Sweet, savoury, slow-roast tomatoes, garlic, fennel, basil and sun-dried tomato sauce tossed with lemon and served on tender baked orzo pasta. Super flavorful, ultra satisfying and filling, this dish is pure, addictive, vegan comfort food!
What is Orzo?
I mean, is it a grain? a rice? a pasta? It looks like a large grain of rice; but in actuality, it's a short-cut pasta. Orzo, when cooked, has a lovely silky texture making it perfect for a rice-a-roni-type dish or a pasta salad. It can be boiled and used as a rice substitute in many dishes or slow cooked like a creamy risotto.
Orzo is simple to cook - just bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook until tender (8-10 minutes).
What Goes Well with Orzo?
Slow cooking tomatoes with garlic and basil mellows, sweetens, and mingles all the flavours together. And it's easy, just pop the tomatoes and spices into the oven and let the magic happen. The fennel adds a lovely unexpected pop of flavour to this cozy bowl of deliciousness.
Dry toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat to release and intensify the flavour. Then crush them with a mortar and pestle or rolling pin.
This dish is easy to make, makes the house smell like a five-star restaurant, and is incredible served hot or as a yummy cold orzo salad.
PRO TIP: if it's a lazy Sunday, make a double or triple batch of slow-roast tomatoes. Lower the heat to 325º or 350º F and let them slow roast for an hour or more (depending on the size of the tomatoes) until the edges are caramelized and the tomatoes are wilted and soft.
Lemon Fennel Orzo Leftovers and Storage Tips
Vegan Cabbage Rolls - I've stuffed leftover orzo into cabbage leaves, rolled them, and put them into a casserole dish with spicy tomato sauce then baked them in the oven until bubbling and hot. Simple, easy and delicious.
Filling for Savory Pancakes - delicious in a pancake! Add a handful of leftover orzo into Simply, Savoury Chickpea Pancake recipe.
Simple Salad - a sprinkle of leftover orzo makes a simple salad hearty! Fancy Rainbow Salad
Store leftover orzo in the fridge for several days with no loss of flavor or texture. This lemon fennel orzo recipe also stores well for a month or more in the freezer.
More Delicious Vegan Recipes
Vegan Potstickers with Maple Sesame Soy Sauce - Mom's Chow Mein Recipe
Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken (vegan) - family favourite!!!
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - popular blog favorite!
Best Vegan Shawarma Recipe with spicy soy curl tender and 2 incredible drizzle sauces!!!
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Lemon Fennel Orzo Bowl Recipe
- 8-10 cocktail tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup basil, finely chopped
- 1-2 cups orzo
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp ground fennel
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped
- 4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2-3 cups kale, chopped
- ¼ cup veggie broth*
- 2-4 cups spinach, ribbons
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ⅓ cup cashews, crushed
- 3-4 leaves basil, torn
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Toss halved tomatoes with 1 tbsp of olive oil, large garlic cloves (crushed), finely chopped basil, and S&P - mix well to coat the tomatoes.Use a splash of broth or oil if oil-free.
- Tip tomatoes into an oven-proof dish and bake until soft and bubbly (20-40 minutes). *PRO TIP - if you don't have cocktail tomatoes, use whole cherry tomatoes or quartered roma tomatoes. Choose the most flavourful tomatoes you can find.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the orzo as per package instructions. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium to high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil (or a splash of broth if oil free), garlic, paprika, ground fennel, fresh parsley, thyme or rosemary (1 tsp if dry) and sun dried tomatoes - sauté for a couple minutes until fragrant.
- Add kale and a ¼ cup of broth (I use this one), cover and let steam for a few minutes until kale is soft.
- Toss in the spinach, cooked orzo, ½ a lemon juiced (or more to taste), ground cashews, stir together and cook until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
- Taste and adjust spices, s&p, and lemon as required. Transfer to serving dish.
- Place tomatoes and all juice and spices from the roasted tomatoes on to the orzo mixture.
- Garnish with chopped fresh basil, more hot pepper flakes, and lemon slices.
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