Delicious vegan orzo recipe that’s super easy to make and topped off with homemade vegan parmesan. Beginner-friendly and can be made in bulk.
Why this recipe works
- Includes a recipe for the best DIY vegan parmesan.
- Filled with several portions of veg
- Super good for you!
- You can prepare it in advance and eat for days
- Can be served as lunch, snack or dinner
Now that we’ve established you definitely have to make this delicious recipe, let’s see what you’ll need.
What goes into this recipe
To make this easy vegan orzo recipe you will also need the following equipment:
- A deep oven dish
- Blender or food processor to make your parmesan (optional step)
There’s not many steps to this recipe - in fact, it’s so easy and completely beginner-friendly. Having said that, it does require some attention. More about that below.
- You’ll first make a delicious garlic oil marinade by combining crushed garlic, salt, brown sugar, oil and red chilli powder. Mix well.
- Then it’s time to slice your peppers. I recommend slicing them lengthwise as this way all the pieces will be roughly the same size. Try to slice them thin. Then cover well with marinade and bake at 170°C / 338°F (fan oven) for 2 hours. You’ll want to set an alarm for every 20 minutes to stir and turn around the peppers well. In the meantime, make your vegan parmesan by blending cashews, chilli powder, onion powder, garlic powder, almonds and salt. Set aside for later.
- Cook your orzo according to instructions on your packet. Drain and add the roasted peppers. Make sure you also add the liquid that remained at the bottom of your oven dish as that will be packed with flavour. Top off with basil. Mix very well.
Serve with your DIY vegan parmesan and enjoy!
Important: unlike the main orzo recipe, the measurements for our parmesan recipe are meant for many portions (approx. 12). Vegan parmesan is super versatile so this way you can only make it once and then serve it with various dishes. Keep it in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.
My Top Tips
Making this orzo recipe is all about paying attention to a couple of important things that can make all the difference.
Use a deep oven dish
Don’t simply roast yout peppers on a flat baking tray. The beauty of this recipe is that the roasted peppers will create a flavourful, peppery ‘sauce’ at the bottom of your dish.
This only happens if you’re using a deep oven dish (like the one shown on the photo numbered 2 above). If using a flat tray, the liquids will simply evaporate as the peppers won’t be able to trap the heat.
Stack your peppers
Don't forget to really stack your pepper slices on top of each other. This way they will roast better and, again, leave you with a delicious sauce left at the bottom of your pan.
Don’t forget to stir
Once you’ve added your orzo to a simmering pan of water, you’ll want to stir well. Otherwise you might be stuck with a big clump of orzo - not our goal!
From all different types of pasta, orzo is the one that really shouldn’t be overcooked. It will turn into a mushy mess and won’t look appetising.
You’ll want to cook orzo for approximately 7-8 minutes and no longer than that.
If you're wondering how to cook the perfect pasta each time, check out this helpful article.
Again, you make sure you don’t overcook by cooking it for between 7-8 minutes.
Whenever I cook pasta, I tend to largely ignore the instructions given on the packet as they tend to be misleading.
Instead, you’ll want to stay close to the pan and use a teaspoon to taste your pasta from time to time. Remember, it’s always better to slightly undercook your pasta than to turn it into mush.
There’s no need to use orzo if you don’t have it on hand. Apart from orzo, I find that this recipe works best with short, textured types of pasta such as fusilli, farfalle (bow tie) and penne.
Avoid long, stringy pasta shapes such as spaghetti or linguine.
You can absolutely make this recipe gluten free. As mentioned above, you can use a different type of pasta, choosing gluten free.
You could potentially also make it with quinoa or couscous instead of classic pasta.
This dish stands well alone as a main dish. However, there are plenty of ways you could serve it.
First, you could serve it as a cold pasta salad. It works super well as a side at dinner parties.
Or you could serve it as a main, but with other sides such as some crispy arugula (rocket), some fresh dinner rolls or some steamed veggies.
Easy! Make sure it cools down completely, then simply pop it in an airtight container. Place it in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days.
No, I wouldn’t recommend freezing this recipe.
Possible Ingredient Substitutions
- PEPPERS – No need to use red peppers only. You can make this into a colourful pasta by mixing red, green, orange and yellow peppers.
- CASHEWS - Can be replaced with pine nuts or other nuts.
- CHILLI - There’s a hint of chilli in the parmesan. It’s not overpowering at all, but if preferred, can be omitted.
Missing any other ingredients? Get in touch via the comments below!
This wraps it up! If you liked this vegan orzo recipe, you might want to check out my vegan stew and dumplings, roasted red pepper pasta and pesto pasta salad recipes. Or, check out my mains section for more easy vegan recipes here.
If you liked this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a comment or review below.
Vegan Orzo Recipe
- Deep oven dish
- Blender or food processor (for parmesan - optional)
FOR THE ORZO
- 6 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 7 red peppers
- 400 g orzo
- 10 leaves basil adjust to taste, use more if you prefer a stronger basil flavour
FOR THE VEGAN PARMESAN
- 65 g cashews equals 3/4 cups
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 25 g almond flakes can be substituted with almonds, equals ⅕ cup
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt
FOR THE ORZO
- Make your marinade by combining crushed garlic cloves, salt, brown sugar, oil and chilli powder. Mix well and set aside for later.
- Slice your peppers. I recommend slicing them lengthwise as this way all the pieces will be roughly the same size. Try to slice them thin.
- Cover peppers well with your marinade. Use hands to rub in all the marinade well and distribute it equally across all your pepper slices.
- Bake at 170°C / 338°F (fan oven) for 2 hours. Remember to set an alarm for every 20 minutes to stir your peppers very well.
- In the meantime, make your vegan parmesan by blending cashews, chilli powder, onion powder, garlic powder, almond flakes, nutritional yeast, and salt. Set aside for later.
- Once you've only got about 15 minutes of roasting left, cook your orzo according to instructions on your orzo packet. Drain and add the roasted peppers. Stir well.
- Once your orzo is cooked, make sure to add the liquid that remained at the bottom of your oven dish. This will be packed with flavour. If, for some reason, not enough liquid is left, add a drizzle of oil.
- Top off with basil. Mix very well. Serve with plenty of your DIY vegan parmesan and enjoy!
- If you can, use a deep oven dish. This means your peppers will be stacked on top of each other, trapping the heat.
- Don't forget to stir your orzo really well.
- If you're not making the vegan parmesan, make sure to add more salt to your sauce.
- When serving basil, crunch it up in your hands or cut it thinly as this will help release more flavour.