This vegan broccoli orzo casserole is a creamy yet healthy one skillet dinner. It’s full of broccoli goodness and delicious orzo but never boring thanks to the crunchy and garlicky breadcrumbs. This is a very versatile dish in that you can customize the pasta, spice level etc according to you and your family’s taste. Since it is made in one skillet, you will be spending less time cleaning up and more time enjoying this creamy orzo bake. And it will come together on your dinner table in less than 45 minutes. If you have friends or family joining you during festivities who are vegetarian/vegan, this would be a great choice for a main as well.
What ingredients do you need for the broccoli orzo casserole?
Broccoli – I used around 3/4 lb or around 350 g of fresh broccoli. You can use frozen broccoli as well. Make sure you use it frozen and not thawed. If using fresh broccoli as well, wash well and cut in to small or medium sized florets. Uniform sized florets will help in cooking it evenly. We will roast the broccoli and the aromatics separately for some time and keep aside before adding it in later. Roasting the vegetables will help make it more flavorful.
Orzo – Orzo is a rice shaped pasta and cooks quickly. You can choose any pasta you want to use instead of orzo. If you want to cut donw on the cooking time, I would suggest using a smaller pasta like orzo, small macaroni, shells etc. You can slightly toast it before cooking to give the pasta a more nutty flavor.
Aromatics – I used yellow onions and garlic as the main aromatics. We will also use garlic to make the garlic breadcrumb topping.
Roux – We will use a roux base for the sauce for this casserole. I usually use almond flour instead of regular wheat flour and olive/avocado oil in lieu of butter. Please feel free to make the traditional roux if you prefer that. I also added oat milk to the roux to keep the broccoli orzo casserole completely vegan.
Breadcrumbs – The breadcrumbs add a crunchy texture that contrasts very well with the creamy orzo. I also added fresh finely chopped garlic and red pepper for more flavor and some heat. You can even add fresh or dried herbs mixed in to the breadcrumbs before topping the casserole.
Nutritional Yeast/Cheese – I did not have any nutritional yeast on hand and could not add it but this would be a great addition to the casserole itself. You can also mix some with the breadcrumb topping. You can also add some vegan cheese or even regular cheese like cheddar or parmesan mixed in to the casserole or as a topping before adding the breadcrumb layer.
Can I make it entirely on stove stop? – Yes,once I made the breadcrumb topping, I added it to the top of the casserole and broiled it in the oven until the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown. If you dont want to make use of the oven, then you can toast the breadcrumb mixture in a small frying pan before topping the casserole.
How do I store the leftovers? – You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven. You can also freeze the casserole if you are making this ahead of time. The pasta might not hold on it structure completely up on reheating but the dish will still be enjoyable. However, make sure you add the breadcrumb topping once the dish has been reheated and just before serving.
How do I make it gluten-free? – Orzo or regular pasta is not gluten-free but there are plenty of options in the market which are made of lentils, beans or rice that can be substituted. Please check the package for cooking times and adjust the recipe accordingly. For the breadcrumbs as well, there are many gluten-free options available in the market.
Can I add more heat? – I love my spice but I also really enjoyed the delicate flavors of this broccoli orzo casserole. If you prefer a bit more heat ,you can add a little bit of punch by mixing in red pepper flakes, jalapeños or hot sauce.
This broccoli orzo casserole might seem simple but is quite flavorful while using simple ingredients. Make this on a weeknight or as a vegan/vegetarian main for the festivities. I would love to hear from you so please let me know any questions or comments you have below. If you want to follow #dillandthyme on social media, you can find us on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
Looking for other cold weather casseroles? Here’s some more you might like
Broccoli Orzo Casserole with Garlic Breadcrumb Topping
- 12" Skillet
- 3/4 lb Broccoli washed and cut in to smaller florets
- 1 lb Orzo
- 1 medium Yellow Onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- 5 tbsp Olive/Avocado Oil
- 1/4 cup Almond Flour
- 5 cups Veggie Broth or water
- 1 cup Oat Milk sub with any other unsweetened plant based milk
- 1/2 cup Vegan Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast optional
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Vegan Butter
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
- Heat the skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes.Add around 4 garlic cloves amount of chopped garlic. Now add the broccoli and saute until it is slightly browned.
- Remove the broccoli and onion mixture and keep aside. Add the orzo to the same pan and toast it for a couple of minutes. Keep aside.
- Add the remaining avocado oil and heat it gently. Add the almond flour. Keep stirring until the flour has completely mixed with the oil. Let this mixture cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Keep stirring to ensure the mixture does not burn.
- Now add the oat milk and mix well until there are no lumps of flour left. Add back the orzo and the water/broth. Add back the broccoli-onion mixture as well. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix well and cover the skillet. Cook the orzo as per package.
- Check if the pasta needs more water/broth after 7-8 minutes and add some accordingly if it does.While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl mix the melted butter,2 cloves of chopped garlic,bread crumbs and red pepper flakes . Mix well and keep aside.
- Once the pasta is cooked, top with some cheese if using. Then top with the breadcrumb mixture uniformly and place in the oven. Broil at low for 10-15 minutes until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.