Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake

close up shot of broccoli cheddar orzo bake on plate

This Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake is a simple, delicious, and comforting one-pot, vegetarian meal that is cozy and delicious. 

  • Author: Maryea
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner recipes
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black black pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 pound dry orzo pasta (whole wheat if you can find it) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine* (Note 1) 
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup milk* (Note 2)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese* (Note 3) 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat the avocado oil in a large, oven-safe pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, orzo, broccoli, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, broth, bay leaf, garlic powder, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer 8-10 minutes until the orzo is al dente, stirring often.
  5. Once the orzo is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, milk, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses overtop of the casserole.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Turn on the oven’s broiler and broil 1-2 minutes, until the cheese on top is starting to brown and become crispy. Enjoy!


Note 1: If you prefer to not use wine, just use more vegetable broth in its place.

Note 2: I used whole milk for this recipe, but you can use 2%, skim, or fat-free milk also. Whole milk yields a richer result.

Note 3: For the creamiest, best melting result, shred your own cheese from a block. In a pinch, preshredded cheese will work also.

I used this Zest 4 qt cast iron Dutch Oven from Italic and it worked beautifully!


Keywords: Broccoli orzo bake