One-pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon

27 comments

Creamy one-pan lemon orzo and salmon is a delicious and nourishing weeknight dinner. It comes together in just a few simple steps, and is packed with zesty flavor.

One-pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon

One-pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon

Cozy one-pan meals are my favorite weeknight dinners to make. This lemony orzo and salmon skillet packs in carbs, fiber and protein all in one, and is full of delicious zesty flavor.

The salmon fillets are seared in a blend of spices and then finished off in a creamy lemon orzo made with coconut milk, peas, shredded kale and a few simple seasonings.

It’s simple enough for a weeknight meal and can easily be adjusted to your spice preference.

Lemon Orzo and Salmon

My one-pan coconut orzo salmon was one of my most popular recipes of 2023, so I had to create a newer version before the end of the year.

The lemon adds the perfect flavor to this skillet meal, and I love that it packs in so many nutrients in one dish. You can make this recipe with salmon or chicken depending on your preference. There’s really no going wrong with this one!

What you’ll need to make lemon orzo and salmon

Here’s what you’ll need for this one-pan dish:

  • salmon fillets, about 4-6 oz each. I removed the skin but you can keep them on if preferred
  • spices: paprika, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili flakes, salt & pepper
  • orzo
  • canned coconut milk– I always opt for full-fat coconut milk for extra creaminess
  • low-sodium vegetable broth
  • lemon juice and zest
  • shallots and garlic
  • shredded kale and peas– for extra veggies and added greens
  • olive oil
  • butter, vegan or dairy
  1. Start by seasoning the salmon fillets in paprika, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt & pepper then searing them in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the salmon from the pan and soak up any excess oil using a paper towel. Add in the butter with the shallots and garlic, then add in the orzo with the lemon zest and spices
  3. After a couple of minutes, add in the broth, coconut milk, kale and peas and let the orzo cook for 10-12 minutes
  4. Mix in the lemon juice and add the salmon fillets back into the pan. Finish cooking everything on a low flame for another 5-6 minutes
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley and extra lemon juice when ready to serve
One-pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon

Tips and modifications

1-Like many recipes, this dish is best when served right away. If you are preparing this ahead of time and reheating at dinner, I suggest following steps 1-5, but removing the pan from the flame once you add all of the liquids. 20 minutes before dinner time, you can simmer the pan to cook the orzo for 10-12 minutes, then add the salmon back into the pan to continue cooking.

2-If you prefer to have your salmon fully cooked through before adding it back into the orzo, you can cook each side for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat during step 1

3-I prefer this dish with a little heat from the chili flakes and black pepper. You can scale down on the amount depending on your spice preference

4-To change up the protein, this recipe can easily be made with chicken thighs or breast using the same methods.

This recipe is simple, yet flavorful, and truly elevates your weeknight dinner. I can’t wait for you guys to try it!

Other one-pan dinner ideas to try:

Coconut Curry Salmon

Baked Feta Pasta with Harissa

Easy Red Lentil Soup

One-pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon

5 from 29 votes
Course: Main
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Total time

35

minutes

Ingredients

  • Salmon
  • 4 4 salmon fillets, skin on or off

  • 1 tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1 tsp 1 paprika

  • 1 tsp 1 dry parsley

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 smoked paprika

  • Salt & pepper

  • Lemon orzo
  • 1 cup 1 dry orzo

  • 2 cups 2 shredded kale

  • 1 cup 1 frozen peas

  • 2 cups 2 low-sodium vegetable broth or water

  • 1 cup 1 full-fat coconut milk

  • 1 tbsp 1 butter, dairy or plant-based

  • 2 2 shallots, diced

  • 2 cloves 2 garlic, crushed

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 tbsp 1 lemon zest

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 chili flakes

  • Fresh parsley, to top

Directions

  • Combine the salmon seasonings together then rub the spices over each salmon fillet.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat then add in the olive oil. Sear the salmon for about 3-4 minutes per side, until browned. The fish doesn’t need to be fully cooked through since it will continue cooking in the orzo. Remove the salmon from the pan and soak up any excess oil using a paper towel.
  • Add the butter into the pan. Once melted, add in the diced shallots and garlic. Toss together for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add in the orzo, salt, pepper, chili flakes and lemon zest then toss together.
  • Pour in the broth, coconut milk, peas and kale. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer on low for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. I added an additional 1/4 tsp of salt, pepper and chili flakes, but season to your preference.
  • Pour in the lemon juice and stir together. Add the salmon fillets into the orzo and cover the pan. Finish cooking for about 5-6 more minutes on medium/low.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon juice before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @somethingnutritious on Instagram- I’d love to see your creations!

27 Comments

  1. Lauren

    This is a fantastic, easy, healthy recipe that is my go to on busy nights. Thanks so much!

  2. Hi, do you have the nutritional information for this recipe?

    • Hi Emma, unfortunately I don’t have the nutritional info calculated for my recipes. If you copy the URL into MyFitnessPal, it should give you the breakdown of the meal!

  3. Helene Garber

    Can you please email me the nutritional information for One-Pan Lemon Orzo and Salmon?

  4. Do you think I could sub Pearl couscous for the orzo?

  5. Can you freeze this ?

    • Hey Jack, I’ve never frozen cooked orzo before but I don’t see why not! You may have to add a little more liquid when defrosting.

  6. Hi there,
    I have just found this website and love the recipes 😍
    I would love to recreate this one, but don’t know what the quantities (cups) are in grams?
    Can anyone help, please??

  7. Made this last night but waited to add frozen peas until the final cooking step. This kept them nice and green. We did not have kale or spinach, but it would have been a nice addition. Even without the healthy greens, it’s a luscious dish and very simple especially if you have frozen salmon in the house.

  8. Made tonight for dinner, delish!

  9. Can’t wait to try this! I’m wondering if it will work with rice instead of orzo?

    • The rice will likely change the cook time, but I think it could work. I haven’t personally tried it, but would suggest cooking the rice for at least 15-18 minutes before adding the fish back in.

  10. Can I skip or substitute the coconut milk (due to coconut allergy)?

  11. Delicious! Made this for my fiance and I last night and he raved about it! Thank you for the recipe!

  12. Jessica

    Amazing flavors! Loved this for a lighter comfort dish!

  13. Tasty recipe. Added a couple more veggie varieties (spinach, bell pepper & mushrooms) & kicked up the red pepper as I love spice. Will definitely make it again!

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