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5 from 3 votes

Creamy Balsamic Orzo

This dish is somehow elegant AND a total comfort food at the same time! The creamy balsamic is my new favorite dressing, and it compliments the orzo and tomatoes here perfectly!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 5
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the creamy balsamic dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Vegenaise, (or mayonnaise)

For the veggies:

  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, cut into thin half moons
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter, or additional Tbsp olive oil to keep this meal vegan

Everything else:

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 2-4 oz mozzarella, cubed to 1/2 inch cubes (omit to keep this meal vegan)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced

Instructions

Make the veggies

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter (or additional Tbsp olive oil) over medium heat until the butter melts. (Or for 30 seconds if using all olive oil.)
  • Add the onion, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, until the onion begins to release its juices and turn translucent. Now turn the heat down to medium low and cook for another 7 minutes.
  • Turn the heat back up to medium, and add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat for another 3 minutes, then once again, turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook the tomatoes and onions for another 10 minutes over low heat. The tomatoes will release their juices and smell heavenly. Veggies are done!

Make the orzo

  • Make the orzo according to package instructions. While the orzo cooks, you can cube the mozzarella (if using) and make the balsamic dressing.

Make the balsamic dressing

  • In a small bowl, add the garlic, salt, and pepper, followed by the olive oil, Vegenaise (or mayonnaise), maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. Now simply whisk everything together with a fork.
  • Keep whisking until the dressing emulsifies. (Or comes together completely and there is no separation between the oil and the other ingredients.) This could take a minute or two, so don’t worry, just keep whisking until you get there. Dressing is done!

Put it all together

  • Once the orzo is done, drain it, and put the orzo back in the pot you cooked it in. (Save a dish!)
  • While the orzo is still warm, add in the onion and tomato mixture, followed by the drained chickpeas, then the parsley. Gently fold them into the orzo.
  • Now mix in the creamy balsamic dressing. Start with about 1/3 of the dressing, then add more to taste. I generally use just about all of the dressing. Like literally 7/8ths! Just mix the dressing into the pot with everything else.
  • Finally, add the mozzarella cubes (if using), and fold them into the warm orzo so they melt a bit.

Serve and enjoy!

  • Garnish each serving of this Creamy Balsamic Orzo with parsley, and serve with a side of your favorite greens and meat substitute, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

This dish is gluten free if made with gluten free pasta!
This dish is vegan if you use olive oil instead of butter, and omit the mozzarella.
This dressing is so versatile! It’s also great on salads. I’ll share my favorite salad with this dressing very soon!!