This Baked Vegan Orzo Recipe is an easy, throw it all in, one-pot wonder featuring tender orzo, cherry tomatoes & veggies topped with melty cheese!
This vegan orzo recipe feels so special! It's rich and delicious with pops of juicy sweet cherry tomato perfection all the way through. And it's cheesy, oh so cheesy. Such a treat!
It's a gem of a recipe that's brought together with lots of simple yet vibrant flavour and texture. You just know it's going to be good when you see orzo, cheese, basil, and tomatoes going in... It's very much like a risotto but with baked creamy vegan orzo!
Here's exactly what you need to make it:
And a few ingredient notes:
- Orzo - If you’ve never had orzo before, it’s sort of like pasta meets rice, as in it is actually a type of pasta but is shaped like grains of rice. This means it cooks really quickly and is really easy to eat. Just perfect for this baked vegan orzo situation. You'll find orzo pasta in almost all grocery stores with the other dried pasta. Gluten-free orzo is easy to find too.
- Veggies - Cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic are the only ones that are required. You can then add one or two easy cooking veggies of choice. I used a large zucchini, but you could use any combination of zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, red bell peppers, broccoli (chopped small), corn, or frozen peas. Just steer clear of harder veggies like sweet potato, cauliflower or squash as they will take too long to cook.
- Cheese - Use a vegan cheese that is a good melter for this. I used Nabati Mozzarella. It melts incredibly!
Vegan Orzo Recipe Step by Step
Here's a quick summary of how to make this easy vegan orzo recipe (full and detailed instructions are in the recipe card):
- Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and other vegetables to a 9 x 13-inch dish and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper then partially bake.
- Add the dry orzo and everything else including the cold water, then bake again.
- Remove from the oven and stir. Most of the liquid will have been absorbed and the orzo will be almost cooked.
- Top with cheese, and bake again for a few minutes until melty, then broil if desired for an extra golden, bubbly top.
Success tip - If you have a water spray bottle when you put the vegan cheese on the top, give it a good squirt with water before you put the lid on and bake it again. The steam the water creates helps melt the vegan cheese better!
Want to switch things up?
- Add some black olives, chickpeas/garbanzo beans or sautéed vegan sausage crumbles
- Play around with the veggies. You can use whatever easy cooking veggies you have on hand. Peas and asparagus would make an amazing spring combo and mushrooms are really good too.
- Add some dollops of vegan ricotta across the top with the shredded cheese.
- Make it Greek style with kalamata olives, capers and feta cheese. The salty feta taste will work so well with the orzo, veggies, and tomatoes!
- Use some dry white wine instead of some of the water for a special occasion.
Serve Baked Vegan Orzo just as it is for a simple meal or as a side. Some great accompaniments include:
- vegan parmesan cheese
- a large bowl of fresh green crispy salad
- freshly baked No-Knead Focaccia or some garlic bread
- vegan chicken breasts
Store leftover vegan orzo in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's great for reheating in a microwave or covered in an oven.
Hungry for more?
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Baked Vegan Orzo RecipeAuthor:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 cups (400 grams) cherry tomatoes , left whole
- 1 large zucchini , diced (or roughly the same amount of any other easy cooking vegetable such as spinach, mushrooms, asparagus).
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste , puree in the UK
- 3 cups water , or half water half white wine
- 2½ cups (1lb / 453 grams) uncooked orzo , or gluten-free orzo
- 1 big handful fresh basil , chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried basil)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon chili flakes , optional
- 2½ teaspoons sea salt , if using table salt adjust as necessary
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ to 2 cups (180 - 240 grams) shredded vegan cheese , that melts well
- Preheat oven to 450F (230°C)
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, whole cherry tomatoes, and zucchini (or other chopped veg to a 9 x 13-inch or similar oven-proof dish. (Unless you are using frozen peas or a leafy vegetable like spinach. Leave those out for now. )Toss together to coat with oil, then cook uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes remove and turn the oven down to 400 °F (200°C).
- To the vegetables add the tomato paste and the water and stir to combine and break up the tomato paste. Then throw in the orzo (raw), basil, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and any leafy vegetables/peas if using, then give it all good stir, making sure the orzo is all submerged.
- Cover tightly with a lid, foil, or an upturned baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
- Uncover, sprinkle over lots of vegan cheese, cover again (to help the cheese melt) and bake for a further 10 minutes. If you have a water spray bottle, spray a few sprays of water over the cheese before covering. The steam will help it melt.
- Take off the lid and broil for a couple of minutes until the top is bubbly and golden. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is provided for convenience & as a courtesy. The data is a computer generated estimate so should be used as a guide only.