One pot, 5 ingredients, and 30 minutes are all you need to make this delicious vegan Lemon Asparagus Orzo with chickpeas. It's a complete meal on its own perfect for busy weeknights and make-ahead dinners.
Tender orzo pasta, buttery asparagus, and fresh lemon are a delightful combination. It's no wonder this easy meal is one of my favorite vegan asparagus recipes. And the addition of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) makes it a satiating complete meal.
While it's easy enough to prepare any night of the week, you can also make a batch on the weekend to enjoy for quick lunches and dinners since it reheats well.
Plus you can use this recipe as a guide for making your own version of lemony orzo with different vegetables and beans. And for even more ideas, be sure to check out my collection of vegan recipes starring orzo.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's loaded with lemony flavor and only requires 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper).
- You can make it in half an hour.
- The leftovers taste amazing, making it perfect for meal prep.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Orzo: If you or someone you cook for follows a gluten-free diet like I do, I recommend DeLallo Gluten-Free Orzo.
Substitutions and variations
If you're not a fan of asparagus, or it's unavailable, try substituting your favorite green vegetable in its place. Broccoli, green beans, and even defrosted frozen peas all work well in this recipe.
In addition, you can add your favorite beans to the lemon asparagus orzo in place of the chickpeas. White beans like cannellini beans are a great choice.
Or make this lemon orzo your own by topping the finished dish with vegan grated parmesan cheese, fresh herbs like chopped parsley, or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
- While waiting for the water to boil to cook the pasta, remove the tough ends of the asparagus. Gently bend the spears, and the woody ends will naturally snap off. Then slice the asparagus into bite-size pieces.
- Cook the orzo according to the package directions.
- When the pasta needs 2 or 3 minutes more to cook, add the sliced asparagus to the pot. Allow them to cook together until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables are bright green and tender.
- Drain the orzo and asparagus and return them to the pot without rinsing.
- Add the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the pot.
- Fold the ingredients together. Give the mixture a taste and add salt and pepper as needed. And if you like it more lemony, feel free to add extra lemon juice and zest.
Be sure to zest the lemon before squeezing out the juice. It's more difficult to do it in the opposite order.
I recommend serving this lemony orzo with asparagus with some extra lemon wedges on the side. After all, you can never really have too much lemon. Plus the garnish makes this simple dish look extra fancy.
And while this lemon asparagus orzo is delicious complete meal on its own, you can also enjoy it with soup or salad like Spanish Tomato Gazpacho or Greek Cauliflower Salad.
Lemon Asparagus Orzo reheats well. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you like, add some fresh lemon juice to the leftovers before serving to refresh the flavor.
For best results, I do not recommend freezing.
Orzo is a short pasta that looks like rice. Also known as risoni, or big rice, orzo means "barley" in Italian. But rather than containing barley, it's typically made from wheat. However, gluten-free orzo is available.
Orzo is located in the pasta aisle of major grocery stores.
Any small pasta can be used such as acini de pepe, ditalini, or small orecchiette. Or try this recipe with rice, couscous, or quinoa.
More orzo recipes
- Vegan Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad featuring tofu feta, chickpeas, tomatoes, and olives in a tangy dressing
- Creamy Lemon Orzo Soup with chickpeas and vegetables in a silky broth)
- Orzo and Baby Spinach Salad with Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Lemon Asparagus Orzo One-Pot Meal
- 12 ounces orzo, (I use gluten-free)
- 1 pound asparagus
- 15 ounces chickpeas, (1½ cups) rinsed and drained
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, zest and juice (See Notes)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, prep the asparagus by breaking off the tough ends and slicing the spears into bite-size pieces.
- Cooking the orzo according to the package directions.
- When the orzo is almost cooked but needs a few more minutes, add the asparagus to the pot. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes more until the asparagus is tender and bright green, and the pasta is cooked al dente.
- Drain the orzo and asparagus in a colander, but do not rinse. Return the orzo and asparagus to the pot.
- Add the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the orzo and asparagus and fold to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side in case you want to add more lemon juice as you're eating.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
I am not an asparagus fan, but I really liked this! Hubby asked for seconds...not usual for him. Thanks for something new and wonderful to add to our meals!
That’s wonder to hear, Kathy!
Is there anything I could substitute in place of the chickpeas? Just curious. I'm definitely making this tonight, substitute or not!!
Sure, you can simply leave out the chickpeas or use your favorite beans instead.
This was a brilliant recipe! So simple, so satisfying, so healthy, so springtime....and one that works so well as leftovers. After years of combing through various blogs and books for easy, healthy, vegan (or vegan-ish) recipes that work for my partner's and my various food sensitivities, this is my all-time favorite. Thanks, Amy!
Thank you so much, Kristin! This makes me so happy!
VIVIAN N. CHAMBERLAIN
COOKED IT TODAY FOR THE FIRST. MY HUSBAND AND I LOVEDIT
So delicious 😋 and very easy to make.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Nancy!
I love this! So easy and bright, it has been added to my regular meal rotation.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Mary!