Only a few ingredients stand between you and this easy, breezy spicy orzo and kale recipe. It’s brothy, aromatic, and so easy to throw together making this spicy orzo recipe a perfect weeknight vegan dinner recipe.
I’m all for quick and easy vegan dinner recipes and this one did NOT disappoint. I used a dry lemon and chili pepper blend shown below. It’s absolutely incredible but fortunately, it’s only 2 ingredients, so if you can’t get your hands on the powder, don’t fret! You can replace it with juice from one lemon and as much crushed red pepper as you like.
This spicy orzo and kale recipe is so easy to make and you only need a few ingredients, including:
- Extra virgin olive oil, for sautéing
- Yellow onion
- Lemon and crushed red pepper spice blend (or use the juice of one lemon and crushed red pepper to taste)
- Dry orzo
- Baby kale
- Fresh basil
- Salt and pepper
That’s it! Most of those are pantry staples which makes this meal even better and even easier.
How to make this spicy orzo and kale recipe:
One thing to know about this recipe is that if you and your family are planning on eating it all in one sitting, you can add the orzo directly to the pot. If you’re planning on having leftovers, make the orzo in a separate pot and drain and ladle the hot broth over the cooked orzo. This will prevent any swelling in the pot later on. You can store them in the fridge separately. I add a little bit of olive oil to the orzo when I refrigerate it to prevent it from clumping.
To make it, start by sautéing the onion in a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Let it cook for about 6–7 minutes. You want it to sweat and then just barely begin to turn golden brown.
From there, add the spice blend (or lemon juice and crushed red pepper) and cook an additional 2–3 minutes.
Pour in the water and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Hard simmer for 20 minutes until it reduces and deepens in flavor.
To finish the broth, simply add baby kale and sliced basil leaves and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
As the broth cooks, bring a large pot of water and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain it and divide it between bowls and then immediately ladle the hot broth on top.
Want extra protein? Throw a can of chickpeas in there!
Did you make this recipe? Take a picture and tag @Exploring__Vegan on Instagram so I can feature you! No insta? No problem! Rate the recipe and drop a comment below to let me know what you thought!
Spicy Orzo and Kale Recipe
- 2 Large pots
- Colander or sieve
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoon lemon and crushed red pepper spice blend or use the juice of one lemon and crushed red pepper to taste
- 6 cups water or vegetable stock
- 8 ounces dry orzo
- 5 ounces baby kale
- 1 ounce fresh basil leaves thinly sliced, a few leaves reserved for garnish
- Salt and pepper
Sauté the aromatics:
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 6–7 minutes. You want it to sweat and barely begin to turn golden brown.
- Add the spice blend (or lemon juice and crushed red pepper) and cook for 2–3 minutes.
Simmer the broth:
- Pour in the water and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Hard simmer for 20 minutes until it reduces and deepens in flavor. Taste and season again to your preferences.
Finish the broth:
- Add baby kale and sliced basil leaves and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Taste and season again to your preferences.
Prepare the orzo:
- As the broth cooks, bring a large pot of salted water and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and divide the orzo between shallow bowls. See note.
- Ladle the hot broth over the orzo. Garnish with some extra basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Enjoy!