Tex Mex Orzo (or rice for gluten free)

Thought for the week:

Happiness doesn’t come from doing what we like to do but from liking what we have to do. –excerpt from The Art of Living

Orzo is the little tiny pasta that resembles rice.  There are lots of different ways to fix it (of course!), we’re going to do one of those.  The gluten free version is to use rice instead of orzo.

Cilantro pesto is very quick to make and a great addition to a lot of dishes: roll-ups, rice, fish, in a sauce…… You won’t need the whole recipe for this dish, but I’m going to give a couple more this week that you’ll need it for.  So put it in a jar and put a layer of olive oil on the top to preserve it, then stick it in the fridge.

Tex Mex Orzo

Tex Mex Orzo (or rice)

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 8

Served warm or at room temperature, this might become a regular on your table.


  • 1/2 - 3/4 pound orzo pasta, cooked (or rice for gluten free)
  • 1/2 - 1 stick unsalted butter*
  • 1 cup pico de gallo (click here, for a recipe to make your own)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro pesto
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • Cilantro Pesto
  • 3 cups tightly packed chopped cilantro with stems
  • ¾ cup pine nuts, toasted pepitas, pistachios, or nut of your choice
  • ¼ cup Parmesan or Mexican grating cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. While orzo is warm orzo, stir in butter until it melts.
  2. Stir in the pico de gallo and cilantro pesto.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt as necessary.
  4. Note: *To reduce the fat, substitute 1/8 - 1/4 cup chicken broth for half of the butter.
  5. Cilantro Pesto
  6. Place all ingredients except the oil in the bowl of a food processor, and process until everything is minced finely.
  7. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until everything becomes a fairly smooth mixture.