bowl of cheesy broccoli orzo

Want to know what I find difficult? Besides finding a hair length I like, painting my own toes, and sleeping on airplanes?

Finding a good side dish recipe.

I’m the kind of person who can sit down with a big bowl of soup or piece of lasagna and be just fine, but Ben likes himself some options at dinnertime. Most nights though, after a long day of work (ie functioning brain cells are at their daily minimum,) all I can think of is tossing together a side salad. Easy but slightly boring.

cheesy broccoli orzo on a plate topped with sauteed chicken

The recipe for Cheesy Broccoli Orzo though? Easy and totally UN-boring! This creamy, cheesy, broccoli-studded pasta side dish cooks up in one pan in minutes. Serve with chicken, pork, or a huge salad. Honestly it doesn’t really matter – Cheesy Broccoli Orzo will steal the show.

overhead photo of a bowl of cheesy broccoli orzo

How to Make this Recipe

Start by boiling a cup of orzo for a three minutes. Orzo is pasta that looks like grains of rice. Use gluten free if you need it!


After three minutes, add broccoli florets that have been chopped small, then continue to cook until the pasta is al dente.


Drain the mixture very well — broccoli florets are notorious for holding onto water — then return the broccoli and orzo to the pot.


Here’s where the magic happens. To the pot add shredded cheddar cheese, grated parmesan cheese, plus a pat of butter.

Now, I am NOT the cheese nor butter police, so if you want to add more cheese or butter? GO FOR IT!


Drizzle in milk, any kind, then stir until smooth and creamy.


Season with salt to taste (may not need it) then dish up and dine. I hope you love this incredibly simple yet super tasty side dish – enjoy!

bowl of cheesy broccoli orzo

Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

5/5 (7 REVIEWS)


Cheesy Broccoli Orzo is a crowd-pleasing, quick and easy side dish recipe for dinner. Serve with chicken, pork, or a big salad!


serves 3-4

  • 1 cup gluten free or regular orzo (dish will not be GF if using regular orzo)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • salt, to taste


  1. Add orzo to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then add chopped broccoli and cook for 2 more minutes, or until orzo is tender. Drain well (broccoli florets are notorious for holding onto water) then return to the pot. Add cheeses, butter, and 1/4 cup milk then stir well and add more milk if needed. Season with salt to taste.


  • Feel free to add more shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and/or butter to your liking. You may need a touch more milk to get the pasta smooth and creamy.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

photo collage of cheesy broccoli orzo