Summer Squash & Corn Orzo

Use up your summer zucchini squash haul with this light pasta recipe. Pine nuts & corn add crunch to this healthy 30-minute dish. vegan & gluten-free option

I brought these little cuties home from the farmers market last weekend. If you’ve been following, you might have noticed that I have a little obsesssion for all things mini, so I just couldn’t resist the these teeny tiny patty pan squashes.

I’m going to chalk it up to the heat, but I’ve been spacey lately. When I was ready to start cooking, I stood in my kitchen and realized the only thing I had intentionally planned to go with my sautée of mini squashes were some chives. I mean, there’s something to be said for turning vegetarian “sides” into full meals… but chives are maybe not the most filling way to achieve that.

At first glance, my near-empty fridge offered no help. Then this gorgeous recipe of Aida’s popped into my mind, and I realized I had enough to make something similar. I ended up changing a few things according to what I had (or rather, didn’t have) on hand, and also took a slightly more summery spin. (Her story with the recipe was about a blustery day in San Francisco — and it sure is/was/will-seemingly-always-be 105 degrees here).

Click here to go to her site for the full recipe.

4.0 from 3 reviews

Summer Squash & Corn Orzo

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
For the pasta toss:
  • ¾ cup uncooked whole grain orzo (or sub in a gluten free grain)
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup feta (optional)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (optional)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • Drizzle of balsamic (optional)
For the squash sauté:
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • About 2 cups sliced summer squash
  • ½ cup corn (I used frozen, by all means use fresh if you have it)
  • Generous splash white wine, to deglaze the pan (or big squeeze of lemon)
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo until al dente, referring to your package for exact cooking times. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water, and set aside.
  2. Make the squash sauté: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and summer squash and a splash of white wine. Continue cooking until the wine reduces and the squash softens. Stir in the corn. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the reserved pasta water. Stir in the orzo and mix until the vegetables and pasta are well combined. Add the basil, pine nuts, chives, and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings, topping with the feta, parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, and/or balsamic, if desired.




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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Rachel Cantin

    The best orzo ever!! needs all the toppings. Will swap with zucchinis for when summer squash isn’t available.

  2. Natalie Dressman

    I’ve made this regularly for two summers now, and it is always great. Love the combination of flavors.

  3. Patty

    I wanted to love this recipe – all great ingredients however when I made this it was rather bland and I found myself over-compensating with all the garnishes. I also felt that the finished dish wasn’t “cohesive” – it tasted like a lot of separate ingredients however it didn’t come together in a unified way as an individual dish. It wasn’t awful and was healthy meal option but wouldn’t make it again.

  4. Renae from

    Sounds delish! Will have to try soon!

  5. Kendra

    I could not stop eating this last night, Jeanine!

  6. Lesley from

    Just found your blog through pinterest! Love it and this dish, too!

  7. kale from

    I love all things mini, too! Especially gorgeous little squash minis!

  8. Heather from

    It is totally the summer heat – I went to make dinner last night which the main ingredient was mushrooms and didn’t have a mushroom in sight, sometimes though the best dishes are made when improvisions are a required 🙂

  9. Oh what a symphony of textures! I can just feel the explosion of the sweet corn next to the soft bite of the orzo and pine nuts, then everything swimming in the sunny flavors of sauteed squash. You are making my day right now! I’ll see if I can find some minis at my Farmer’s Market this weekend!

  10. Jess from

    Love the combination of flavors with the feta and basil kick! Beautiful summer recipe.

  11. Eileen from

    Hooray for teeny weeny squashes! I never know what to do with these little guys–thanks for the great idea!

  12. Maeydelynn

    I love all of your recipes and would like to start using locally grown produce. but Im not sure where to go! I lice in Austin in well and was wondering where you go? Which farmers market do you like best?

    • jeanine

      The SFC farmers markets have a few times/locations: ( I go to the Saturday one downtown because it’s closest to me, but I *think* most of the same farmers show up at each. Or if we’re not up and out early enough on Saturday mornings, we also like the Hope farmers market on Sunday afternoons ( I especially love the produce from Johnson’s Backyard Garden (it’s the biggest tent, you can’t miss it), and they have a stand at all of the farmers markets ( You can buy produce separately or join their CSA which has more pickup & delivery options.

      I’m also a member of Farmhouse Delivery (they bring your stuff right to your door which is convenient)

      hope that helps!

  13. Making this for dinner tomorrow! Thanks for the awesome idea 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.