Lamb Orzo with Spinach

4.8/5 - (10 votes)

Lamb Orzo with Spinach is a really hearty meal. This recipe is based on Youvetsi(giovetsi) which is a famous Greek dish. Lamb, chicken or beef are the common meats for Youvetsi. As well as meat it has pasta as the main ingredient.

For my recipe, though I cannot claim it as an authentic Youvetsi, I used lamb. Orzo was my pasta of choice. Often used in such dishes orzo is rather like large grains of rice. It is very absorbent and, as well as having a great texture, it helps to thicken the sauce.

Of course there are other ingredients too. Spinach is added at the last minute. But the recipe also includes chopped tomatoes, garlic and onions. For additional flavour the recipe uses spices, most commonly all spice, but often with cinnamon too. I used some chicken stock too, though water would be fine.

Cooking Method

I checked so many recipes for such a dish. The stove top was used for some versions. Others used a combination of stove top and oven. But for mine I decided to use my Instant Pot, which is a pressure cooker as well as having many other features and functions. But for the purposes of this recipe I used just the pressure cooking function, and the sauté function. So those who have a stop top pressure cooker can use that for both functions. However a pressure cooker is not needed, as long as you have an oven proof dish with a lid, and a frying pan if that dish cannot be placed on direct heat.

So in the recipe, below, I have included details for those who don’t want to use a pressure cooker.

The recipe is actually very simple. Unlike baking the ingredients don’t need to be so precise either, so you can vary the volumes if desired. There are not too many steps in the recipe. Basically it is just, browning the meat, softening the onions, adding all the other ingredients, apart from the orzo and spinach. Then after seasoning it is cooked until the lamb is fall-apart tender. Then the orzo is added and cooked. The final step is to stir in and wilt the spinach. Then the dish is ready to serve.

My result

Having cooked my dish It was lovely and thick, with most of the sauce having been absorbed into the orzo. Of course you can add a little more liquid too, if you wish to vary the consistency. But for mine I loved that it was so nice and thick.

The lamb was so tender, and with such a great flavour. My orzo was perfect too. I cooked it al-dente, then the residual heat continued to cook it for a perfect texture. Stirring the spinach into the hot dish quickly wilted that so it incorporated well. That added extra flavour. I could also taste the garlic and spices, just enough to complete a perfect dish.

The volume of ingredients I have specified are enough to give 6 to 8 portions. Of course, that depends on how hungry are those being served.

I must say that I enjoyed this meal immensely. My niece and her husband, with whom I shared it, reported back that it was delicious, and that they had eaten all that I delivered. They must’ve been very hungry.

Lamb Orzo with Spinach – video

Another lovely savoury dish is: Perfect Coronation Chicken.

Lamb Orzo with Spinach

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Stove top recipesCuisine: Greek styleDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1kg(2.2 lbs) lamb in 2 inch chunks(any cut of lamb is fine)

  • 2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 x 400g(2 x 14 oz) chopped tomatoes

  • 800ml(3 cups plus almost 1/4 cup) chicken/beef stock, or water

  • 400g(14 oz) orzo

  • 400g(14 oz) spinach washed and drained

  • 1 tsp ground all spice

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • Salt and pepper to personal taste

  • oil for browning meat, onions


  • If cooking in a casserole dish preheat the oven to 150C/300F.
  • In a large pan, frying pan or InstantPot/pressure cooker place a couple of tablespoons of oil.
  • Brown the lamb, in batches, and set aside.
  • Put the onions into the same pan, adding more oil if needed, and cook those until they are softened.
  • Add the garlic, all spice and cinnamon and stir in, for about one minute.
  • Put the lamb back into then pan(if you used a frying pan to brown etc, everything into an ovenproof dish that has a lid).
  • Pour in the tomatoes and stock and stir everything together.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot/pressure cooker and close the valve, or cover the ovenproof dish.
  • Pressure cook for 30 minutes, or cook in the oven for about two hours(until the meat is tender).
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally. My instant pot took 35 minutes to do this, then the valve dropped to show it was pressure free.O
  • Open the Instant Pot/pressure cooker/ oven proof casserole and pour in the orzo.
  • Cook the orzo for about 5 minutes, or as directed on the packet, until it is al-dente(just with a little bite) on the stove top or with the Instant Pot sauté function. Cover with the lid, but not under pressure, and stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  • When the orze is just al-dente stir in the spinach until wilted, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  • Add a little hot water/stock and stir it through, if you wish to loosen the mixture a little.

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