Making lighter versions of recipes isn’t really my ‘thing’. It’s not that I’m not a fan of shaving off calories or swapping a high fat content ingredient for a lighter one, it’s just that those types of recipes aren’t what I gravitate to and not what I set out to create. But what happened with this lovely Lighter Lemon Orzo is I stumbled upon a dish that sounded amazing, tasted amazing, and just so happened to be a light version of a cream based pasta.
I actually first made a version of this recipe many years ago, back when I still lived in Charleston, SC. It was when I was still very much a novice in cooking and my food photography was….pretty terrible. I’ll spare you that photo and you can just enjoy the one below.
Anyway, back then I was part of a forum of other food bloggers and we’d share recipes, food photos and blog posts so I was always finding new things to try. Prevention RD had a delicious post for a creamy pasta that used Greek yogurt to make the dish creamy…no light cream!
I’ve made a few adjustments since I wanted this to be a side dish not the main dish. Orzo pasta is such a perfect choice for an easy pasta side dish. And the toasted almonds I added…oh my. You are going to LOVE this. The crunch is a needed interruption from the pasta becoming too monotonous and the lemon is just enough without being too overwhelming. And the fact that this is easy…and light…makes this a win all around. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
-1 and 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
-1/2 cup almond slivers
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 large lemon, juiced and zested
-1 5.3oz container plain Greek yogurt
-Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour almond slivers onto a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes until browned.
2. Cook pasta, then drain and leave in strainer, drizzle very lightly with some olive oil and stir to prevent it from sticking.
2. Melt butter in the pot that was used to cook the pasta over low heat. Add garlic cloves, then lemon juice. Turn heat off, then add yogurt and stir to combine. Add lemon zest and salt to taste. Pour mixture over pasta and stir. Garnish with toasted almonds.
Adapted from: Prevention RD