Casserole dish of orzo pasta with leftover turkey
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5 from 1 vote

One-pot Leftover Turkey Orzo Pasta

This creamy one-pot orzo pasta recipe is great for using up leftover Thanksgiving/ Christmas turkey. It is quick, easy, delicious AND slimming friendly too! By the way if leftover turkey is not in season this recipe works great with chicken too :)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: One Pot Pasta Recipe, Orzo Pasta Recipe, Orzo Pasta Recipe, Turkey Pasta, Leftover Turkey Recipe, Tuscan Pasta, Orzo recipe, Tuscan Pasta Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 452kcal
Author: Lucy Parissi | Supergolden Bakes


  • 2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray for a slimming friendly version
  • 1 onion , finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 55 g | ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed for slimming version
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 150 g | 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 300 g | 10½ oz leftover cooked turkey or chicken , diced small
  • 2 tbsp white wine or stock to deglaze pan, optional
  • 500 ml | 2 cups hot chicken stock (from a cube)
  • 240 g | 1 cup half fat creme faiche or reduced fat sour cream or fat-free quark cheese
  • 60 g | 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
  • Lemon zest , to garnish (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Heat a tablespoon of oil (from the sun-dried tomatoes jar for extra flavour) in a large casserole dish or Dutch oven. Use olive oil spray for a slimming version.
  • Add the onion and stir to coat in the oil. Cover the pot and cook the onion over very low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the onion to soften but not colour.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, salt, garlic granules and paprika. Sauté for a few minutes.
  • If the pan is getting a bit dry you can deglaze it with a splash of white wine (or vermouth / chicken stock) but that is optional.
  • Add the orzo pasta and stir to toast in the oil and seasonings.
  • Stir in the diced turkey (or chicken).
  • Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan (orzo has a tendency to stick).
  • Add the creme fraiche (or sour cream) and stir to combine.
  • Cover the pot and transfer to the oven (look in recipe notes if you want to cook on the hob) and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway.
  • Uncover the pot and use a wooden spoon to give it a good stir. The orzo should be cooked and the dish creamy and delicious.
  • Add handfuls of fresh spinach, stirring into the creamy orzo until it wilts.
  • Add the grated Parmesan and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!



Orzo Pasta Recipe Tips and FAQs
– Do I have to cook this recipe (partly) in the oven? Actually no, you CAN cook this entirely on the hob but you will need to stir it more often. Check the recipe card notes below.
– Do I have to stir the spinach in at the end? You can add the spinach in before you transfer to the oven however it won’t retain its bright green colour.
– Can I use fresh chicken (or turkey)? Absolutely you can! I like to use diced chicken tenders (mini chicken breasts) as they cook quickly. Add these in with the onions, after the onion has cooked for 10 minutes so it is nice and soft. Cook for a further 5 minutes until coloured but not cooked all the way through. Continue cooking the recipe as in main method.
– Can I reheat this recipe? Yes you can - add a little water if needed when reheating and make sure it is hot all the way through before serving.
– Can I freeze this orzo pasta recipe? Pasta doesn’t freeze well and this is so delicious you will want to polish it all off at once.
– Is this recipe REALLY slimming friendly? It really is! If you want it to be really low in calories you can replace the crème fraîche /sour cream with fat-free Quark cheese. Make sure you serve your pasta with extra veggies - I like to add chopped cherry tomatoes and a side of crisp salad leaves. You might want to cook this in a non-stick casserole (Dutch Oven) to minimise sticking and use of oil. One serving is around 450 calories and 14 WeightWatchers Smart Points.
To cook on the stove
Follow steps 1-6 then continue to cook on the stove over low heat, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or until the orzo is cooked. Stir in the spinach and serve as main method.
Please note I am not affiliated in any way with Slimming World or Weight Watchers.  
Those plans are often updated in line with latest nutritional guidance and may change so for accurate information it is best to join as a member.
Nutritional information is always approximate, and will depend on quality of ingredients and serving sizes.


Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 2079mg | Potassium: 1091mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1807IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 3mg