It’s been over two years since I moved to the US from China. Making a run to the grocery store doesn’t take me hours anymore because I don’t really have trouble with finding and recognizing most of the local ingredients.

It was certainly a challenge before. I remember the first time I was in Whole Foods Market, I stood in front of just the vegetable section and realized I had never seen at least half of the vegetables in my life. Not knowing the English names of some of the ingredients certainly didn’t help when I wanted some assistance to finding what I wanted.

That was quite a learning curve.

Now I can be in and out of Super Target with a truck load of ingredients within an hour. Am I Americanized yet? 😛

Although a goal of trying to cook every single item from the local grocery store near me is never properly set, I do have the attempt to create dishes with new stuff. Stuff that I have never tried before.

Lately, this gigantic-rice-looking pasta named Orzo has caught my attention. So I purposely ordered it whenever I ate out, cooked it according to the popular recipes online, and tested it with my creation until this 7-ingredient and 15-minute Pan-Fried Basil Tomato Orzo came to play.

I am finally satisfied.

This is one of these recipes that take you very little time and very little effort to make. Then you taste it, you say, “OMG! I can’t believe it’s so easy to make this. It’s delicious!”

The secret? Pick the right sauce.

In this recipe, we cook freshly diced tomatoes in Sun-dried Tomato Pesto to form our secret sauce. Then we fold in cooked Orzo until the sauce is thickened up and absorbed by the Orzo. Fresh basil will be our finishing touch.

This is a great side dish that goes well with steak, chicken, grilled fish, and other seafood. I shamelessly treated it as a main course and literally devoured half of the thing as lunch after the photos were taken.

I hope you enjoy this Pan-Fried Basil Tomato Orzo as much as I did. Leave a comment below or tag #StreetSmartKitchen on Instagram when you get a chance to make it. I would love to know what you pair it with. Cheers!

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Pan-Fried Basil Tomato Orzo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
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7 ingredients and 15 minutes are all you need to make this delicious Pan-Fried Basil Tomato Orzo that pairs well with pretty much anything!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (6 oz)
  • 1 cup tomato, any kind, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tbsps sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook orzo according to the instruction on the package. Bring 2 quarts water with a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add orzo and cook for 9 minutes or until orzo is tender.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, chop the tomatoes and basil.
  3. Once the orzo is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.
  4. Heat up a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl. Once the oil is hot, place tomatoes in the skillet and cook for about 1 minute. Stir occasionally. The tomatoes will make some juice at this point.
  5. Add sun-dried tomato pesto and stir well with the tomatoes, then fold cooked orzo into the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir for another minute or until the sauce is thickened up.
  6. Turn off the heat, add basil. Stir well and serve warm.


This recipe serves 4 as a side dish and serves 2 as a main dish.


  • Serving Size: 4

About the Author

Sharon Chen, StreetSmart Kitchen

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of the Complete Sous Vide Cookbook. She believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she aims to make meal prep easier than ever and help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.