We’re ticking ALL the boxes with this vegetarian Orzo Bake recipe. It’s a easy, zero fuss and practically hands-off dinner, so you can get on with other things while this midweek winner does its own thing in the oven.
The butternut squash and halloumi work so well together and I love that this is something a little different. I hope you do too!
If pasta bakes are your thing, this special edition Orzo Bake is going to be right up your street. Our seasonings are simple – garlic, paprika and pesto, while the combination of butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, halloumi and red onion give this veggie pasta dish a meaty consistency and tonnes of complementing flavours.
This is a great meal for vegetarians, or if you’re simply exploring more meat-free recipes. If you’ve never cooked with orzo before, you MUST give it a try! It’s a really versatile and delicious type of pasta (a similar shape to rice) that works perfectly in a bake-style dish.
Why you’ll love this recipe
⭐️ Easy hands-off cooking
⭐️ Fresh and delicious
⭐️ Low cost and no faff
About this Butternut Squash & Halloumi Orzo Bake
As with my other vegetarian pasta recipes, including my Feta and Tomato Pasta, my Simple Macaroni Cheese or Courgette Lasagne, I have made sure there is so much flavour that you won’t miss the meat.
The inclusion of halloumi – our favourite squeaky, meaty cheese – as well as easy-to-cook vegetable butternut squash, means it’s satisfying, hearty and comforting, not to mention tasty. Apart from the onions, there’s also NO CHOPPING involved if you use pre-prepared butternut squash like I do.
If you’re new to orzo or haven’t used it much before, it is known in Italy as ‘little pasta’, and was traditionally used in soups. It’s shaped a little like rice but tastes like pasta. It works well as a bake like this one or my Broccoli Orzo Bake, or even in the slow cooker, like my Lamb Orzo Stew.
What you’ll need
- Red onion – I like to use a fresh red onion here for wedges but you could even use frozen onions if you prefer
- Butternut squash – I make this even easier by using the prepared, frozen kind, but fresh is fine too
- Garlic – Fresh or shortcut type is fine (1x clove is equal to 1x tsp of paste/chopped/minced type)
- Olive oil
- Dry orzo
- Vegetable stock – Cubed is fine
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make it
1. Drizzle oil over the onion, butternut squash, garlic and paprika and bake according to the recipe below.
2. Add the orzo, stock, tomatoes and pesto, mix well and sit the halloumi on top. Bake as per the recipe.
- Meat – If you want to include meat or extra veg, go ahead.
- Omit the halloumi – to make vegan.
In the fridge Orzo can becoming a little gloopy after you’ve initially cooked it, so add a splash of water or an ice cube before you reheat it to stop it drying out.
In the freezer Orzo is always at its best when cooked and eaten immediately, but that’s not to say it won’t still be delicious if it’s out of the freezer the texture can just become very stodgy. See the tip above for reheating.
This dish could sometimes benefit from a stir once the orzo has been in the oven for 10-15 minutes, but I try to avoid it as it means stirring the halloumi in rather than it staying crispy on top. If do you think it needs a stir, try to do it carefully to leave the halloumi on top if you can!
The quantities in this recipe should be good but if you feel as though your orzo is drying out, add a little extra water or stock and stir. Don’t overdo it – just a little at a time.
As this is a bake and we don’t need to do anything on the hob with this recipe, it’s best to use a roasting dish that’s suitable for the oven. It would also work well in your favourite one pan.. pan!
Orzo cooks quite quickly, so it might not translate well. But if you only have other types and you fancy a pasta bake, you could try my Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake, my Chicken & Bacon Pasta Bake, or my 30 minute Meatball Pasta Bake.
Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.
Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).
Butternut Squash & Halloumi Orzo Bake
- 1 Red onion Peeled and cut into wedges.
- 500 g Butternut squash Prepared, frozen cubes if possible.
- 3 Garlic cloves Peeled and crushed.
- 2tsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 300 g Dry orzo
- 700 ml Vegetable stock
- 250 g Cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Pesto
- 225 g Halloumi Cut into 2cm cubes.
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- In a roasting dish, put the onion, butternut squash and garlic and drizzle over the oil, the paprika and plenty of salt and pepper. Toss everything so it's all coated. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Add the orzo, vegetable stock, cherry tomatoes and pesto. Mix well and then sit the cubes of halloumi on top.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes, uncovered until the halloumi is golden and the orzo is cooked through. (Check at 15 minutes, the orzo cooking time can vary depending on the brand. Return to the oven if it needs longer. If it's drying out, add a splash of water.)
Very very tasty…. Easy to make and enjoyed by
everyone. Going to double up and make it for our Easter get together with the family! (A few are vegetarian)
Rachel Shore says
Just tried this and it was so flavourful and so super easy to prepare. Really really enjoyed it and it has made my mind up: I’m buying your book! Not made a dish of yours I haven’t enjoyed, thank you!
Sarah Rossi says
Hope you love the book Rachel!
My family don’t like butternut squash, what would be a good replacement veg? Love your recipes!
Wow, l have just made this and it is so easy to make and tastes amazing.
Any suggestions if we don’t have pesto?! I missed it
Off the shopping lsit
Another winner ! My 7 year old asked for seconds thanks Sarah for giving me another reciepe to add to the must try again list x
I made this last night and oh my, it is so delicious! Super easy to do (I actually hate cooking). My husband and the kids all ate it. Then I had some leftovers that I used for work the next day and it still tasted amazing – I could eat this all day.
Such an amazing simple tasty dinner. A firm week day favourite in our house, please keep the veggie recipes coming. We love them Sarah! 🥘 ♥️