This one-pot vegan orzo mushroom with spinach is a delightful dish that is as flavorful as it is nutritious. Combining that medley of earthy mushrooms, wholesome orzo, fresh spinach, and herbs with some lemon zest is all you need for a rich, delicious, warm side dish. Ready in 20 minutes!
The orzo is toasted! I know that toasting orzo is not common! But trust me! Toasting the orzo with the garlic, mushroom, and onions will elevate your dish and give it that slightly nutty flavor.
I also made the Egyptian Orzo soup using that toasting method, which always tastes delicious.
What Makes this Vegan Mushroom Orzo with Spinach Special?
- One Pot: Who doesn’t love a simple cleanup? One pot to cook and serve makes this recipe perfect for those busy weekday dinners.
- Nutrition-packed: As mentioned, this dish is brimming with nutrients. It’s a balanced meal that caters to your daily nutritional needs.
- Flexible: This recipe can be easily modified based on what you have in your pantry. No mushrooms? Use zucchini. No orzo? Use quinoa.
- Flavorful: Combining mushrooms, spinach, garlic, herbs, and spices with a hint of lemon juice creates a flavor explosion that will leave you craving more.
Is it Healthy?
This dish isn’t just a treat for the taste buds; it’s also a nutritional powerhouse. Mushrooms are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin D and selenium, known for their immunity-boosting properties. Spinach is a superfood in its own right, boasting high levels of iron, calcium, and vitamin K. The whole wheat orzo brings a dose of fiber to the table. This trio of ingredients creates a balanced meal that’s as nutritious as delicious.
This one-pot orzo dish requires simple ingredients and will be ready in 20 minutes.
- Orzo Pasta : Orzo is a short-cut pasta shaped like a large grain of rice made from semolina, a type of wheat flour (1). It is similar to risotto; the starch content in orzo gives this dish a naturally creamy sauce texture without adding cream or cheese.
- Mushrooms: The mushrooms give it that meaty texture and earthy flavor. I used baby Bella mushrooms, but white mushrooms work as well.
- Spinach: They add a pop of color, a boost of nutrition, and a lovely subtle flavor that balances out the richness of the mushrooms perfectly. I used baby spinach.
- Onion and garlic: Add nutrients and flavors.
- Broth: I prefer using low-sodium vegetable broth or stock so you can adjust your salt.
- Oil: I added olive oil, but you can use vegan or plant-based butter instead.
- Fresh Lemon: juice and zest add a tangy taste that matches the combination of the dish.
- Salt and black pepper to taste.
- Thyme and Oregano: Dried or fresh adds a nice flavor and aroma.
- No spinach? Feel free to substitute with other leafy greens like kale or Swiss chard.
- Want a protein punch? Toss some tofu, cooked chickpeas, or lentils for a plant-based protein punch.
- Feel like adding a bit of heat? Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes.
- Out of garlic cloves? No worries, add garlic powder instead.
- Feel free to substitute the regular orzo with whole wheat or gluten-free orzo.
- Any mushrooms work, like white chestnut mushrooms, baby bella, or cremini mushrooms.
Steps to Make Vegan Mushroom Orzo with Spinach
Saute: Heat the olive oil or vegan butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the diced onions and minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Then add the sliced mushrooms and saute until softened.
Toast the orzo: Add the uncooked orzo and stir until it turns to a toasted light golden color. Season with salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and thyme and stir.
Simmer: Pour the vegetable broth. Stir and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes (to ensure the orzo is not sticking on the bottom of the pan).
Serve: Uncover and stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice, and zest, continuously stirring, and cook for 4-5 minutes until the orzo is cooked. (You might add a splash of broth if needed).
- Give the orzo sufficient time to soak up the liquids while it simmers. If not, the pasta could turn out to be hard and chewy.
- You can use Gluten-free orzo in this recipe. However, remember that different pasta varieties may need varying cooking times, so stay attentive, particularly toward the end of the cooking process. If necessary, add a bit more broth and continue cooking until the pasta is soft.
- Ultimately, you might need to incorporate a bit of liquid to thin out the sauce. You can use a splash of broth or water for this purpose.
What to serve with Orzo Mushroom?
Usually, I enjoy this Vegan Mushroom Orzo with Spinach all by itself because it’s just that good. But if you want to add some side dishes, here are a few suggestions:
- Salad: A simple green salad, fattoush salad, or quinoa tabboleh.
- Pair it with baked chicken or oven-baked shrimp.
- And, of course, no meal is complete without some good ol’ bread, right? A slice of garlic bread is perfect.
Of course, add coconut milk, cashew cream, or oat milk as a vegan option. But for a vegetarian option, add heavy cream, half u0026 half, or parmesan cheese.
Yes, you can add cooked chicken, steak or shrimp at the end. Or cook the protein from scratch: Cut your choice of protein into small cubes, season them with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and sear in a pan with the olive oil over high heat until it turns golden. Set aside, add the rest of the ingredients mentioned above, then return the protein and let all of them cook together. (I prefer adding chicken broth here instead of veggie broth).
Orzo can turn into mush, so it’s important to test it and ensure it’s barely done so you can get this Al dente.
Storage: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. You might need to add a splash of water when reheating because pasta tends to soak up some or most of the broth.
- Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- As mentioned above, add a little bit of water when reheating from frozen because orzo is a type of pasta that tends to soak up some or most of the broth.