This delicious vegan creamy spinach orzo pasta with sundried tomatoes and butter beans is easy to make, hearty, filling and comforting.
Made in one pan in around 40 minutes, this is a wonderful vegan main course or side dish.
I have been making this creamy vegan spinach orzo on repeat recently. It is such a hearty, tasty meal and is the perfect filling comfort food for Autumn.
It is also easy to make and just uses one pan, it's always a bonus when there is less washing up to do!
This is a great all-in-one vegan main meal, but it is also lovely as a side dish, and you can vary the protein and veggies to suit you.
Orzo: Orzo is a type of pasta made from durum wheat (semolina). It resembles large grains of rice. It can be found with the regular pasta in most supermarkets.
Spinach: I use frozen spinach as I always have some in the freezer. You could substitute fresh spinach instead; use about 200g of baby spinach and simply add it to the pan for the last minute or two of cooking.
Sun dried tomatoes: These are optional but add so much flavour. Use the kind that comes packed in oil rather than the dry type.
White wine: This adds lots of flavour but you can omit it if you need to. Make sure that you use a vegan one, not all wines are vegan friendly.
Stock: Use a good quality vegetable stock or bouillon for the best flavour. I like Marigold.
Cream: Any kind of (unsweetened) vegan cream such as soy or oat will work but I like home made cashew cream best. I wouldn't use coconut cream here, I don't think it would taste right.
Butter beans: These are optional but make this into a complete meal by adding a source of protein. You could use other types of beans such as cannellini instead, or use cooked vegan chicken pieces, added at the end of cooking.
Lemon juice: Brightens the dish up and cuts through the creaminess. You could also add a bit of finely grated lemon zest if you want to really amp up the lemon flavour.
Nutritional yeast: Adds a savoury, 'cheesy' flavour. If you prefer, you can add some grated vegan parmesan style cheese at the end of cooking instead.
Herbs and seasonings: Fried onion and garlic form the flavour base and are non-negotiable; but the herbs can be varied to suit you. I use thyme and dill, but oregano or an Italian seasoning blend would work well.
How To Make Creamy Spinach Orzo:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Step 1: Fry the onion until it is soft and translucent then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated.
Step 2: Add the orzo, stock, sun dried tomatoes, frozen spinach and herbs.
Step 3: Cook, stirring often, until the orzo is soft.
Step 4. Add the butter beans, cream, lemon juice and nutritional yeast.
Step 5: Cook for another couple of minutes until the butter beans are warmed through.
Make sure that you use a large enough pan! The orzo absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks.
Keep the heat low and stir often to prevent the orzo from catching and burning. Stirring regularly also helps to release some of the starches from the pasta, making the sauce creamier.
There is no need to cover the pan while the orzo is cooking. It will absorb some of the liquid and some will evaporate to create a creamy texture.
You may need to add a little more stock if the orzo absorbs too much. Start with 1 litre (4 cups) and add up to 250 ml (1 cup) more as needed.
You can add in or swap the spinach for mushrooms. Once the onion is cooked, add them to the pan along with the garlic and fry until lightly browned and the excess liquid has evaporated, then continue with the recipe as written.
I don't usually find extra salt is necessary with this recipe due to the stock and sun dried tomatoes, but the saltiness levels of those will vary so just taste the orzo at the end of cooking and season to taste as needed.
This creamy spinach orzo is best eaten freshly cooked but it will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Allow it to cool slightly then transfer to a container, cover and pop it in the fridge. You may want to add a bit of stock, cream or milk upon reheating.
I wouldn't recommend freezing it as the texture may become a bit mushy upon defrosting.
Yes however you may need to play around with the amount of stock and seasonings and the rice will probably take a bit longer to cook.
More Vegan Comfort Food Meals:
- Vegan spaetzle
- Vegan mushroom stroganoff
- Vegan lentil walnut bolognese
- Creamy vegetable rice soup
- Vegan Swedish meatballs
- Vegan chicken potato pie
- Creamy white bean soup
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Creamy Spinach Orzo (Vegan)
- 2 Tablespoons oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes (or olive oil)
- 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 120 ml (½ cup) white wine
- 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock plus extra if needed
- 300 g (1 ½ cups) orzo pasta
- 125 g (4 ½ oz) sun dried tomatoes (in oil) drained and finely chopped
- 275 g (10 oz) frozen spinach
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 400g (14 oz) tin of butter beans rinsed and drained
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) vegan cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4-5 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (to taste)
- a good grinding of black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole pan over a low heat. Add the onion and fry until it is soft and translucent (about 10 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the white wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated.
- Add the stock, orzo, sun dried tomatoes, frozen spinach, thyme and dill.
- Bring up to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes until the orzo is soft but still has a slight bite to it. Add a little extra stock if needed.
- Add the butter beans, cream, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and plenty of black pepper.
- Cook for another couple of minutes until the butter beans are warmed through then serve.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos
- Make sure that you use a large enough pan! The orzo absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks.
- Keep the heat low and stir often to prevent the orzo from catching and burning. Stirring regularly also helps to release some of the starches from the pasta, making the sauce creamier.
- You can use fresh spinach instead of frozen. Use about 200g of baby spinach and simply add it to the pan for the last minute or two of cooking.