Middle Eastern Orzo Pilaf

What happens when the Middle East meets the Mediterranean? Only the greatest of things!

Okay, I am in love with all flavours of all regions of the world (literally), but Middle Eastern…AND Italian?! Two heavyweights in the culinary world and I’m here for it! Like a hundo P’s.

Let me break down this fusion for you. We have the following Italian/Mediterannean ingredients:

And those from the Middle East include:

Together, they are Chrissy and John. Rachel and Ross. Bey and Jay. Me and me.

The warm flavours of the spices paired with creamy orzo, sweet fruit and salty olives and feta…hawt damn! I’m drooling.

Oh, one more thing…This makes the perfect lunch the next day. Leftovers for the win!

Middle Eastern Orzo Pilaf

Serving Size: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo, rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I use cherries, currants and chopped apricots)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • 4-5 olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  • fresh herbs (cilantro and basil) for topping, (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the cumin, turmeric, paprika, coriander, nutmeg and pepper and stir until toasted, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the orzo and stir to coat with the spices. Once coated, pour in the broth, add 1/4 tsp salt and bring up to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 8 minutes, with the lid on.
  2. After the 8 minutes, quickly lift the lid, add the dried fruit, and stir to incorporate with the orzo. Place the lid back on and let stand for 2 more minutes off the heat.
  3. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the pan and stir to combine. Transfer the orzo to a serving dish and top with olives, feta, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and fresh herbs. Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

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