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Bacon/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Tomato, Spinach & Bacon Orzo

March 8, 2023 (Last Updated: July 16, 2023) by Chris Collins

This tomato, spinach & bacon orzo is super hearty and loaded with so much flavour!

This makes the perfect dinner for a few different reasons, but the main reason is that it’s so darn delicious. You get a gorgeous burst of tomato flavour, but it’s also nice & creamy at the same time. Then with the smokiness from the bacon, it’s all just a heck of a good time 🤤 Follow me…

close up shot of spinach bacon tomato orzo in white dish with silver fork digging in

One Pot Tomato Bacon Orzo

You’ll want to kick off the recipe by frying the bacon. I typically keep the bacon whole at the start, remove it and dice later (much easier to slice cooked bacon than it is to slice raw bacon!). This way the bacon can keep a little bit of texture, instead of cooking with the sauce and turning soft.

What kind of bacon should I use?

I recommend using streaky bacon. Reason being is you can then render down all the fat and use it to fry the onion and garlic. Not a huge issue if you’ve only got regular bacon. I usually go for unsmoked bacon, but if you prefer smoked then go for that!

Starting low ‘n’ slow

I recommend adding the bacon to the pan with the heat off, then turning it to a medium. This way you can render down the fat without burning the meat. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat – you need to work for that liquid gold!

Process shots: add bacon to pan (photo 1), fry then remove (photo 2), fry onion (photo 3), fry garlic (photo 4), fry tomato puree (photo 5), add orzo (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make tomato bacon spinach orzo

Tomato Orzo with Spinach

Once you’ve added the orzo, you can go straight in with the stock and cook the orzo in the same pan. This, in my opinion, is a far superior method to cooking the orzo separately for a few different reasons:

  • Starch – The orzo will release its starch, which helps bind/thicken the sauce and turn it a little creamy.
  • Flavour – The orzo will soak in all the gorgeous flavours of the sauce as it cooks.
  • Ease – Less washing up!

Creamy tomato orzo

The sauce will already be a little creamy from the orzo, but just to take things to the next level I love adding mascarpone! You’ll want to stir this in at the end to help thicken the sauce and turn it outrageously creamy.

Baby Spinach

It’ll seem like you’re adding way too much at the start, but it wilts down a lot. I keep the spinach whole, but you can roughly dice it if you’d prefer.

Process shots: add stock and sun dried tomatoes (photo 7), simmer (photo 8), stir in mascarpone (photo 9), add basil and spinach (photo 10), stir (photo 11), stir in bacon and parmesan (photo 12).

6 step by step photos showing how to make tomato bacon spinach orzo

close up shot of tomato bacon spinach orzo in large cast-iron skillets

Serving Tomato Bacon Spinach Orzo

The orzo should end up with a risotto-style consistency. If at any point the sauce thickens too much, just stir in a splash of water or stock. To serve, you can sprinkle over any leftover basil and parmesan you’ve got lurking around (completely optional).

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this tomato bacon spinach orzo shall we?!

overhead shot of tomato spinach bacon orzo in large whit bowl with silver fork

How to make Tomato, Bacon & Spinach Orzo (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of tomato spinach bacon orzo in large whit bowl with silver fork

Tomato, Spinach & Bacon Orzo

This tomato, spinach & bacon orzo is super hearty and loaded with so much flavour!
5 from 4 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Calories per serving: 674kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4


  • Large Deep Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Jug (for stock)
  • Fine Cheese Grater (for parmesan)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 2 cups / 400g uncooked Orzo
  • 8 slices of Streaky Bacon (125g/4oz total)
  • 4 1/2 cups / 1.1L Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup / 125g Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup / 90g Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 5oz / 150g Mascarpone
  • 3.5oz / 100g Baby Spinach
  • 1/4 cup / 20g freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve if desired
  • 1/2 small bunch of Fresh Basil, plus more to serve if desired (0.5oz/15g)
  • 1 medium Red Onion, finely diced (sub white onion)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to spice preference
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


  • Add the bacon to a large deep pan with the heat off. Turn heat to medium and fry until the bacon is crisp with the fat rendered down. Remove the bacon and leave the fat behind. Add the onion to the leftover fat and fry until it begins to soften and pick up colour, then add in the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
  • Add the tomato puree and fry it off for a minute or so, then stir in the orzo until completely coated. Stir in all of the chicken stock, then add in the sun dried tomatoes and chilli flakes. Keep a gentle simmer and cook until the sauce thickens and the orzo is al dente (mostly cooked but still a teeny bit hard). Stir regularly to avoid the orzo sticking to the pan.
  • Add the mascarpone and stir until fully blended, then stir in the spinach and basil until the spinach softens and wilts. Once the spinach has wilted, dice the bacon and stir it through alongside the parmesan. If the sauce reduces too much and the orzo is looking a little thick at any point, just stir in a splash of hot stock or water to loosen it up again.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust if needed, then serve up with more parmesan and basil if desired.

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Orzo - This is small pasta which you'll find in most supermarkets in the pasta section. 
b) Make Ahead / Storage - I don't recommend purposefully making it ahead of time, but if you have leftovers just allow them to completely cool, then tightly store in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat over low heat on the stove with a splash of water to loosen it up until piping hot again. 
c) Spinach - It will seem like way too much spinach at the beginning, but it completely wilts down. I don't chop it, but you can if you'd prefer. You can also remove and aggressively large stalks.
d) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 with no extra parmesan.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Tomato, Spinach & Bacon Orzo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 674 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 26.98g42%
Saturated Fat 7.895g39%
Trans Fat 0.044g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.574g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.005g
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 445mg19%
Potassium 1121mg32%
Carbohydrates 94.35g31%
Fiber 13.6g54%
Sugar 8.85g10%
Protein 18.29g37%
Vitamin A 1099IU22%
Vitamin C 11.1mg13%
Calcium 111mg11%
Iron 3.34mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    November 14, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    5 stars
    Late to the party as usual 🙂 made this tonight and it was sooo good. My fussy 7 year old and 22 month old ate it up so that’s saying something! Recipe instructions were spot on too. Thank you for another great recipe Chris 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 15, 2023 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Leanne! So pleased to hear it went down well with the kids! 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2023 at 10:42 am

    5 stars
    This was my first time making orzo, and oh my soul it was delicious! Such an easy recipe too.

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 4, 2023 at 10:07 am

      So happy you loved the orzo, Robyn! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Good and taste but VERY heavy… I cut the Bacon and mascarpone quantité in half! Xxx

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 9, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Jaja! C.

  • Reply
    Caroline Thiessen Thiessen
    April 24, 2023 at 6:43 am

    5 stars
    This recipe is my new obsession. I use dried basil instead of fresh. And a small amount of cream cheese instead of mascarpone. It’s just what I have on hand. Thank you for a delicious on pan meal recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 25, 2023 at 11:51 am

      So happy to hear this went down well, Caroline! Thanks for the review! C.

  • Reply
    lisa van der kooij
    April 10, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    I was wondering if i could use risotto rice instead of orzo?
    i cant find orzo in the shops that are near me 🙁

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 11, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Hi Lisa! Risotto rice wouldn’t be suitable for this as it cooks in a different way to orzo, so the consistency/measurements would be way off. Orzo is technically a type of pasta, so you’d likely have more luck using another small type of pasta. Hope this helps! C.

  • Reply
    Shannon Palmer
    April 4, 2023 at 2:11 am

    5 stars
    My family of teenagers loved this recipe. Super easy, took 30 minutes to make and all in one pan!!
    Will definitely be making this again

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 4, 2023 at 1:56 pm

      So great to hear this went down well, Shannon! Thanks so much for popping back for a review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    Is there an option to switch te mascarpone to something with less kcal and less fat?? Without loosing taste?
    I love the recipe tho’ made it last night and it was sooooo delicious! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 4, 2023 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Vienna! Happy to hear this went down well! Whilst I haven’t tried it myself, I imagine low-fat cream cheese could be an okay sub. You might even find it less kcal/fat to stir through a smaller amount of cream at the end. C.