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We’re ticking ALL the boxes with this vegetarian Orzo Bake recipe. It’s a easy, zero fuss and practically hands-off vegetarian family meal, 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!

An oven dish filled with Butternut Squash and Halloumi Orzo Bake with cherry tomatoes.

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 Halloumi & Butternut Squash Orzo recipe

⭐️ Easy hands-off cooking

⭐️ Fresh and delicious

⭐️ Low cost and no faff


Orzo with tomatoes an halloumi with butternut squash for a quick and healthy family dinner.

How we came up with this recipe

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 on the hob, like with me Marry Me Chicken Orzo, as a bake like this one or my Broccoli Orzo Bake, or even in the slow cooker, like my Lamb Orzo Stew.


Halloumi and Butternut Squash Orzo Ingredients notes

Ingredients for Butternut Squash and Halloumi Orzo Bake laid on a counter.
  • 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)
  • Vegetable stock – Cubed is fine

How to make Halloumi and Butternut Squash Orzo Bake

Step 1 of the recipe Butternut Squash and Halloumi Orzo Bake.

1. Drizzle oil over the onion, butternut squash, garlic and paprika and bake according to the recipe below.

Step 2 of the recipe Butternut Squash and Halloumi Orzo Bake.

2. Add the orzo, stock, tomatoes and pesto, mix well and sit the halloumi on top. Bake as per the recipe.


Substitutions

  • Meat – If you want to include meat or extra veg, go ahead.
  • Omit the halloumi – to make vegan.

Leftovers

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.

Top tip

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!

MOre halloumi recipes…

FAQs

How do I make sure my orzo doesn’t dry out?

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.

What is a good pan for this dish?

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!

Would this work with a different type of pasta?

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.

If it’s the combination of halloumi and pasta you’re after, here’s my 15 minute Halloumi Pasta recipe here (with spaghetti).

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).

5 from 60 votes

Halloumi & Butternut Squash Orzo Bake

This simple Halloumi and Butternut Squash Orzo Bake is an easy, hands-off recipe that’s delicious and hearty. It’s a perfect vegetarian midweek dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.)

Notes

Stirring: 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 you think it needs a stir, try to do it carefully to leave the halloumi on top if you can!

Nutrition

Calories: 581kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 25gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1459mgPotassium: 804mgFiber: 6gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 14362IUVitamin C: 43mgCalcium: 669mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
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22 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was soooo nice! I love the crispy halloumi on top. I found that the tomatoes were not quite soft enough and were very hot inside, so next time I may cut them in half first.

  2. 5 stars
    Tried this the other day, had leftovers last night- its become one of my fave meals! I have MS which means I get very fatigued and need low effort recipes- I love how you just put everything in one dish and shove it in the oven, so easy. Thank you 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for the first time tonight – It’s absolutely brilliant! Super easy to prepare and a more exciting flavour profile than my typical tomato and mozzarella pasta bake. 🍝 thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Another favourite in our house (gotta love halloumi!) We probably have this once a month and it’s great for our “meat free Mondays” I had to add a bit more stock than stated but otherwise it’s great!

  5. 5 stars
    Recommended to me by a friend and very grateful. This was delicious! I swapped out the orzo to pre-cooked konjac rice and needed to half the stock added. I also included some tomatoes and red pepper that I had confit’ed previously. Will be making again.

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! I used truffle pesto and added green beans and it was winner. My usual meat loving husband loved it too. Another winning recipe x

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious! I added cooked rice instead of the orzo (as 50% of the family are GF) and mozzarella balls instead of halloumi (as that’s all we had). Tasted great 👍🏻

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! We have a fussy teen who rarely cooks & eats the same dinner. Nevertheless she prepared and cooked this easy to follow recipe & ate it all! (except the tomatoes but small wins 😅). We couldn’t find butternut squash so swapped for sweet potato. This is another dinner winner! Super yummy 😋