Here’s a dish you can prepare with your Instant Pot as a main course or as a side dish...Lemon Orzo with Peas! The first time I prepared this, it became such a great hit that my kids wanted this in their lunch box too.
That for me is a big compliment and I had to oblige. But I tried it with the Instant Pot the second time and that was even better and inspired me to share this lovely recipe with my readers.
With simple ingredients and an even simpler procedure, this recipe will be a welcome option as a weekday meal.
I like to have it as a main course but given how light it is on your appetite, it can also act as a side for a larger meal you are planning.
With its chewy texture, Orzo grains taste the best when you infuse a lot of flavors around every grain. For this recipe, I have used mint leaves and thyme along with the flavor from lemon and it turned out very well.
It is also important when you add the flavors. I added them when I sauteed the Orzo grains to extract the most flavors from mint and thyme.
What is Orzo?
I had the same question years ago when I first tasted this at a friend’s place. It looks strikingly similar to rice in its looks, but yet it is just pasta made from white flour or sometimes even whole grains.
There are several ways to prepare Orzo such as soup, casserole, pilaf or salad. Soup and salad are my favorite ways to cook them and today we look at how to prepare a simple, down to earth salad with peas and a hint of lemon.
A few Tips to cook Lemon Orzo
- Saute them in olive oil before starting to boil them.
- Add the spices and condiments like mint leaves, thyme, and even garlic when you saute.
- Pour in vegetable broth or water.
- Add frozen peas and start the cooking process with the Instant Pot.
- In the end add lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil leaves.
Is Orzo gluten-free?
Since Orzo is a type of pasta, it is generally not gluten-free. It is made with wheat flour and semolina flour. But there are special gluten-free options available, but I have not tried them as of yet.
If you are following a strict gluten-free diet, please make sure you find the gluten-free version.
The shelf life of lemon orzo
If you have leftovers from this recipe, you have nothing to worry about….The leftover Lemon Orzo can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
So if you are the type to plan all your meals for the week ahead of time, this will be a good option as you can prepare well ahead of time and claim your weekdays back!
How to make lemon orzo in Instant Pot
To begin with, you have to press the ‘saute’ button and add olive oil to the inner pot. As the oil heats up, saute garlic until it turns slightly golden.
Then add orzo and saute for 30 seconds or so and make sure it doesn't burn.
Proceed with adding the rest of the ingredients (thyme, mint leaves and frozen peas) except the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir well.
Add water or vegetable broth and salt.
Stir well. After the sauteing is complete, it is time to start the pressure cooking process. Close the lid on the pot, and turn the valve from VENTING to SEALING position.
Set the pot to MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK (High Pressure) and set the timer to 4 minutes.
After 5 mins under pressure, use the quick release option before opening the instant pot lid.
Add lemon zest and lemon juice stir nicely then serve warm or cold.
I hope you will share my excitement about this new style of pasta salad. Try it today and if you like it, please rate or comment below.
Here are my few more Instant Pot Recipes
Lemon Orzo With Peas (Instant Pot)
- Press the ‘saute’ button on the Instant Pot and add olive oil to the inner pot.
- Saute garlic until it turns slightly golden. Then add the Orzo pasta and saute just for 30 seconds to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Add chopped mint leaves, dried thyme, black pepper, and frozen peas and give a nice stir.
- Add water or vegetable broth and salt. Stir well.
- Press ‘cancel’ on the Instant Pot and close the lid. Turn the valve from VENTING to the SEALING position.
- Set the pot to MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK (High Pressure) and set the timer to 4 minutes.
- After 5 mins under pressure, use the quick release option and open the instant pot lid when the silver button on the lid drops.
- Add lemon zest, juice and stir well to get an even mix.
- Lemon Orzo is ready! Serve warm paired with breadsticks for a sumptuous meal!
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