This delicious, creamy orzo pasta dish with asparagus and peas is fresh, bright, and lemony – the perfect spring dinner. Plus, it’s vegan and dairy-free.
Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas
This quick orzo pasta is a great back-pocket weeknight recipe when you want to skip the meat and dairy. It has the same creamy texture as risotto, only cooked in a fraction of the time with no butter or cheese. The fresh medley of spring asparagus and peas contrasts beautifully with the lemony, creamy base, but you can switch it up with any veggies you like. Orzo is a fun pasta shape I often use in recipes, like this Broccoli and Orzo and Orzo with Sausage, Spinach, and Corn. And for more risotto recipes, try my Asparagus Risotto and Instant Pot Risotto with Peas.
This easy creamy orzo recipe is from Love and Lemons Simple Feel Good Food by Jeanine Donofrio. This recipe came out delicious, and I don’t even like peas! In her new cookbook, Jeanine divides up each chapter with recipes that require “minimal prep and ingredients” and those made with “food prepared ahead of time.” I didn’t change much of her recipe except for cutting back on the wine and making it 5 servings instead of 4 since it makes a lot. The serving sizes are still generous, and I think you’ll love how good it is!
Creamy Orzo Ingredients
- Leeks: Chop the white and light green parts of two leeks.
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning
- White Wine: Choose a good-quality dry white wine. If you prefer not to cook with wine, substitute vegetable broth.
- Garlic: Grate two garlic cloves.
- Orzo: Weigh 12 ounces of dry pasta using a kitchen scale.
- Lemon: You’ll need lemon zest and juice.
- Asparagus: Trim the ends of the asparagus and chop the spears into one- inch pieces.
- Peas: Use frozen green peas.
- Garnish with fresh herbs, like basil or tarragon and microgreens (optional).
How to Make Creamy Orzo
- Leeks: Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, salt, and pepper, and cook for five minutes until soft.
- Wine & Orzo: Stir in the wine and cook it for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, orzo, and three cups of broth.
- Simmer: Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Uncover and stir in the lemon zest and a half cup of broth. Cook, stirring, over low heat for a few minutes until the mixture is creamy and the orzo is fully cooked.
- Blanch Vegetables: Boil a medium pot of salted water. Once boiling, blanch the asparagus and peas for a minute or two until tender and bright green. Drain the veggies and transfer them to a towel to pat them dry.
- Season the Veggies: Put the asparagus and peas in a bowl and toss them with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and pepper.
- Serve: Check that the orzo isn’t too thick before serving. If so, stir in the remaining half cup of broth. Portion the orzo into bowls and top with the vegetables. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, and microgreens if using. Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges.
What to Serve with Creamy Orzo
This creamy orzo risotto is a filling meal on its own, but you could serve it with salmon, chicken, or a side salad.
How to Store Creamy Orzo
This creamy orzo will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave it until warm.
- Vegetables: Switch up the vegetables with whatever you have – Summer zucchini or broccolini would also be lovely. You could even stir in fresh spinach until it wilts.
- Protein: If you want to add more protein, try the pasta with diced chicken or shrimp.
- Cheese: Top the creamy orzo with parmesan or feta.
More Orzo Recipes You’ll Love
- Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad
- Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli Orzo
- Spinach Stracciatella Soup with Orzo
- Orzo with Sausage, Spinach, and Corn
- Orzo with Zucchini and Tomato
Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Peas
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped (3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 12 ounces orzo pasta
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
- Fresh herbs, basil and/or tarragon, for garnish
- Microgreens, for garnish (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the leeks, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and several grinds of pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the wine and let it cook down for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, orzo, and 3 cups of the broth. Stir, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Uncover and stir in the lemon zest and another 1/2 cup of the broth. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and the orzo is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the asparagus and peas into the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, or until tender but still bright green. Drain, transfer to a kitchen towel, and pat dry.
- Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, the lemon juice, and several grinds of pepper.
- Before serving, check the orzo’s consistency. If it has thickened too much, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup broth.
- Portion the orzo into bowls and top with the vegetable mixture. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, and microgreens, if using. Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges.