This easy one-skillet dinner is Greek inspired – orzo pasta, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and healthy veggies cooked all in one pan. Satisfying and nutritious, this meatless meal is ready in as little as 15 minutes.
Thank you to Stahlbush Island Farms for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
This fuss-free dinner is perfect for busy weeknights but also a wonderful side dish or easy meal for impressing all eaters when having company.
It is dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, and can also be made gluten-free, if desired, by using rice based or corn/rice based orzo. The one thing it’s not free of is lots of flavor!
How to Make One-Skillet Greek Orzo
True to it’s name, this one-pot pasta doesn’t require pre-boiling water for the orzo noodles to cook separately. This means dinner is on the table faster and cleanup involves one less pot and no strainer to wash!
Start off by sautéing the onions and garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. Toss in oregano and, if you’d like a little heat, some crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the orzo, allowing it to toast slightly for nutty undetones, and drizzling in a bit of the oil along with the sun-dried tomatoes. This oil is so flavorful, adding wonderful umami to this easy pasta recipe!
Next, I like to deglaze with white wine, but you can use broth if you prefer. Add in the broth and simmer the whole lot until the orzo is nearly al dente, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, bell pepper, dill, lemon, olives and spinach until the greens are wilted and everything heated through. Your well-seasoned vegan pasta dish is ready! Top with sliced cherry tomatoes – pretty and delicious!
How to Serve Greek Orzo Pasta
This is a one-pot vegan meal so it’s perfect served hot on its own. That said, it’s so good with a side of flatbread and vegan tzatziki.
The leftovers are yummy served chilled, or reheated.
When chilled, it’s essentially a vegan orzo Greek pasta salad!
Feature Ingredients & Substitutes
Simple but flavorful is the theme of this one-pot Greek orzo.
Onion and garlic are key to flavor base of this lemon orzo recipe. I use a brown onion, but a red onion or a couple of shallots will work just as well.
This Greek dish calls for dried oregano, because it tends to be easier to find in stores here compared with fresh. That said, fresh oregano works very well, too. You’ll need to use 3 times as mush fresh oregano when substituting it for dried.
Use fresh dill, though, if you have it. If not, you can use dried dill – use one third the amount called for in the recipe.
Orzo is a type of short-cut pasta. Also called risoni, puntalette, or risi, orzo is shaped like rice or barley. It’s best cooked until al dente – still firm and a bit chewy. It’s available in the pasta section of most grocery stores, and on-line.
Like most pasta, orzo is most often wheat-based. If you’d like to make this a gluten-free orzo dish, I’d recommend using a corn and rice blend so that the noodles maintain their shape. Legume-based pasta will make this stove-top casserole gluey. Otherwise, give this gluten-free One Skillet Baked Greek Rice a try, which is similar to this stove-top orzo version.
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are best for quick pasta recipes like this where you don’t need to spend 30 minutes soaking dry packed sun-dried tomatoes before using them. Added bonus: the oil that the sun-dried tomatoes are packed in is really flavorful, so we’re drizzling in a little to the pasta as it cooks.
Deglazing the pan with white wine adds a richness to this vegan Greek inspired meal. If you prefer not to use wine, you can simply use broth.
Use your favorite veggie broth or reconstituted bouillon to cook the orzo in. Broth creates a more flavorful no-drain pasta compared with just simmering it in water. If you’re watching your salt intake, use a low-sodium soup stock.
Cooked chickpeas are a quick and easy fiber-rich protein option for vegetarian pasta dishes. I use Stahlbush Island Farms’ frozen garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas.)
That said, if you only have canned chickpeas on hand, they work very well in this recipe, just drain and rinse them before adding to the orzo.
If you don’t have any chickpeas, other legumes like cooked navy beans, cannellini beans, or kidney beans are delicious in this recipe.
Or switch things up and use another plant-based protein like marinated tofu, tempeh, vegan chicken, or seiten!
The zest and juice of one lemon brightens the flavors of this dish, adding the perfect amount of acidity. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can omit the zest and use bottled lemon juice instead.
A mix of red bell pepper (capsicum) strips, tender baby spinach, fresh sliced cherry tomatoes make this pasta vibrant, and so flavorful. I like to just warm the bell peppers and spinach through, so the peppers remain crisp, and the spinach vibrant. Serve the cherry tomatoes over the top, or stir in just before serving so they keep they shape and remain juicy.
If you’d like to add a different type of vegetable to this pasta, keep in mind how much water it releases during cooking. For instance, zucchini releases a lot of water, and so it should be seared before adding it to the pasta. Otherwise, adding it with the pasta will provide too much moisture and the orzo may end up gluey.
I love Kalamata olives the most for their rich flavor, but use any of your favorite pitted olives. A blend of olives is pretty! Olives offer a nice briny kick to this easy vegan dinner.
Add the olives at the end so they don’t stain the pasta during cooking, and so they remain firm.
Make-Ahead Suggestions & Storage Instructions
This one-skillet Greek orzo and chickpeas takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare start to finish, but if you’d like to streamline the process even more:
- Have your ingredients cut and measured ahead of time.
- Heat your soup broth in the microwave while the onions are sautéing (or add boiling water to add to bouillon for the broth.)
Store leftover vegan orzo and chickpeas in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be frozen in an airtight container for about 3 months, but will naturally be much softer once defrosted. To avoid this as much as possible, slightly undercook your pasta if you know ahead of time that you’ll be freezing it.
When reheating leftover pasta, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil (or a pat of vegan butter), and some salt to help brighten the flavors.
More Vegan One-Pot Meals
If you make this One-Skillet Greek Orzo and Chickpeas, please give it a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration. Thank you for reading!
One-Skillet Greek Orzo and Chickpeas
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼-½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 ½ cups uncooked orzo pasta
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, oil packed, drained and sliced
- 1 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1½ cups cooked and drained chickpeas
- 1 bell pepper (capsicum), sliced
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 3 cups baby spinach
- ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (about 2 cups)
- vegan tzatziki, for serving optional
- Heat a large (10-12”/25.4-30.5 cm) skillet or braiser over medium, then add the olive oil until shimmering.
- Stir in the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Add in the orzo, stirring to coat and lightly toast, about a minute or 2.
- Deglaze with the wine, add in the sun-dried tomatoes, and sun-dried tomato oil. Stir and simmer for a minute or two until half of the liquid cooks off.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom.
- As soon as the pasta is boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer for 5-8 minutes until the orzo is nearly al dente – if the heat is left too high, the liquid will cook down before the orzo is cooked. Do not cover. If you like your bell pepper soft, add it while the orzo cooks. I add it at the end of the pasta cooking so that it remains crisp.
- Add the chickpeas, sliced pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh dill. Continue to simmer until the orzo is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach and olives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cherry tomatoes or serve on top.
- Serve with vegan tzatziki and flatbread, if desired.
The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.
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