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Butternut Squash Orzo

This Butternut Squash Orzo is packed with creamy butternut squash sauce, crumbled bacon, and parmesan cheese. It’s incredibly easy to make and can be served as either an entree or a side!

(This recipe for Butternut Squash Orzo was originally posted in November 2010, but was updated with new photos in 2018).

Overhead view of bowl of butternut squash orzo with grated parmesan and crumbled bacon on marble surface with glass of wine in the background and recipe title at top

Just because I’ve declared I’m done whipping up new recipes with pumpkin for the season doesn’t mean I’m over orange foods all together. Nope. For some reason squash and sweet potatoes don’t stay relegated to the months of September, October, and November, like pumpkin does. I blame pumpkin spice and it’s holiday appeal… Once Thanksgiving hits, Christmas flavors come into play and it seems like pumpkin is left behind. But sweet potato and squash? Those are cool all the way through winter. Thank goodness.

It’s funny, though. Orange foods are most definitely my favorite foods (think about it: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, mangos, and some CHEESE. OK, and oranges, peaches, and creamsicles. And CHEESE). But apart from food, I’m not such an orange person. In fact, today I realized I can practically count the orange around my house. My closet is fully void of orange (I’m fairly certain I don’t look good in orange, though I haven’t attempted rocking it in quite some time) and orange decor is just not my thing, though I can certainly appreciate it in some people’s houses when done right. Call me a major nerd if you will, but aside from food (and fall candles!), my favorite orange item is the Chicago Manual of Style (fun fact: I once had to read the entire book in grad school copywriting class. It’s really long. Also, please don’t start judging my grammar. Eeek).

Anyway, in the fall and winter, I always have lots of orange food in my kitchen. I love a good butternut squash risotto and when I needed a quick meal the other night, I decided to try out my take on this butternut squash orzo recipe and it was so, so perfect.


If you’re scared of risotto, this orzo might be a safer place to start. But really, you have absolutely NO reason to be scared of risotto because it’s fun and easy and I don’t get what the hype is all about. I have lots of risotto recipes on this blog that you should try. But in the meantime, you can make this, too. This recipe requires almost no work at all!

Simply brush your butternut squash half, onion half, and garlic with a little bit of olive oil and roast for about 45 minutes (the garlic will probably need less time). When you remove them from the oven, you’ll let them cool a bit and then puree them in a food processor or blender. The result will be an absolutely delicious sauce.

Collage showing process for making butternut squash sauce, including squash halves, onion, and garlic roasted on baking sheet and sauce just pureed in blender

Mix that butternut squash sauce together with your cooked orzo, some crispy bacon, and some grated parmesan cheese. And then top with more parmesan cheese and dig in.

Landscape head-on view of butternut squash orzo in a white bowl topped with grated parmesan and crumbled bacon on marble surface with fork and glass of wine in background

This was most definitely comfort food to a T. Creamy, but without a drop of cream added. Now, isn’t that music to your ears? If you know someone who claims not to like butternut squash, make butternut squash orzo for them. They’ll change their mind really quickly (and if not, they’re totally lying. Tell them to stop being stubborn. Ahem, I don’t know this from personal experience).

Overhead view of bowl of butternut squash orzo with grated parmesan and crumbled bacon on marble surface with glass of wine in the background

I mean, there’s bacon in this. And bacon is just one little trick to getting people to eat foods they don’t think they like. But you don’t even need to use tricks for this one. You could actually leave the bacon out and it would still be awesome. But don’t because it does add a very nice salty crunchy touch.

If you want to make this even more of a hearty meal, feel free to add chicken in (rotisserie chicken if you’re feeling super lazy like I usually am!). You could also serve this as a side dish to a meat dish. It even makes a great Thanksgiving side dish if you’re looking for something a little bit different.

Head-on close up view of butternut squash orzo topped with parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon in a white bowl with fork and glass of white wine in background

I’ll say it again, I don’t think risotto is hard to make at all, but this butternut squash orzo is a lot less high-maintenance. No adding chicken broth and stirring and waiting. And this almost just as creamy and flavorful. Try it! Maybe even tonight? You won’t regret it

Do you eat butternut squash all fall/winter long?

If you’re looking for more delicious squash recipes, check out my recipe for Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup (with grilled cheese croutons!) or my recipe for Winter Salmon Tacos with Butternut Squash Salsa and Cranberry Crema.

Butternut Squash Orzo
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

This Butternut Squash Orzo is packed with creamy butternut squash sauce, crumbled bacon, and parmesan cheese. It's incredibly easy to make and can be served as either an entree or a side!

Course: Entree, Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Orzo, Squash
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Sues
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup orzo, cooked according to package directions
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked crispy
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Clean the seeds and membrane out the butternut squash half. Put the squash, onion, and garlic on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Lightly brush with olive oil.

  3. Bake for 45 minutes, removing garlic after about 25 minutes. Once squash and onion are out of oven, let cool slightly.

  4. Add all veggies to a food processor or blender with chicken broth. Blend until smooth. If sauce is too thick, add a bit more chicken broth.

  5. In a large bowl or in the pot orzo was cooked in, toss orzo, bacon, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and butternut squash sauce.

  6. Serve in bowls topped with additional parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes
Butternut Squash Orzo -- This Butternut Squash Orzo is packed with creamy butternut squash sauce, crumbled bacon, and parmesan cheese. It's incredibly easy to make and can be served as either an entree or a side | wearenotmartha.com #butternutsquash #orzo #fall #squash

23 Responses to "Butternut Squash Orzo"

  1. brandi says:

    after making a risotto with bacon + butternut squash, I think they’re meant to be together. Delicious!

  2. Daisy says:

    Orange really does offer some great foods!! I have a few orange accents around my apt like dark orange pillows and a bright orange buddha. I even have an orange dress. I guess you could say I’m obsessed with the color all together!

    This dish looks wonderful and so easy to make!

  3. Mmmmm… that looks so delicious! I can’t believe how simple it looks too! I’m looking forward to the best part of tomorrow – the dessert!

  4. I’d have to agree that orange foods are pretty delish…especially cheese!

  5. sweeter salt says:

    Love me some orange foods too. I keep hoping they’ll give me a golden tan, but so far, not so much. But still, they’re super good for you and oh so tasty.

    I’m looking forward to stuffing the most. I make a mean ciabatta and sausage stuffing, which I’ll be posting tomorrow.


  6. Lauren at KeepItSweet says:

    for some reason i never cook with orzo, but this recipe looks so good! i need to find that yogurt…

  7. TheHealthyApron says:

    OOO I am writing this down right now!! Looks delicious!

  8. Erica says:

    Orange foods are totally delicious. And where would we be without cheese 🙂 I’ve made a butternut squash risotto before and LOVED it. Your version looks fabulous too. Happy Thanksgiving to you! I’m most looking forward to my Mom’s cranberry sauce

  9. Rhonda says:

    I have a butternut squash in my kitchen looking for a home and I think it found it! I love the fact that you don’t have to peel it first (which is a huge pain! I’m making this tonight to go with my maple glazed pork chops.

  10. Sharlene says:

    Squash AND bacon? You are clearly after my heart. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Sues and Chels!

  11. Megan says:

    This looks amazing! Squash, bacon, and orzo = wow!

    “Fun fact. I actually read the complete Chicago Manual of Style for a copyediting class in grad school. The whole thing. ” Me too!! I love that book. Loved the class too. 🙂

  12. Nicole says:

    You are speaking my language! Orange things and cheese? Yes, please! Mmmm…I bet the butternut squash orzo plus bacon is very yummy. I wish my squash had that funny sticker! Love it. Have a great Thanksgiving!!

  13. Victoria says:

    Looks awesome! I too love orange foods (especially cheese), but I don’t care for oranges that much. Is that weird? I eat them/drink their juice, but I don’t ever crave it. Oh well.

  14. Simply Life says:

    wow, look at those ingredients in the orzo dish – looks very professional and perfect for the season! Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. lynn @ the actor's diet says:

    orange food is my favorite. bacon too!

  16. Shelley says:

    This looks delicious! And pears are definitely a great fall fruit. You know, pears and CHEESE go great together, so that ought to make you happy 🙂 I hope you and Chris have a great Thanksgiving with your family!

  17. Joanne says:

    I love making orzotto in place of risotto, mainly because orzo is so much cheaper than arborio rice! And it’s so easy. Seriously. You totally amped this orzotto up with the squash and the bacon! Gorgeous dish. I’m all about orange foods but not so much about orange clothing as well. It does NOT go well with my complexion. At all.

    Hope you had a great thanksgiving!

  18. emily says:

    I am definitely not an orange person, either. I don’t think I own one article of orange clothing! I am obsessed with orange food, though. 🙂 Your risotto looks delish. And I do think the bacon adds a nice touch. 🙂

  19. Kelsey says:

    I agree with you about orange foods.

  20. Cooking with Coley says:

    Well you sure do orange well! This looks incredible, and I love, love, love orzo!

  21. Amy says:

    I am so glad I saw this blog today! We had 1 leftover squash, as for some reason I thought buying 3 was going to be necessary for t-day, and I had no idea what I was going to do with it. But I think this may be dinner tonight! yea!

  22. Meghan@travelwinedine says:

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I love orange foods too, and luckily so many orange fruits and veggies are so good for us! Those Cheetos I get addicted to, maybe not 😉

  23. Jen says:

    I am so glad I saw this. Craving a nice autumn dish and I have had a box of orzo sitting on my shelf forever. Thanks so much!

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