Lemon Basil Orzo and Vegetables
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Basil Lemon Orzo and Vegetables — An EASY vegan recipe ready in 30 minutes that makes it easy to eat your veggies while enjoying the comforts of pasta, too!! The lemon and basil make the dish taste fresh and light!!
Lemon Vegetable Orzo Recipe
This easy orzo recipe reminds me a lot of my recent Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo recipe, which has been very popular so far with readers. The orzo is perfectly al dente, the veggies are crisp-tender, and even though this is a naturally vegan dish, my daughter said everything tastes ‘so buttery’. That’s because I am not shy when drizzling in olive oil.
The lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil all complement each other as well as the orzo and vegetables, and they help the recipe feel lighter and more spring-summery.
This lemon orzo recipe feeds a crowd and also holds well at room temp, making it perfect for parties, potlucks, or get-togethers. It’s also just fine chilled to savor as a pasta salad.
What’s in Lemon Orzo & Vegetables?
To make this healthy orzo recipe, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Vidalia onion
- Garbanzo beans
- Red bell pepper
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Lemon juice and zest
- Fresh basil
How to Make Lemon Orzo with Vegetables
First, boil the orzo. While that’s going, sauté an onion and add garbanzo beans and vegetables and allow those to steam.
Combine the cooked orzo with the garbanzo beans, vegetables, add lemon zest and lemon juice, basil, and stir to combine.
Taste the dish and don’t be afraid to add sufficient salt and pepper since this dish is a zillion times better when properly seasoned. You have a hefty amount of food — a pound of pasta, a pound of beans, and probably two pounds of vegetables. It’s all screaming for adequate salt and pepper.
I also added cardamom and a pinch of cayenne pepper. The former I find complements lemon flavors nicely while the later adds depth of flavor, but not heat. Season with your favorites if you don’t keep those on hand or enjoy them. Italian seasoning would be great here.
Finally, drizzle in additional olive oil, to taste. This enhances the flavor and it prevents the orzo from sticking as it cools.
Can I Freeze Lemon Orzo with Vegetables?
I would say you can freeze this orzo dish, but know that upon thawing the veggies are going to have a much mushier texture like frozen-then-thawed vegetables always have.
Tips for Making Lemon Orzo
This healthy orzo recipe is naturally vegan, but you can also add cooked chicken or make this Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo which is very similar.
I used garbanzo beans but cannelinni are fine.
I added zucchini, broccoli, and red peppers, but based on what you have on hand and enjoy, feel free to add sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, tomatoes, peas, English cucumber, marinated artichokes, olives, or whatever you’re into.
This is a very flexible recipe and since it’s easy and ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s perfect for busy weeknights. You’ll have plenty of planned leftovers for the week.
- 1 pound orzo, cooked according to package directions and drained
- 4 tablespoons olive oil for pan + more for finished dish, as desired
- 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- one 15-ounce can garbanzo or cannelinni beans, drained and rinsed (I used no salt added)
- 1 medium/large zucchini, diced into half-moons
- 1 medium head broccoli florets (about 4 to 5 cups)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as desired
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as desired
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cardamom
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (does not make it spicy, only enhances flavor)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/3 cup chiffonaded basil, loosely packed
- lemon wedges, optional for garnishing
- To a very large pot, add the orzo and cook according to package directions. Tip - Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to the water to prevent orzo from sticking, Drain and return to pot; set aside.
- While orzo is cooking, to a separate large skillet add 3 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and cook for about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly continuously.
- Add the beans, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, season evenly with salt, pepper, cardamom, optional cayenne, stir, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium and allow vegetables to steam for about 5 minutes, or until as tender as desired.
- Transfer the beans and vegetables to the pot with the orzo, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, stir to combine, taste and check for seasoning balance. At this point I added 2 additional teaspoons salt, 1 additional teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. This is a very large pot of pasta and vegetables, don't be afraid to season it generously; the olive oil keeps everything from sticking, especially the leftovers.
- Optionally garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.
- Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 660mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g
More Lemon Pasta Recipes:
Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo – EASY, ready in 25 minutes, and feeds a crowd!! Juicy lemon chicken with orzo, fresh spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes make this a dinnertime WINNER! Great for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!
Chicken Orzo Salad – Juicy chicken tossed with orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and a super flavorful lemon vinaigrette!! Easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and a perfect way to use your garden fresh veggies!!
Lemon Pepper Basil Chicken and Pasta — EASY and ready in 15 minutes with comforting pasta, juicy chicken, and there is so much ZESTY flavor from the lemon, basil, and spinach!! A family favorite that’s perfect for busy weeknights!!
Honey Lemon Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta — Pair with a simple salad or veggies and extra lemon wedges to amp up the lemon flavor. Your family will love this easy pasta recipe!
One-Bag Lemon Chicken and Pasta – An EASY lemon chicken and pasta recipe that’s family-friendly and perfect for busy weeknights!! Everything cooks in ONE bag! The chicken is juicy, the pasta is tender, and cleanup is a breeze!!
Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp Pasta — Buttery noodles with juicy plump shrimp, flavored with lemon and garlic!! A family-friendly dinner recipe that’s ready in 15 minutes and it’s so EASY!!
Parmesan Chicken and Spinach Pasta – EASY and ready in 20 minutes with comforting pasta, juicy chicken, a hint of lemon, and the PERFECT amount of Parmesan!! Great for busy weeknights and the extra is good for meal prepping!!
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