The simplest Vegan Orzo Risotto. Rich, creamy, comforting, extremely delicious, and ready in under 25 minutes. It's a recipe that's really basic but feels so special and is always a hit with everyone!
In this post:
Simple and VERY delicious Vegan Orzo Risotto. It's quite honestly everything to me right now. Creamy, silky, luscious, and dangerously easy to eat!
This comforting, cozy, weeknight or dinner party hero is super easy to make and can be dressed up or down. Keep it simple and plain, pile some extra deliciousness on top, or add some veggies while sautéing the onions. It's so versatile. I've included lots of my favorite ways to serve it below so make sure you check them out!
What you need at a glance:
Here are some important ingredient notes and substitution ideas (see the recipe card for full and detailed ingredients & instructions):
- 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 easy and comforting to eat. Just perfect for this vegan orzo risotto-type situation. You'll find orzo in almost all grocery stores with the dried pasta. Gluten-free orzo should be fairly easy to find too.
- Thyme - This can be dried or fresh. Oregano works well instead. Or Italian seasoning.
- Nutritional yeast - This is for umami, depth, and cheesiness. This is such a simple recipe that it can't really be omitted without affecting the overall flavor greatly.
- Dairy-free milk - Any plant milk such as cashew milk, soy milk, or almond milk will work in this recipe but make sure it is unsweetened and unflavoured, and don't use homemade oat milk (store-bought is fine). Wondering why? Homemade oat milk gets gloopy, starchy, and thick when heated and will ruin the texture of your orzo risotto.
- Stock - This is a simple recipe and a good quality stock is important for flavor.
- Vegan butter - Just like when making risotto, we finish this creamy orzo with butter for richness, flavor, gloss, and a silky mouthfeel.
How To Make Vegan Orzo Risotto
Can't wait to make it? Here's a quick rundown of how it's done. See the recipe card for the full and detailed version, and if you're a visual learner check out my recipe video:
- Saute the onions and garlic in a pan.
- Add the orzo and allow it to toast until it starts to make popping noises.
- Add everything else except the vegan butter and stir well.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, turn off the heat and then finish with butter before serving.
Sometimes simple no nonsense comfort food is the name of the game and this is a fast, easy, and luxurious way to stave off those comfort food cravings. I love it is with some baguette, garlic bread, or focaccia on the side.
However, it's also good all dressed up! You can add easy-cooking veggies like zucchini and mushrooms when you saute the onions and garlic, or add greens like chopped kale and spinach in the last few minutes of cooking time. Or you can top it with:
- Sweet, caramelized, and tender roasted veggies like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, or butternut squash.
- Vegan meatballs (store-bought or homemade).
- Air Fryer Zucchini.
- Caramelized Brussels sprouts
- Vegan chicken like my vegan chicken breast recipe or store-bought crispy chick'n tenders.
- Sliced vegan sausage, vegan bacon, or diced vegan ham.
- A drizzle of vegan brown butter, lots of vegan parmesan cheese, and some crispy sage or fresh basil.
- Crispy zucchini (see my Creamy Orzo with Zucchini recipe for all the timings etc).
Transfer leftover risotto to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Add a little plant milk, water, or stock to loosen it up then reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Simple Vegan Orzo RisottoAuthor:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups (340 grams) orzo
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable stock
- 2 cups (480 ml) dairy-free milk , unsweetened & unflavored
- ⅓ cup (27 grams) nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme , dried or fresh
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter , to finish
- Heat a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Once the olive oil is glistening, add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes until just turning very lightly golden on the edges, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Pour in the orzo and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to make little popping noises.
- Pour in the stock, then the milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Stir really well and allow to come to a simmer.
- Adjust the heat to keep it at a very gentle simmer and stir frequently (making sure to scrape right into the bottom because the orzo will try to stick), until thick, creamy, and tender. It will take 12 to 15 minutes. Spoon a little bit of orzo out and test it by biting it. You want the orzo to be tender with a little bite in the centre and the risotto to be very slightly looser than you'd ideally like because it will continue to thicken a little off the heat.
- Turn off the heat, add the butter, then stir really well to combine before serving.