Lemon Basil Orzo and Vegetables
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!!
How To Make the Lemon Basil Orzo and Vegetables
First boil the orzo and 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.
How Does The Recipe Taste?
The 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 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.
It’s naturally vegan however 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.
Favorite Pasta Salads:
- 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!!
- Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, feeds a crowd, and is on the SKINNY side!! Juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and the pasta are tossed in a light and tangy homemade Italian lemon vinaigrette!!
- Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad – Big juicy chicken chunks and texture galore from the rainbow of crispy veggies! Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! Great for picnics, potlucks, and easy dinners!
- Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy! Bursting with fresh flavors from juicy tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parmesan, and tender chicken tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette!
- 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!!
- 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.
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!!
Grilled Lemon Chicken – EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the chicken is so TENDER, juicy, and full of LEMON flavor!! With grilled broccoli on the side, this is a HEALTHY recipe perfect for swimsuit season that tastes AMAZING!!
Skinny Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, feeds a crowd, and is on the SKINNY side!! Juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and the pasta are tossed in a light and tangy homemade Italian lemon vinaigrette!!
BLT Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and PERFECT for potlucks and parties!! Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and BACON! Guaranteed family FAVORITE!!
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Quinoa Salad (GF) – Trying to keep meals healthier and lighter? Make this easy, refreshing, and satisfying salad!
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy! Bursting with fresh flavors from juicy tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parmesan, and tender chicken tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette!
Tahini Chicken with Cucumber, Tomato, and Mint Salad – Juicy chicken coated in a flavorful TAHINI sauce with a zesty MINT salad on the side!! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, HEALTHY, and so tasty!!
Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad – Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!
Tabbouleh – Never had it? Think couscous or quinoa mixed with vegetables, herbs, lemon and olive oil! Easy, no cooking required, healthy, and packed with so much flavor!