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Make our one-skillet or one-pot brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms – ready to eat in just over 30 minutes.
Orzo – it’s like pasta rice!
Want rice and noodles? There are rice noodles, or there’s noodle rice. Noodle rice, aka orzo, is awesome. Toss it on salads like this awesome winter vegetable orzo salad, or make a whole skillet out of it with butternut squash orzo bake. This simple delicious pasta option leaves so many opportunities for soups, salads, casserole dishes, and more.
Brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms is super delicious. With salty vegetable broth plus earthy kale and mushrooms plus sharp garlic and cheesy nutritional yeast you really can’t go wrong. What I love most about this dish is that every bite is superb. Whether you get a little kale, a little mushroom, or mostly orzo, you’re in for a real treat.
What ingredients do I need to make brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms?
Make our brothy orzo pasta with just a few simple ingredients. If you can’t source fresh herbs feel free to use dried!
Orzo: For this recipe, you’ll need one pound of orzo pasta. I’m not picky on brand, just used the store brand from Sprouts. If you’re gluten-free, you might want to try out Banza’s chickpea orzo. I haven’t had that specific shape, but I really like the penne and shells.
Kale: I initially wanted to make this recipe with dinosaur kale, but Instacart sent curly kale. Beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. I think either variety would work great in this recipe. If you end up grabbing the dino variety, make sure you give the leaves a few squeezes before adding to the skillet. It helps with the bitterness.
Mushrooms: 8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms will get you to what you need for this recipe. I simply cut the mushrooms into quarters. Presliced is ok too. Whatever makes ya happy.
Vegetable broth: If you weren’t sure where the “brothy” part of this recipe comes from, well, you have your answer. The pandemic has turned me onto bouillon cubes – a lifesaver! If you like salt, I recommend the variety from Edward & Sons.
Shallots: I love a good shallot. Tiny onions are the best – they’re packed with flavor but don’t take up a ton of space in your skillet so you can add more massive ingredients (Cough: I’m lookin’ at you, kale).
Garlic: Can you even have pasta without garlic? Most folks you ask would say absolutely not. This brothy orzo calls for about four garlic cloves. Use fresh if you’ve got ‘em, but that giant container of minced garlic they sell at Costco will work too.
Vegan butter: I strongly recommend using some kind of fat to cook your shallots garlic, and mushrooms. It helps with the flavor profile and coats the pan to help with any sticking that might occur.
Fresh oregano: If you can find fresh oregano, you’ll definitely need it for this dish! If not, basil, thyme, rosemary, even tarragon would taste lovely in here. If you don’t have access to fresh spices, you can definitely go dried. 1-2 teaspoons will do the trick.
Salt and pepper: I didn’t need any additional salt, but if your heart needs more, feel free to add. I did, however, add a decent amount of pepper to the brothy orzo.
Water: Depending on your skillet/pot, you might need more water to finish cooking your orzo. I needed about 2 extra cups of water to complete the cooking of the pasta.
How to make brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms
To make brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms you’ll need a few kitchen tools. First, choose your apparatus to cook the dish in. I picked a large skillet, but you can also use a large pot if you don’t have one of those. Next, you’ll need a knife and a cutting board to prepare the mushrooms, kale, shallots, and garlic. Lastly, you’ll need a measuring cup for your broth and spoon or spatula to give things a nice stir.
Start by adding two tablespoons of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance buttery sticks) to a cast-iron skillet or large pot. Then add four minced garlic cloves plus three sliced shallots to the skillet. Stir the ingredients together and let the garlic and shallots simmer until the shallots are slightly translucent – about five minutes.
Next, add the mushrooms to the skillet and continue to cook for about ten to fifteen minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Then, add the leaves of three oregano sprigs and the orzo. Continue to stir until the orzo is well coated in the butter, then add 1-2 cups of broth and stir to combine.
The next part is a bit tricky, we’re going to enter a risotto-type scenario but it’s a little more forgiving. Add the broth cup by cup and stir the orzo in the skillet to ensure sticking doesn’t occur. It can happen really easily so just be on the lookout and scrape away before things get out of hand.
If you run out of broth, start adding water instead. I used about two cups of water until I got an aldenté orzo. Once the pasta is mostly cooked, add your kale and stir to combine. Cook for an additional two to three minutes, then top with salt (you might not need any more salt) and pepper to taste. Lastly, top with additional oregano sprigs and serve.
I love this recipe because of how simple it is, you can really add and subtract ingredients to fit your favorite flavor profiles.
Add nooch: If you like things to be a little cheesy, consider adding a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast along with the vegetable broth while cooking your orzo or adding a few sprinkles on top for extra flavor.
Sub spinach: If you’re not a big kale fan, I understand. You can easily swap out the kale for spinach in this recipe.
Use olive oil instead: If you don’t have vegan butter on hand, you can easily swap the butter out for olive oil.
Use a different herb: I really love the flavor of the vegetable broth with oregano, but if you can’t find oregano or aren’t a fan, this recipe would taste great with fresh thyme, rosemary, or tarragon.
Add more veggies: You might have to make this in a pot instead of skillet but if you have some extra veggies on hand, feel free to toss them in. I think asparagus or brussels sprouts would be a fine addition to this recipe.
Want more recipes?
If you liked brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms, you might like some of my other vegetable-forward recipes like
- Winter vegetable pasta salad
- Asparagus with tofu ricotta and spicy breadcrumbs
- Tahini cauliflower
- Sesame orange Brussels sprouts
- Sesame miso green beans
- Sweet potato quinoa bowl
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Dancing in the Dark (Blaster Mix) by Bruce Springsteen.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Brothy Orzo with Kale and Mushrooms
- cutting board
- large skillet or large pot
- measuring cup
- wooden spoon
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter, (I used Earth Balance but you can also sub olive oil)
- 3 shallots, (peeled & sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic, (minced)
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, (quartered or sliced)
- 3 sprigs oregano, (stems removed)
- 1 lb orzo
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1-2 cups water, (see instructions)
- 3 leaves kale, (stems removed & chopped)
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- In a large skillet or pot, add vegan butter, shallots, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until shallots are semi-translucent.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, allowing the mushrooms to release their liquid. If you need to add a splash of broth to keep things from sticking, feel free to do so. Continue cooking until the mushrooms become tender – about 10 minutes.
- Add the oregano and the orzo to the skillet and stir to combine until the butter is evenly coated, then add 1-2 cups of vegetable broth. Depending on the skillet you have, sticking may occur. It's best to continuously stir the orzo and add more broth as the noodles absorb.
- Continue stirring, if the orzo isn't cooked by the time you run out of broth, add 1-2 more cups of water to the skillet and continue to cook stirring very often.
- Once the orzo is mostly cooked, add the kale and continue to stir Remove the burner and serve with salt and pepper and more oregano leaves. You might not need any more salt depending on how salty your broth is. Taste before adding any more.