Wondering what to do with that rice-shaped pasta? You'll love this collection of vegan orzo recipes featuring soups, salads, and main dishes.
While it looks similar to rice, orzo, sometimes called risoni, is a short-cut pasta. This "pastina" or little pasta is very versatile and can be used in a variety of vegan dishes.
Like other shapes of pasta, it's typically made from semolina flour which comes from durum wheat. However, gluten-free orzo is also available and can be made from ingredients like corn, rice, or cassava.
Why you'll love these vegan orzo recipes
- They are easy to make.
- They showcase the best, most delicious ways to use orzo pasta.
- They can all be enjoyed as main dishes or served as sides or starters.
Where to buy orzo
Orzo can be found in most supermarkets in the pasta aisle. You can also find it online. If you or someone you cook for follows a gluten-free diet like I do, I recommend DeLallo Gluten-Free Orzo.
How to cook orzo
Orzo can be cooked the same way as other pasta shapes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Cook the orzo, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- If using in salads, cool the pasta by rinsing it with cold water in a colander. Or spread out the cooked pasta on a baking sheet to allow to cool.
- If making soup, you can add the dry orzo directly and allow it to cook in the soup.
¼ cup dry orzo will equal about ⅔ cup cooked.
While orzo looks similar to rice, it's actually a small pasta shape and tastes like pasta.
Like all pasta, orzo can be eaten hot or cold. It's delicious hot in soups and pasta dishes and cold in salads.
Creamy Vegan Orzo Soup with Chickpeas is loaded with lemon flavor and is inspired by Greek Avgolemono. It's easy to make in 30 minutes on the stove.
And for a tomato-based soup, try Gimme Some Oven's Italian Orzo Spinach Soup. It's another 30-minute recipe, and it's vegan if you make it with vegetable stock and use non-dairy parmesan (or simply skip the cheese).
Vegan Mediterranean Spinach Orzo Salad features Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. The homemade dressing is easy to make with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh garlic.
And for a change of pace from typical pasta salads, Mediterranean Vegan Orzo Salad more than fits the bill. It's higher in protein thanks to both chickpeas and marinated tofu feta. And it's loaded with flavor from the zesty Dijon mustard and herb dressing.
Main dish recipes
The small rice-shaped pasta is perfect for quick and easy one-pot meals like this Lemon Asparagus Orzo with chickpeas. This 30-minute dinner only requires 5 ingredients, plus salt and pepper.
Or for a variation of flavors, try Vegan Orzo with Spinach and Lemon from The Hidden Veggies. It's a risotto-style dish that's much quicker and easier to make than the traditional version with Arborio rice.
I also like One-Pot Tomato Orzo from Vegan Huggs. Here the tiny pasta is cooked with white wine, tomatoes, and seasonings and finished with capers and fresh basil.
If you're looking for an oil-free dish, you can't beat the Vegetable Orzo from Kathy's Vegan Kitchen. The cooked pasta is tossed with oven-roasted vegetables and a dressing made with champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, and lemon.
I hope these easy vegan orzo recipes inspire you to cook more with this versatile pasta shape. And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.