This Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Orzo is the rich and creamy pasta dish you didn’t know you needed! Fresh veggies, tender orzo, and a cashew cream sauce combined into a cheesy, dairy-free dish that’s as addicting as it sounds. Have this orzo dish on the table in no time!
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 16 ounces orzo
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 6 cups vegan chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 8 ounces vegan cheddar cheese shreds
- Black pepper, to taste
- Boiling hot water
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Breadcrumb topping (optional):
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (80 g) panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Black pepper
- Soften the cashews. Place the raw cashews in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling hot water overtop. Set aside to soak for at least 20 minutes, or overnight.
- Prepare the breadcrumbs. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Once melted, add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Season the breadcrumbs. Add the salt, Italian seasoning, and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir through and remove the breadcrumbs from the heat. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Make the cashew cream sauce. Drain the cashews and transfer them to a high-speed blender along with the water and lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth and set aside.
- Sauté the onions. In a large Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of vegan butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the diced onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions are softened and browned, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add in the garlic, carrots, paprika, and thyme. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Then, add the orzo (short-cut pasta), broth, and remaining salt.
- Bring to a boil. Bring the orzo mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the broccoli. Add the broccoli florets and stir to combine. Cover again and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the orzo has absorbed the liquid and is al dente.
- Stir in the cashew cream and vegan cheddar cheese. Combine until the cheese is melted and creamy.
- Serve. Season this vegan orzo with additional black pepper and salt to taste, and serve warm topped with the toasted breadcrumbs. Enjoy!
- Although this is best when enjoyed fresh, it will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- We wouldn’t recommend freezing this recipe as the cashew cream sauce is likely to separate upon thawing.
- This broccoli cheddar orzo can also be served with fresh herbs like fresh parsley or chives, vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, additional cheese shreds, and/or croutons!
- If you are gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and use gluten-free pasta.
- If nut-free, replace the cashews 1:1 with raw sunflower seeds.
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Pasta, Dinner
- Method: Stovetop and Blender
Keywords: pasta, cashews, entree, lunch, broccoli, vegan cheese