Orzo Carbonara | FoodByMaria Recipes

Vegan Comfort Food

Orzo Carbonara

Prep

10 minutes

Cook

25 minutes

Yield

4

Is there anything better than a creamy bowl of carbonara? It seriously has to be one of the best pasta dishes. The one downfall is that you’ll rarely ever find a vegan version of it. You’re in luck! This orzo carbonara recipe can be adapted to be completely vegan, without sacrificing the creaminess you love about carbonara. This recipe is perfect as fall starts to approach or for a quick comfort meal. 

Bowl of orzo carbonara

Why you’ll love this orzo carbonara recipe: 

  • Quick: Prep in only 10 minutes, cook for 25 minutes, and voila, you have a dish ready in just 35 minutes! The perfect meal for those busy weeknights
  • Creamy: Just because this is plant-based, doesn’t mean we had to sacrifice all the creaminess you usually get from cream or milk products
  • Comforting: This orzo carbonara recipe is the ultimate comfort food. It’s warm, creamy, and cheesy, all in one place

Ingredient Notes: 

Butter: If you prefer not to use butter then use olive oil. Opt for either regular butter or vegan here. 

Pasta: This recipe is amazing with orzo but ultimately can be made with any type of pasta.

Spinach: Spinach is so good for you. Some may call it a superfood. It’s loaded with nutrients and is super low-calorie. These dark, leafy greens are so important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also have protein, iron, vitamins & minerals. Did I mention how versatile this veggie is? You can legit throw spinach in everything!

How do you make orzo carbonara? 

Butter melting in a pan

Vegan bacon cooking in a pan

Bacon and other ingredients frying in a pan

1. To a large pot or cooking pan heat butter on low heat till melted. Increase heat to medium and brown the vegan bacon for 3-4 minutes stirring often to avoid burning. To the pot, add the onion, garlic, and thyme.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Orzo and cream in a pan

2. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir till everything is coated. Increase heat to high and add the orzo to the pot.  Toast for 1 minute.  Add the milk to the pot.  Bring mixture to a boil then simmer till the orzo is cooked.  Add more milk of choice is necessary.

Spinach close-up in a pan

Chives added onto of orzo carbonara

3. To the pot add the chives and spinach and stir till cooked throughout.

Parmesan added to orzo carbonara

Orzo carbonara being stirred

4. 1 minute before serving add the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and butter!

Expert Tips & FAQ: 

How do I make this recipe vegan? Have fun with this! Substitute the butter, milk, and parmesan for your favorite plant-based options. You can really add any vegan cheese in here and each will give a different pizazz to it! 

What plant-based milk is best? I used soy, but seriously, use whatever you have on hand or prefer!

What is vegan bacon made out of? There are several different brands of vegan/vegetarian bacon. There are tempeh and soy variations that use seasoning to replicate the smoky bacon flavor. 

Bowls of orzo carbonara

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Orzo Carbonara

  • Author: Maria Koutsogiannis
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This creamy orzo carbonara has all the things you love about carbonara but with a risotto-like consistency. It’s the perfect comfort food!


Ingredients

Scale

1 tbsp. butter of choice + 1 tbsp. butter for serving

1/2 cup vegan bacon

1 medium-sized white onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp. fresh thyme

1 cup of orzo

1 1/2 cups soy milk or regular milk

1/4 cup chopped chives

3 cups spinach, chopped

1 cup vegan or regular parmesan cheese

Juice of half a lemon


Instructions

To a large pot or cooking pan heat butter on low heat till melted. Increase heat to medium and brown the vegan bacon for 3-4 minutes stirring often to avoid burning. To the pot, add the onion, garlic, and thyme.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Season with salt and pepper.  Stir till everything is coated. Increase heat to high and add the orzo to the pot.  Toast for 1 minute.  Add the milk to the pot.  Bring mixture to a boil then simmer till the orzo is cooked.  Add more milk of choice is necessary.

To the pot add the chives and spinach and stir till cooked throughout.

1 minute before serving add the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and butter!

Enjoy hot or cold!

 


Notes

Butter:  If you prefer not to use butter then use olive oil.

Pasta:  This recipe is amazing with orzo but ultimately can be made with any type of pasta.

Spinach:  You can add as much or as little spinach as you want.  You really can’t go wrong.  Chopped broccoli and zucchini would also go well in this dish too.

Vegan: Feel free to have fun with this recipe based on your diet. If you are vegan then use vegan substitutes and if you’re not then use the regular options.  Regardless, this recipe is AMAZING!

This is a vegetarian-friendly recipe. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 273
  • Sugar: 4.7g
  • Sodium: 1007.8mg
  • Fat: 11.7
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.1g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 14.4g
  • Cholesterol: 24.3mg

Keywords: creamy, risotto, bacon

 

 

Laura K

So good & easy!! Love this recipe

Maria Koutsogiannis

thank you so much, laura!

Sarah

I know it’s weird but I am not a fan of orzo, but like always I trust your recipes and I will definitely make this recipe again!

Maria Koutsogiannis

thank you so much for the support, sarah!

Riley

Ok, I love Carbonara!! This is one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever made! Easy and reliable recipe to make after work for dinner. Loved it!

Maria Koutsogiannis

it’s truly such a good and easy dish!

Karen

So quick, so delicious, the kids loved it, they keep asking me to make more!!! Thank you for always providing me with kid-friendly food!!

Maria Koutsogiannis

yes!! Thank you! I try really hard to provide food for the whole family!

Trina

Made it today in my office, for some colleagues too, they thought it was my recipe, I told them no it’s #foodbymaria !! You got some fans in Marketing!

Maria Koutsogiannis

thank you so much for the love, trina!

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