Cauliflower Baked Orzo

This Cauliflower Baked Orzo recipe is pretty darned great. It’s one of those pasta dishes that is mostly veggies – so it feels like you’re eating a big satisfying bowl of pasta, but it’s slightly lighter on the ol’ waistline.

a pan of baked orzo with herbs on top.

This baked orzo is super flavourful and loaded with different textures and pops of flavour. It’s gingery, spicy, savoury, sweet, and very satisfying.

What you’ll need to make this recipe

Cauliflower: The golden child of the brassica family
Dried orzo pasta: Or any small noodle
Stock: If you’re veggie, use veggie. But any stock will do. I usually use chicken stock or chicken broth
Cooked chickpeas: From the can or cooked from scratch
Onion: For background flavour
Fresh ginger: To deliver a zesty punch
Garlic: A whopping four cloves!
Ground coriander: For earthy, grassy flavour
Olive oil: Or any oil really, but olive seems to suit this dish
Tomato paste: For richness and colour
Salt: Basic seasoning folks!
Red pepper flakes: Just enough to add a little kick
Raisins: Or any dried fruit really, just something sweet to bite into now and again
Almonds: Or any nut or seed. Just a little crunch to top things off
Fresh herbs: I like parsley, chives or cilantro. Something fresh and leafy, not hard and woody

How to make this Cauliflower and Chickpea Baked Orzo

This baked orzo is as easy as it gets.

  • Place a large, high-sided oven-proof pan in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees or as hot as it will go.
  • Roughly chop the cauliflower and onion and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Mince or grate the ginger and garlic, and add to the bowl along with the tomato paste, salt, olive oil, ground coriander, and chilli flakes. Toss well to combine.
  • When the oven and the pan are hot, remove the pan from the oven and dump the cauliflower mixture into the pan. Place the pan back in the oven, and roast the cauliflower mixture for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown on the edges.
  • Remove the roasted cauliflower mixture from the oven, and add the raw orzo, chickpeas, raisins, and stock to the pan. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. The liquid should be a touch salty, but it will become less salty as the orzo absorbs the liquid. Cover the pan tightly, return to the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 375. Cook, covered for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the orzo should be fully cooked and the liquid should be absorbed. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts and herbs and enjoy.
a pan of baked orzo with fresh herbs on top.

Tips for success

These tips for success will help you make the best darned baked orzo of your life:

  • Don’t fuss too much about the size of your cauliflower pieces. It’s best when there are a few big chunks and a few small chunks. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
  • For this recipe, I used store-bought chicken stock concentrate. If you’re using homemade or low-sodium stock, you may have to add a bit more salt to the recipe.
  • Don’t be afraid to crank your oven to max heat! If your cauliflower only takes 8 minutes to roast, that’s ok. Hot and fast is better than cold and slow when it comes to cauliflower roasting. (Just don’t burn it.)

What goes well with this Cauliflower Baked Orzo?

This is the main course unto itself. It would also be great with a fresh leafy salad. I also think it’s a perfect thing to bring to a potluck or picnic of some sort.

Storage and reheating tips

This Baked Orzo is best enjoyed right away, but it’s also really really good cold, or at room temperature.

If you’re making enough for leftovers, keep them stored in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you want to reheat it (totally optional) it’s best to do that in the microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, put it in a covered oven-safe baking dish and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Let me know how it goes! I hope you love this one!

a pan of baked orzo with herbs on top.

Cauliflower Baked Orzo

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This Cauliflower Baked Orzo with Chickpeas is quick to make, satisfying to eat, and is perfect hot or cold. What more can you ask for?

Ingredients

  • 400 grams cauliflower
  • 150 grams dried orzo pasta
  • 500 milliliters stock (see recipe notes)
  • 400 grams cooked chickpeas (1 large can)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 40 grams raisins (1/4 cup)
  • 40 grams chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs

Instructions

  1. Place a large, high-sided oven-proof pan in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees or as hot as it will go.
  2. Roughly chop the cauliflower and onion and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Mince or grate the ginger and garlic, and add to the bowl along with the tomato paste, salt, olive oil, ground coriander, and chili flakes. Toss well to combine.
  3. When the oven and the pan are hot, remove the pan from the oven and dump the cauliflower mixture into the pan. Place the pan back in the oven, and roast the cauliflower mixture for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown on the edges.
  4. Remove the roasted cauliflower mixture from the oven, and add the raw orzo, chickpeas, raisins, and stock to the pan. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. The liquid should be a touch salty, but it will become less salty as the orzo absorbs the liquid.
  5. Cover the pan tightly, return to the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 375. Cook, covered for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. At this point, the orzo should be fully cooked and the liquid should be absorbed. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts and herbs and enjoy.

Notes

This recipe is great with any kind of stock you like. To keep it vegan/vegetarian, use vegetable stock. If you prefer chicken stock, use that. This recipe is based on Better Than Boullion brand chicken stock concentrate which contains salt. If you're using low-sodium or homemade stock, you may need to add additional salt to the recipe.

Did you make this?

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