Lemon Pepper Orzo | Only 5 Ingredients!

lemon orzo in sauté pan on marble countertop

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5 from 3 reviews

This Lemon Pepper Orzo is a creamy, tangy, one-pot side that’s delicious with practically everything! Vegan, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Option.


  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces (225 g) orzo (gf if necessary)
  • 2 1/2 cups (590 ml) water
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (9 g) finely grated vegan parmesan cheese* (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Aromatics: melt the butter in a small sauce pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and black pepper and sauté for 60 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the dry orzo to the pan and toast for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Boil: add the water, lemon juice (save the zest for step 3!), and salt to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12-13 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Final Add-Ins: Turn the heat to low (or off) and stir in the lemon zest and parmesan, if using. Season with additional salt to pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve: serve warm, sprinkled with parsley, or as desired. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days; reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of water (preferred).


  • If you’d like a cheesy flavor but don’t want to use vegan parm, add 1-2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast along with the other ingredients in step 2 for a dairy-free, cheesy kick!
  • Extra Veggies: if you want to up the veggies, stir in a couple of handfuls of spinach or up to 1 cup of peas into the orzo towards the end of cooking!