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!!

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.

Lemon Basil 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!!

What’s in Lemon Orzo & Vegetables? 

To make this healthy orzo recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Orzo
  • Olive oil
  • Vidalia onion
  • Garlic
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Red bell pepper
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Fresh basil

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!!

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.

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!!

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. 

Lemon Basil 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!!
Yield: 8

Lemon Basil Orzo and Vegetables

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

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!!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. While orzo is cooking, to a separate large skillet add 3 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and cook for about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly continuously.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Optionally garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 660mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g

More Lemon Pasta Recipes:

ALL OF MY PASTA RECIPES!

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