakes. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for optional spice.

Shrimp Orzo Add-Ons

If you’d like to add extra veggies to your lemon shrimp orzo, here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Tomato. Try shrimp orzo tomato for a summery spin. Add halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes with the shrimp. You’ll also love this tomato Farro Risotto.
  • Peas. Add a handful of frozen peas at the end. No need to thaw them first.
  • Spinach. Shrimp orzo spinach would be tasty. Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach with the shrimp.
  • Mushroom. Sautéed Mushrooms would make an excellent addition to this dish.

The Directions

  1. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  2. Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and orzo.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through and the orzo is al dente. ENJOY!
Healthy shrimp orzo with asparagus and lemon

Storage Tips

  • 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.

What to Serve with Shrimp Orzo

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

Can I Eat Shrimp Orzo as a Salad?

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.

How Can I Make Gluten Free Shrimp Orzo?

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).

Can I Use a Different Cheese?

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

4.75 from 28 votes
A bright one-pot shrimp orzo with asparagus. Perfect for busy weeknights. Simple and delicious—even the orzo gets cooked right in the pot!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 23gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 126mgPotassium: 439mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 931IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 167mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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54 Comments

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    1. Hi Cait! I haven’t experimented with freezing this dish myself, but I think you could try it. Once thawed, I think it could be gently rewarmed in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi Muffy! I haven’t experimented with making the ahead of time. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  1. This recipe is quick and super simple to make – perfect for a weeknight! It makes enough to meal prep or serve a whole gathering. Everyone who has tried it has asked me for the recipe, so bonus points for making me feel like a Bona fide chef!5 stars

  2. This recipe is ok and I think I will make it again but it needs more spice in it for me. I use a cajan spice blend that we really like so next time I will add that because its a little bland for us. It was my first time cooking orzo which is why I wanted to try this.4 stars

  3. This is a fantastic recipe! Love it and did not change a thing..no reason to! Sauteing the onion and adding the orzo to toast gives it so much flavor..Definitely a favorite!5 stars

  4. When my 3-year-old asked for seconds of this — after having an adult-size portion to begin with — I’ll call it a hit. This was DEFINITELY a hit. I loved clean-up too! Your blog has quickly become my favorite one to cook from, and I appreciate so much all the YUMMY, healthy, and easy recipes you share!5 stars

  5. I love a good one pot meal, and this recipe is one that is on regular rotation in my house. Easy prep, minimal clean-up, and with bright delicious flavors as tasty as any restaurant dish. Perfect for a busy weeknight or for meal prep.5 stars

  6. Erin, I love your recipes, but unfortunately there are so many ads that I can’t even read through a recipe without having to reset the page because it keeps jumping to the beginning. This seems to be a new problem. I hope you can find a way to resolve it so I can continue to follow you!

    1. Hi Jo! I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, ! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  7. The dish was overall pretty good. Definitely needed more salt and possibly other flavor like Cajun seasoning which would work well. Would not recommend fresh parsley on top it was a bit off putting from the other flavors.4 stars

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