Super easy Mediterranean-style orzo recipe with zucchini and chickpeas in a tasty, garlicy, chunky tomato sauce. Fresh mint and toasted pine nuts are the perfect finishing touch. Serve this as a simple vegetarian main or as a side next to your favorite protein.
- 12 oz orzo pasta
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Greek Private Reserve)
- 1 lb zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini), diced
- 10 to 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes (or 5 medium tomatoes, diced)
- 16 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups fully cooked chickpeas)
- Black pepper
- 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Toasted pine nuts (I used more than 1/2 cup), optional
- Cook orzo pasta according to package instructions (I cooked mine in 3 qt salted boiling water for about 9 minutes). Drain, keeping about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Set aside
- In a large braiser or heavy pan like this one, heat 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add zucchini; raise heat if needed and saute for about 5 minutes or so. Season with a little salt.
- Now add garlic, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices. Add the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or so. (Occasionally check and stir together, making sure to add a little bit of liquid if needed.)
- Uncover, stir in already cooked orzo pasta. Add lemon juice and stir again. Cook briefly until pasta is just warmed trough (a minute or 2.)
- Remove from heat and stir in fresh mint. Top with lots of toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!
- Cook's Tip for Leftovers: Let any leftovers cool before storing in the fridge in a tight-lid container. If properly refrigerated, this zucchini orzo dish will keep 3 to 4 days. You can enjoy it cold or at room temperature. You can also warm it up a little bit over medium-heat; add a little a tiny bit of water and break up the pasta, if needed, as it warms through.
- Use whole wheat orzo pasta, if you are following a more strict Mediterranean diet.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives). And from our spice collection: paprika, coriander, and cumin.
- Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
- Category: Sides
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Orzo recipe, Orzo with Vegetables, Vegetarian Orzo Recipe