An Italian salmon and orzo recipe combines salmon, a healthy protein source, with orzo pasta and is typically seasoned with Italian herbs and flavors. It’s a balanced and flavorful meal that’s perfect for those looking for a nutritious option.
This particular salmon and orzo recipe is a light version of a heavier Italian dish; one my whole family loves! Even those who don’t like salmon enjoy this meal. Flavorful, quick, and easy, this unique dish will delight the pickiest of eaters! This recipe is now in my regular rotation (about twice/month). It’s a good recipe for company too, especially when you are short on time. When people ask for the recipe, you know it’s a good one!
One Pot Salmon and Orzo
- 1 1/2 lb salmon We recommend you always use fresh salmon!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil virgin
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 3 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup orzo pasta Some people like to use whole wheat orzo, whichever you prefer works!
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded Use fresh, not dried - you will taste the difference!
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley (plus more for garnish)
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute 3 minutes until translucent. Then add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add orzo to skillet, stirring to coat the pasta, then saute for about one minute. Add the can of basil, garlic & oregano tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and broth. Stir altogether, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, simmering 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the parmesan cheese into the mixture.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then nestle into the orzo. Cover the skillet and simmer 8-10 minutes or until salmon is fully cooked and pasta is al dente. Once the salmon is cooked, you will be able to easily remove the skin from the underside of the salmon.
- With a spatula, cut the salmon into the mixture in the pot into bite-sized pieces.
- Stir the chopped parsley into the mixture.
- Garnish with extra parsley and serve immediately.
Skin or No Skin on Salmon?
A lot of people don’t know that they can eat the skin of salmon. in fact, it’s quite nutritious as it contains healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for heart and brain health.
The decision to remove the skin from salmon is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy it while others do not. In addition, whether or not you choose to remove the skin can vary depending on the cooking method and the desired flavor and texture of the dish. This particular salmon and orzo recipe calls for the removal of the skin. Because the salmon is cut into small pieces and mixed with the orzo, leaving the skin on really wouldn’t work well with this particular method of preparation. There are a few reasons such as salmon skin can become chewy when cooked, especially if not crisped up, and also removing it provides a cleaner and more refined appearance for the dish.
Little Known Facts About Orzo Pasta
New to using orzo pasta? Here are some fun facts for you.
Not Actually Rice
Orzo is often called “rice-shaped pasta,” but it’s not rice at all. It is a type of pasta, usually made from wheat semolina or durum wheat. However, if you don’t find orzo with the other pasta in the supermarket, check the aisle with the rice. It’s often placed there by mistake.
Meaning of Orzo
The name “orzo” comes from the Italian word for barley, which it resembles in shape. In some languages, it’s also called “risoni,” which means “large grains of rice.”
Orzo is a versatile pasta that can be used in a wide range of dishes, including soups, salads, and pilafs. Its small size and rice-like appearance make it a popular choice for many different types of recipes.
Orzo is commonly used in Greek cuisine, where it is often found in dishes like “Giouvetsi” (a baked pasta dish with meat and tomato sauce).
Orzo is sometimes confused with couscous because of its small, grain-like appearance. However, they are entirely different – couscous is made from crushed wheat, while orzo is pasta.
Cold Pasta Salads
Orzo is an especially popular choice for cold pasta salads. Its small size and ability to absorb flavors make it a great option for creating refreshing and flavorful salads.
Pairing with Seafood
Orzo pairs exceptionally well with seafood, and it’s commonly used in dishes featuring shrimp, mussels, or salmon.
Orzo pasta is not only delicious but also a versatile ingredient that you can use in numerous culinary creations, from savory dishes to desserts. Its unique shape and quick cooking time make it a favorite among home cooks and professional chefs alike.
FAQs About a Light Italian Salmon and Orzo Recipe
Below are some common questions our readers ask about a light Italian salmon and orzo recipe:
Can I use any type of salmon for this recipe?
Yes, you can use various types of salmon, including Atlantic, Pacific, or even steelhead trout, depending on your preference and availability. Either fresh or frozen salmon fillets work well for this recipe, but we tend to like fresh fish best.
Can I substitute orzo with a different type of pasta?
While orzo is traditional for this recipe, you can substitute it with other small pasta shapes like couscous or even quinoa if you prefer a different texture.
Are there any good vegetable additions to this dish?
Yes, you can add vegetables like asparagus, spinach, or roasted red peppers to enhance the flavor and nutritional content of this salmon and orzo dish. Simply sauté or roast the vegetables and mix them with the orzo.
Can I make this recipe in advance?
Yes, you can prepare this recipe in advance. It will stay well in the refrigerator for about two days.
Is this recipe suitable for a low-carb diet?
While orzo is a type of pasta that is not low in carbohydrates, you can reduce the carb content by using a lower-carb pasta. Alternatively, you can substitute cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for the orzo.
What wine pairs well with this dish?
A crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complements the flavors of this Italian salmon and orzo dish nicely. If you prefer red wine, a light Pinot Noir can work as well.
How can I make this dish dairy-free?
If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, you can use a dairy-free alternative like nutritional yeast or a vegan cheese substitute.