Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

A vegetable packed orzo dish with summer flavor and cheesy goodness. Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo...

A vegetable packed orzo dish with summer flavor and cheesy goodness.

Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

It’s not a hard sell here: marinara sauce, cheese, basil, orzo, and perfectly roasted, tender vegetables.

Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

The key here is chopping the vegetables very small so they all roast quickly, evenly, and every pillowy bite of orzo has a little veggie in it. No more crunchy, big vegetables that turn off our little eaters (and adults, too!) – the vegetables flavor and enhance this dish in many ways.

You can customize this dish in the winter by using winter veggies like cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, too, and skipping the basil and instead using some grated Parmesan cheese or some sage.

Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

If you wanted to keep this closer to a one pot dish, then just saute the vegetables in the same pot you assemble the orzo, sauce, and cheese and skip the roasting process. I love roasting vegetables, because it’s hands-free, but that’s just me.

Also, this does go fabulously with some pesto on top! And crusty bread on the side for dipping. But do you!

Cheesy Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large carrots, small diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar tomato basil sauce (I love Rao’s)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • a bunch sliced basil, for garnish
  • red pepper flakes for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, add the zucchini, onion, peppers, and carrots.Drizzle with olive oil, season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Spread in an even layer on the sheet. Bake for 15to 20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
  • While vegetables cook, prepare the orzo. Boil a pot of water and once boiling, add the orzo. Reduce heat to low to a simmer and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
  • Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooked vegetables and set aside. Place a large, wide, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the rest of the vegetables, cooked orzo, and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese, stir, and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes or until mozzarella on top is melted and gooey. Uncover and immediately garnish with basil, red pepper flakes, and reserved cooked vegetables. Serve warm.

with love, Ali

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Recipe Rating


  • Do you roast the carrots with the zucchini, onion, and peppers? I don't see those in the recipe so I assume you roast them at the same time? And dice them finely? They can take a long time to soften when I roast them with a chicken or something!
  • What becomes of the 1/3 cup of veggies that is set aside in #3? Why does it have to be a oven safe skillet if it doesn't go in the oven??