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Dinner with Rukmini

Browse all of the recipes in Rukmini Iyer’s cookbooks by ingredient.

Orzo Giardiniera: Baked Orzo with Courgette, Chilli and Lemon

This simple orzo pasta bake with courgette, lemon and chilli is perfect for packing into your lunchbox to brighten up your lunchtime. It also happens to be vegan too.

From the book


I thought it wasn’t possible to improve on the texture of baked orzo – yet this dish has proved me happily wrong. The courgette melts into the most incredibly rich, creamy sauce for the pasta, pepped up with some fresh chilli and pine nuts for crunch. This is sure to become a lunchbox favourite. I’ve been known to pop a half portion of it in the oven before breakfast, and lunch is ready to take out with me within half an hour.

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200g orzo
2 large courgettes, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
400ml vegetable stock
100g spinach, chopped
1 lemon, juice only
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
50g toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6. Tip the orzo into a roasting tin and scatter over the grated courgettes. Pour over the oil and vegetable stock, transfer to the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes.

Once the orzo is cooked, stir through the spinach and lemon juice, then top with the red chilli and toasted pine nuts.

If you’re making this ahead for lunchboxes, consider adding a handful of halved fresh cherry tomatoes. The dish reheats well in the microwave.

Make it Veggie: You can scatter over some crumbled feta cheese for a vegetarian version.

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From the book: The Quick Roasting Tin

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