Learn More About Orzo and How It Can Enhance Your Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

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Learn More About Orzo and How It Can Enhance Your Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

While shopping at the supermarket, you may see a package of something labeled as “Orzo”. It seems like rice but with pasta-like color, and since you probably do not know how to use it, you decide not to buy it. However, think twice and next time, give Orzo a chance.

You are not wrong about your first thought: Orzo is rice-shaped pasta. It is a versatile ingredient with a mild flavor, and you can make endless delicious recipes with it.

Orzo is tiny pasta, classified in Italy as pastina, made from components like semolina flour, whole-wheat flour, whole-grain flour, or white flour. The elaboration process includes making dough with flour and water, then it is rolled flat and cut into rice-shaped grains (sometimes it is actually larger than traditional rice).

The most usually found type of Orzo has a yellowish color. But there are also red, green, orange, and yellow-white versions. In these varieties tomatoes, spinach, chilies, saffron, black beans, or other flavorings are added to create multiple colors of Orzo.

Knowing how to use Orzo

Thanks to its blank flavor, it pairs very well with a lot of ingredients. In Italy, Orzo is generally used for making soups. However, it can be used in salads, or as a substitute in many rice-based dishes like risotto or pilaf. Additionally, you may use it in your regular pasta preparations.

Its cooking process is simple, i.e.: it is made as your regular pasta. You only need boiled water and salt. Depending on the orzo recipe you want to prepare, other ingredients must be incorporated at the beginning of the process.

Taking advantage of Orzo in vegetarian and vegan recipes

Orzo resembles rice in nutritional content, except that it is not gluten-free. Half cup of rice or Orzo has the same amount of carbs, fats, sodium, fiber, protein, sugar, vitamins, and minerals as rice. It brings several benefits as listed below:

  • Increase energy.
  • Combat free radicals.
  • Allow muscle growth.
  • Improve bones and tissues conditions.
  • Satisfy feeling of fullness.

For vegetarian or vegan people, this is a very interesting option to include in their diet, which opens the range of choices in all meals. It easily substitutes rice or pasta in any food preparation.

The main advantage of using it is that you can cook all your regular meals with a new ingredient offering different flavors and textures, and in less time. Orzo gives to vegan and vegetarian diets a fresh and versatile component for making multivariate meals.

Cooking vegan dishes

The ways you can add Orzo to vegan diets are countless. It can be perfectly used in the following dishes:

  • Stuffed tomatoes.
  • Broccoli risotto.
  • Pilaf.
  • Autumn Orzo Salad.
  • One-Pot Tomato Orzo.
  • Lemon Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.
  • Orzo Soup with White Bean Balls.
  • Greek Orzo Pasta Salad.

These are just a bunch of the countless recipes you can prepare with Orzo. But, if you like to be creative in the kitchen, Orzo is a blank slate where you can add all your favorite ingredients and create delightful dishes staying true to your vegan diet.

For a start, learn how to make the following recipe and get ideas for your new dishes.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup of Orzo.
  • 1 diced red pepper.
  • 2 diced tomatoes.
  • 1 diced cucumber with no seeds.
  • 2 tbsp of minced jalapeño pepper.
  • Two tbsp of capers.
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • ½ cup of kalamata olives cut in half.
  • ½ chopped red onion.

For Greek vegan dressing:

  • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • ½ tsp of dried oregano.
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic.
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley.
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
  • 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar.
  • ¼ tsp of Dijon mustard.
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • ¼ tsp of sea salt.


  1. In a saucepan, pour enough water and salt and bring to a boil,
  2. Add Orzo, stir and cook it until it is al dente.
  3. Drain it, add some olive oil and place Orzo in a baking tray to cool.
  4. In a bowl, incorporate red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, kalamata olives, red onion, and cooled orzo. Mix very well.
  5. In a small bowl, make the dressing by combining garlic, dried parsley, dried oregano, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir very well.
  6. Drizzle the Greek dressing all over the salad.
Stacey Chillemi


The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body, and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.



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