30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

Roasting the veggies side-by-side on a single sheet pan makes this 30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo a simple recipe that just needs a few spoonfuls of pesto stirred in to finish it.

30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

I’m not sure I’ve ever spent this much time at home, but for some reason I feel like I have less time.

Gone are the commutes to work, school, swim lessons, play dates and so many other things, but the hours and minutes slip through my fingers.

There are moments when I just have to give myself permission to not accomplish something on my to-do list.

It’s ok.

Shortcuts are more important than ever.

30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

Never has that been more true than in the kitchen.

I will always love multi-step, multi-hour culinary projects, but such opportunities are fewer these days.

It’s to the point that I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite recipes and coming up with faster ways to make them.

30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

A couple years ago I posted a recipe for slow-roasted tomato zucchini orzo.

There is nothing wrong with how to turns out. I still love eating it.

Roasting tomatoes at a low temperature for hours in the oven enhances their flavor and makes the edges just the slightest bit chewy and almost crisp.

You can definitely do this step in advance, but that requires some planning. 

30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

Instead I have been cranking up my oven and speeding up the cooking time in my 30-minute tomato zucchini orzo. 

I put all the veggies on a single sheet pan to save time. 

Another bonus is that there are fewer dishes to wash.

How To Make 30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

I start by tossing halved grape or cherry tomatoes and diced zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them on the pan making sure the tomatoes are cut-side up.

It takes 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees F for the tomatoes and zucchini to roast.

That gives me a chance to cook the orzo on the stove. I like using whole-wheat or even spelt orzo.

I add a couple spoonfuls of pesto to the orzo and fold in tomatoes, zucchini and chives. You have to do this gently because the tomatoes have a tendency to break up, which isn’t a bad thing.

I finish it with grated Parmesan.

This 30-minute tomato zucchini orzo can be served warm, at room temperature or as leftovers cold from the fridge.


30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo

30-Minute Tomato Zucchini Orzo
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 23 1x


1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 zucchini, trimmed and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup orzo
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon minced chives
Grated Parmesan for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the tomatoes and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet pan with the tomatoes cut-side up. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the tomatoes are wrinkled slightly but still juicy and the zucchini is golden brown at the edges.

While the tomatoes and zucchini are in the oven, cook the orzo until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto.

Carefully fold the tomatoes, zucchini and chives into the orzo.

Top with grated Parmesan before serving.