Vegan Orzo Salad | FoodByMaria

30 Minute Meals

Vegan Orzo with Creamy Zucchini and Lemon

Last Updated:
One of the many vegan comfort food recipes - creamy orzo - in a bowl.

Prep

10 minutes

Cook

20 minutes

Yield

4

This Vegan Orzo Salad is perfect as a side, main course, or for meal prep. Incredibly versatile, you can personalize this salad to include all the ingredients you love.

Orzo is a short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It can be a great “noodle” for salads, and a great alternative to things like quinoa or couscous when you want something different. This Vegan Orzo Salad with creamy zucchini and lemon is so simple to create and really brings the orzo to life. A perfect recipe for a side dish, main course, or meal prep.

Delicious Bowl of Vegan Orzo with Creamy Zucchini and Lemon

Why you’ll love this Vegan Orzo Salad:

  • It’s quick and easy to make
  • Can be made in an instant pot
  • It’s vegan/plant-based
  • It is great for meal prep
Ingredients for vegan orzo on counter

How do you make Vegan Orzo Salad?

This Vegan Orzo recipe is easy to make. You can adapt it to even make it in your instant pot if you want to whip it up even quicker.

1. To make this vegan recipe, all you do is add your oil to a large pot for 30 seconds before adding your onion and garlic that you’ll cook on low-medium heat for five minutes until fragrant. This is the part that really adds a ton of flavor to the dish. So don’t skip it.

Orzo being cooked in pot

2. To the pot, add the orzo and let the pasta become well coated by the flavors. Add in the fresh herbs and grated zucchini and cook down for 1-2 minutes. From here you can add your optional white wine to deglaze the pot. Stir aggressively to remove any browning from the base of the pot and cook down until evaporated.

3. Turn the heat up and go ahead and add in the veggie stock, bringing the mixture to a boil and cooking for three minutes before adding in the cashew cream, S&P. Continue to simmer with the lid on until the orzo is cooked. It will be cooked when the orzo has soaked up the liquid.

Vegan orzo in pot on stove

4. Once cooked, add the parm, lemon and pine nuts. Serve with your fav fresh herbs and a small drizzle of olive oil.

Big Bowl of Vegan Orzo with Creamy Zucchini and Lemon with garnish on a countertop

How do you make homemade cashew cream?

You can either use canned cashew cream for this recipe or get creative and make your own. Cashew cream is a great base and substitute for any type of dairy cream in your recipes. It’ll add so much creaminess that you’ll love in this recipe and other recipes too.

To make it on your own, all you need to do is:

  1. Soak the cashews in water and set aside uncovered at room temperature for 10-12 hours. This will help the cashews break apart easier in the next steps
  2. Drain and add fresh water. You can also add some other things to make this cream different flavors, like dates, or lemon, but for this recipe, I’d suggest just regular
  3. Blend into cream by adding ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth
  4. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week.  Will last in the freezer for 2-3 months.
A close up shot a big bowl of Vegan Orzo with Creamy Zucchini and Lemon garnished with tomatoes and herbs

Other salad recipes you’ll love:

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One of the many vegan comfort food recipes - creamy orzo - in a bowl.

Vegan Orzo Salad

4.82 from 11 votes
This Vegan Orzo Salad is perfect as a side, main course, or for meal prep. Incredibly versatile, you can personalize this salad to include all the ingredients you love.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course 30 minute meals, Budget friendly, Main Dishes, Salads and Greens
Cuisine Comfort Food
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the cashew cream:

  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup of water
  • pinch of sea salt

For the orzo:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini grated
  • 1/4 cup white or rosé wine optional
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 -1 cup cashew cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan grated
  • 1-3 tbsp lemon juice depending on how much you love lemon
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • chopped baby tomatoes to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cashew cream by adding the 3 ingredients to a high-speed blender and blending till well combined. If you prefer your cream a bit thicker, add less water (3/4 cup to start).  If you prefer your cream a bit runnier, add more water.
  • To a medium-sized or large pot your olive oil and heat for 30 seconds before adding in the onion and garlic.  Cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until translucent and fragrant. Add the herbs and salt and pepper, stir and cook about 1 minute until fragrant.
  • To the pot, add the orzo and let the pasta become well coated by the onion/garlic/oil fragrance/flavors.  Now add in the grated zucchini. Cook down for 1-2 minutes and then go in with your optional white or rosé wine to deglaze the pot. Stir the base aggressively to remove any browning from the base of the pot. Cook down on medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Increase the heat to high and go ahead and add in the vegetable stock.  Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes before adding in the cashew cream.  Continue to simmer with the lid on till the orzo is cooked. I like my orzo al-dente so this may only take another 4-5 minutes, so watch it closely.  It will be cooked when the orzo has soaked up all the liquid or when the texture of the orzo is what you want. *
  • Once cooked, stir in the parmesan, lemon juice and pine nuts!
  • Serve with more fresh herbs, chopped tomatoes and a small drizzling of olive oil.

Video

Notes

If you want your orzo a bit more creamy, add 1 tbsp of vegetable stock at a time towards the end of the cooking process (when simmering) and continue to do so until your desired consistency is achieved.
Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week.  Will last in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Emily N

5 stars
Absolutely wonderful. I used gluten free orzo (jovial’s cassava orzo) and it was impressively perfect. I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes , which made a very subtle heat. I will make this again and again!!

Maria Koutsogiannis

thank you so much for the love hun!

Michele

5 stars
Amazing. So delicious and creamy. ❤️❤️
Will make again… and again.

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much for the love hun!

Jedidjah Arentsen

5 stars
Absolutely amazing! You did it once again Maria! I was coming home from a long and sad day and did not feel like cooking but forced myself to anyway. The dish took me even less than 30 minutes and it turned out to be exactly the bowl of comfort food I needed. Creamy comfort food with some hidden veggies! Plus you only need a 1/4 cup of wine so you can drink the rest of the bottle yourself which is a big plus! 😉

Maria Koutsogiannis

LOVE THIS ATTITUDE!! Wine + comfort = wonderful!

Sandy Kelston

5 stars
This was amazing!!
So delicious!!

Sandy Kelston

5 stars
This was amazing!!
So delicious l!!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much!!!

Sandy Kelston

This was amazing!!
So delicious!

Elisa

5 stars
This blew my mind sooo good!

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much, Elisa!

Anika

5 stars
It was really good! Will make this again and again

Maria Koutsogiannis

Thank you so much hun!!!

Nicole Laroch

5 stars
Loved this recipe!!! wow! I used a but less cashew cream and it was perfect.

Whitney Driegder

5 stars
Ok. I have never had anything this creamy and delicious in my life. My kids has no idea there was zucchini in it!

Maria Koutsogiannis

The secret is safe here 😉

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