When I make rice, I almost exclusively make brown rice, and I soak it first because that's supposed to be good for it (and we prefer the texture and taste). However, there are times when I want rice but I don't want to invest so much time in the project. And that is where orzo comes in. It's just a pasta, so it cooks like a pasta, but it has something of the shape and feel of rice to it. Whole wheat orzo is preferable to the regular stuff, but it seems difficult to find in a lot of supermarkets; I've just ordered some through Amazon. I suspect it takes some getting used to, just as whole wheat pasta took some getting used too--it used to seem like such a sacrifice to eat whole wheat pasta, but now it just seems... normal.
Below is a tasty side dish I threw together with orzo. I served this along with salmon--what I wanted was something like rice but I got a 2-for-1 deal here, getting in a vegetable along the way. This didn't make a whole lot, so the recipe should probably be at least doubled.
5 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 c pine nuts
1 T minced garlic
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 T Kalmata olives, chopped or crushed.
4 oz whole wheat orzo
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a skillet, spray with oil, then add spinach and pine nuts. Before the spinach has wilted, add garlic and continue cooking until the spinach is just wilted. Add lemon juice and olives. Add cooked orzo. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.