Maybe this makes me a dork, but I think foil packet cooking is so fun.  I always get a kick out of throwing a few ingredients together, folding it all up in foil, and then opening up the packets to find a fabulous meal.  (This may be somehow related to the fact that I had over 800 origami cranes hanging from my bedroom ceiling growing up – I just like folding things, I guess!)  Aside from the fun of folding up the packets, the other plus of foil packet meals is their simplicity.  They require minimal effort but with the right combination of flavors, they can still be totally worthy of serving to company.

I decided to use a Greek flavor profile for this meal, tossing the orzo with spinach, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and topping with a bit of feta.  A simple compound butter including dill, lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes is spread over the fish before cooking and really takes the dish to another level.  You can use any type of white fish that you prefer.  My favorite is halibut, but cod is a good less expensive option.  The packets can be baked in the oven or cooked on the grill, perfect for those hot evenings when you don’t feel like turning on the oven.  Enjoy!

 Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!


8 oz. orzo
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
¼ large red onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. sliced kalamata olives (I used black olives)
1 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
6 white fish fillets, about 6-8 oz. each (such as halibut, cod, or tilapia)

For the compound butter:
6 tbsp. butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. minced fresh dill
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 01

    Heat a grill to medium-high.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add the orzo to the pot and cook until a few minutes shy of al dente.  Meanwhile, combine the spinach, onion, tomatoes, olives, and butter in a large bowl.  Drain the orzo in a fine strainer.  Pour the hot pasta into the bowl with the butter and vegetables and toss gently until well mixed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 02

    Cut out 6 large squares of foil, about 12-inches on each side.  Divide the orzo mixture evenly between the pieces of foil, placing it over the lower half of each square of foil.  Sprinkle some of the crumbled feta over each pile of orzo.  To make the compound butter, combine the butter, garlic, dill, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix until well combined.

  • 03

    Spread a layer of the compound butter over each of the fish fillets.  Lay the portions of fish over the orzo.  Fold the foil over and crimp the edges together to seal the packets.  Place the packets on the heated grill, cover, and let cook for about 12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the fish registers 160˚ F on an instant read thermometer.  Remove the packets from the grill.  Open the packets, being careful to avoid the steam.  Sprinkle each serving with a bit of fresh dill.  Serve immediately.

  • Linda

    This is going on next week’s menu! What would you suggest for oven cooking? (temp/time)

  • AD

    Is the orzo cooked or uncooked before placing on the foil??

  • Candace Knerr

    Love the sound of this recipe and tried to pin it using your “pin it” button, but none of the pics pertaining to this recipe were available for pinning! Sort of defeats the purpose, I would think. I like Pinterest because I can identify things by the picture, rather than a long list of bookmarks, most of which I never go back and use, because I can’t really remember what they were.

  • annieseats

    It’s fixed.

  • annieseats

    The cooking instructions for the orzo are included in the recipe.

  • annieseats

    I’d probably do about 425˚. Not sure on time, I just let my thermometer tell me when it is done. Enjoy!

  • Elaine

    I love your foil-fish-with-compound-butter recipes (halibut with chipotle has become a family favorite). I have a dill allergy. Could you suggest a substitute herb? Could basil work?

  • rm

    This looks really good and I just bought some orzo this weekend. However, I have a freezer full of chicken breasts, not fish. Thus, I think I will try this with chicken, and if I make some extra orzo, that could be a good lunch :).

  • annieseats

    Fresh herbs are pretty easy to substitute or omit. Play around with whatever herbs you enjoy.

  • Nicole, RD

    I love foil packet cooking, too. Guess I’m a dork, as well :) This is on the menu for next week!

  • i share your joy over the whole foil packet thing! So clean and neat. Also orzo is stealing my heart these days. Thanks for this recipe.

  • Denise Wesely

    Please post your results. My family won’t eat fish and I’ve thought of using chicken.

  • YUM that looks delicious, healthy, and easy to make! What a perfect weekday summer meal :)

  • annieseats

    You could certainly use chicken.

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    Love the greek flavor and the compound butter!

  • I love foil packet dinners and I’ve been looking for some new ones to try. This looks perfect! Yum!

  • pat1645

    I guess I am an old geek then. I have loved cooking in foil packets since my grown sons were children. I loved that I could keep out of a persons packet things they didn’t enjoy, putting more spice in others etc. I think fish is the only thing I have not tried in a foil packet, I will have to change that. This looks delicious. Thanks for all your great recipes.

  • Vicki Bensinger

    This sounds delicious and so Mediterranean. I too enjoy cooking in packets. Not only is it fun, but when preparing fish, keeps the fish odor in the packet not throughout the house and is also nice for grilling and presentation. So easy, yet so pretty.

    This is a lovely dish you’ve created!

    Vicki Bensinger
    At Home with Vicki Bensinger

  • rm

    This recipe is very tasty using chicken instead of fish and cooked well in the oven at 400 F. I did substitute basil for dill because I had basil on hand to make more pesto. Best of all, it reheats nicely; I made two servings so that I could eat it the next night as well. Thanks Annie for a great dinner idea!

  • Annkconn

    This was delicious! The compound butter was a great addition. Easy to make, easy to clean up. I baked it in a 425 oven for 15 minutes and served it with the foil pulled back. The only other change I made was that I had fresh spinach on hand. I put the red onion, olives and a chiffanade of baby spinach in bowl. I poured the hot orzo over so it just wilted the spinach, then stirred in the tomatoes.

  • Susan R.

    Wow! This was delicious! One of the best things I have made for dinner in a long time. I made it exactly as the directions instructed. I will definitely make this again and what a great dish to have for entertaining guests. Every thing can be pre-assembled. The flavors are incredible together.

    Susan R.

  • Crystal

    Finally got around to making this tonight, and wow!! What a great weeknight dinner. And totally impressive enough to entertain with! Especially loved the salty bites of feta and kalamata olives. Absolutely keeping this in our rotation!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I was looking through your past posts to find something that was suitably festive for Christmas dinner but wouldn’t require me to spend hours prepping and this entree delivered big time! I served it with stuffed mushrooms and homemade bread and it was all made and on the table in under 2 hours. My husband ate 2 servings. I loved the Mediterranean flavors an orzo is an underused pasta option, in my opinion.

  • Kate Gabbud

    This was fantastic. Easy enough to do on a week night yet sophisticated enough to serve for a dinner party. Thank you for the recipe – great job!

  • Erin

    I just made this last night for supper and it was delicious! My girls 7 and 5 both devoured it along with my husband and I. I’m excited to find a great fish recipe. Both my girls love fish and I’m not very experienced with cooking it, but this turned out wonderful!