One-Pot Mediterranean Orzo Bolognese (Vegan)

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: March 11, 2024

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Close-up of a serving of vegan one-pot orzo Bolognese topped with pine nuts and nutritional yeast.


You’ve asked me for more easy meals, and I think this Vegan One-Pot Mediterranean Orzo might be the perfect midweek dinner. It’s so cozy, packed with veggies and goodness from the lentils, and best of all, it comes together in 30 minutes in just one pot! And I didn’t even use the mini blender… Seriously, this might be the fewest dishes we’ve ever had to wash after making dinner! Best of all, each serving contains 22 g of protein and 14 g of fiber to keep you full and satisfied.

I used the idea of lentil bolognese with its rich tomato flavor and made it just slightly more decadent by adding porcini flavor for that little je ne sais quoi touch. A proper hug in a bowl, you wouldn’t guess it’s mostly made from pantry ingredients.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Simple ingredients from your pantry come together to create a comforting meal.
  • Nutrition-packed with lentils and vegetables, offering a wholesome balance.
  • One-pot wonder for easy cleanup and straightforward cooking.
  • Flavorful twist on a classic dish, making it exciting and new.
  • Versatile with options for substitutions and additions to suit all tastes.
A bowl of vegan one-pot orzo Bolognese garnished with basil and pine nuts, served next to grilled broccolini.

Ingredient Notes

Flat lay of ingredients for vegan one-pot orzo Bolognese including fresh vegetables, lentils, spices, and dry orzo.
  • Orzo (Risoni): A small rice-shaped pasta that’s great for quick meals. For a gluten-free option, choose any small gluten-free pasta.
  • Lentils: Nutritious and rich in protein; you can substitute with dry TVP for an even higher protein content.
  • Porcini Mushrooms: Adds a depth of umami flavor. Including dry mushrooms is a great way to add strong flavors to a dish without breaking the bank; a little goes a long way! We are adding them dry in this recipe, but if you ever need to rehydrate them first, make sure to save the water, aka “mushroom stock,” to use as you would use vegetable stock in another recipe. It’s packed with flavor.
  • Rosemary: This anti-inflammatory herb enhances the dish with its aromatic touch.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Start by heating olive oil in a large pot and cooking the onions until slightly brown. Add carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, porcini, tamari, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, cooking covered. Stir in the orzo, lentils, and tomatoes, adding water or vegetable stock, and cook until the orzo is tender. Finish with fresh basil and serve with toasted pinenuts, vegan parmesan, and optional grilled broccolini.

Overhead view of vegan one-pot orzo Bolognese in a bowl with a side of grilled broccolini and a pot of the meal in the background.

Variations and Tips

  • Budget-friendly soup: Omit the pinenuts and add 2 extra cups of vegetable broth to stretch it into a delicious soup.
  • Add greens: Stir in spinach or kale for extra nutrients.
  • Kid-friendly: Remove chili flakes and tamari, and finely shred vegetables for a meal kids will adore.
  • High-Protein option: replace the lentils with 1 cup of TVP mince that you can rehydrate in veg stock
  • Leftover-friendly: It’s just as good the next day, perfect for a cozy work lunch. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free pasta to cater to dietary needs.
  • Porcini mushroom alternative: Substitute with other dried mushrooms, olives, or sundried tomatoes for varied flavors.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan One-Pot Orzo Bolognese

  • Hearty
  • Nutritious
  • Easy
  • Flavorful
  • Versatile
Close-up of a serving of vegan one-pot orzo Bolognese topped with pine nuts and nutritional yeast.

One-Pot Mediterranean Orzo Bolognese

5 from 4 votes
This One-Pot Vegan Orzo Bolognese is so nourishing and uses simple ingredients and pantry staples. It offers a delightful twist on a classic and promises a satisfying and easy-to-make meal that's sure to become a favorite in your weekly rotation.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Video

Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 1 medium carrot (finely diced)
  • 1 medium zucchini (finely chopped)
  • 4 button white mushrooms (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 0.3 oz dry chopped Porcini mushrooms (see notes)
  • 1 tsp tamari (reduced sodium preferred)
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes (add up to ½ tsp if you like it hot)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 7 oz dry orzo (Risoni)
  • 1.5 cups cooked lentils
  • 14 oz chopped tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups water or vegetable stock (low sodium preferred)

To Serve

  • 2 tbsp toasted pinenuts
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • vegan parmesan (optional)
  • grilled broccolini or broccoli, optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot on medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, until slightly brown.
  • Add the carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, dry porcini, tamari, rosemary, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook covered for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat slightly, add the orzo, lentils, tomatoes, and 2.5 cups (590 ml) of water, stir well, and cover for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will notice that most of the water has been absorbed. Test the pasta to ensure it is cooked enough; it may take a bit longer to cook than you might be accustomed to when just boiling in water.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the rosemary sprig, and stir in the fresh basil. Serve topped with toasted pinenuts, vegan parmesan, and grilled broccolini if using. Enjoy!

Notes

Porcini mushroom alternative: they bring a lot of flavors, and are one of my favorite ways to add a bit of umami to a meal. If you can’t find them, you can use other chopped dry mushrooms instead. If the dry mushrooms are whole, rehydrate them first and chop them before adding them to the pot. If you want to sub the dry mushrooms, chopped olives or sundried tomatoes can be an alternative to bring extra flavor to the dish. 

Per Serving

Calories 486kcalCarbohydrates 88gProtein 22gFat 7gSodium 517mgFiber 15gVitamin A 211IUVitamin C 14mgCalcium 72mgIron 7mg
COURSE Main Course
CUISINE Italian-Inspired, Mediterranean-Inspired
KEYWORDS Easy, Nutritious, one-pot, plant-based
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FAQ

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, simply use gluten-free pasta instead of traditional orzo.

Are there alternatives to porcini mushrooms?

Yes, other dried mushrooms, chopped olives, or sundried tomatoes make great substitutes.

How can I make this dish more kid-friendly?

Avoid chili flakes and tamari, and finely shred the vegetables.

Is this recipe suitable for meal prep?

Absolutely, it’s even more delicious the next day!

Can I add more protein to this dish?

Yes, substituting lentils with dry TVP rehydrated in vegetable stock is a great option.

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