30 Minute Meals
Vegan Orzo with Creamy Zucchini and Lemon
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.
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
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.
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.
4. Once cooked, add the parm, lemon and pine nuts. Serve with your fav fresh herbs and a small drizzle of olive oil.
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:
- 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
- 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
- Blend into cream by adding ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth
- 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.
Other salad recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Meditteranean Tuna Salad
- Shaved Cucumber Salad with Wild Blueberries
- Vegetable Vegan Pasta Salad
- Easy Vegetarian Picnic Salad
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Vegan Orzo Salad
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
- 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.