Lemon Brown Butter Sage Orzo with Summer Squash

Whoever said both brown butter and sage are meant for cooking during cold weather months was …very incorrect. They’re also missing out. My little garden is BOOMING with sage right now (I feel so adult saying that) and I had to use it in something. I kept worrying “is this going to be too wintery?!?” (I know, truly not important at all and worth worrying about, but here I am) Luckily, this isn’t wintery. It’s perfect for any season. It’s beautiful and I love it.

lemon brown butter sage orzo with summer squash

Whats a good substitute for summer squash?

Literally any vegetable lol. Or you can skip vegetables all together. But I would recommend broccoli, broccolini, asparagus or green beans.

What kind of orzo should I use?

I used whole wheat orzo pasta here (you can probably tell in the photos, since it’s darker) but you can use regular orzo pasta, whole wheat, or gluten-free! I tried a cassava based one that was delicious and gluten-free.

Can I make this vegan?

This is a vegetarian dish, but you can easily make it vegan but swapping the butter with vegan butter. I don’t think the vegan butter will brown, but the buttery flavor will be great here regardless. If going vegan, just skip the Parm all together and make sure you add salt and pepper to taste.

lemon brown butter sage orzo with summer squash

lemon brown butter sage orzo with summer squash

Lemon Brown Butter Sage Orzo with Summer Squash

This dish is great for any season! It's bright, aromatic and buttery. A wonderful vegetarian 30 minute meal for anyone looking for an INSTANT crowd pleaser entree.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people


  • Stock pot
  • Grill or oven for summer squash


  • 3 summer squash sliced lengthwise, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • 3 zucchini sliced lengthwise, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • Olive oil for seasoning
  • Kosher salt to taste, for seasoning
  • Black pepper to taste, for seasoning
  • 16 oz. orzo
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


  • Toss the slices of summer squash and zucchini in olive oil until fully coated on both sides. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If grilling, preheat the grill on high direct heat until it hits 500-600 degrees F. Grill the zucchini and summer squash for about 5 minutes per side, until charred and tender. Remove from the heat and cover with foil before proceeding with the orzo.
  • If roasting, preheat the oven or air fryer to 450 degrees F. Line hte slices of zucchini and summer squash on a sheet pan and roast for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crisp. Flip halfway through to ensure both sides get nice and crispy. Prepare the orzo as the zucchini roasts.
  • Fill a large stockpot 3/4 of the way full with water. Season with 1 tbsp of kosher salt. Cook the orzo according to the package and drain it 2 minutes before al dente (it will cook residually in the sauce!)
  • As the orzo cooks, heat a large saut√© pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and let it melt, after it's metled, keep a close eye on it to watch the color change from yellow to deep gold/light brown and nutty in fragrance (about 2 minutes or so - don't let it get darker in color or it will burn as it continues to cook.) Once the butter is gold/light brown, adjust the heat to medium low and add the sage. Cook until fragrant. Then, add the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until a sauce is formed.
  • Transfer the cooked orzo to sauce and toss until the orzo is fully coated. Add the Parmesan and mix until it's melted and fully incorporated throughout.
  • Plate the orzo. Top with summer squash and a little more cheese. Enjoy immediately!
Keyword kosher salt, lemon, olive oil, orzo, sage, summer squash, unsalted butter, zucchini


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