This dairy-free Creamy Tomato Orzo with Spinach is quick and easy to make in one pan in 20 minutes with simple ingredients.

You’ll love this recipe for a quick side or main dish you can whip up with just a few ingredients. If you don’t have spinach, no problem, in which case the entire recipe is made with pantry ingredients like canned diced tomatoes and coconut milk.

Tomato orzo with spinach cooking in a pan with a spoon resting in it.

The recipe is dairy-free though still rich and creamy and makes a great option for a quick and easy side dish any night of the week.

If you have extra orzo on hand after making this recipe, you can use it in this Easy Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup, Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables or Mediterranean Orzo Salad.


  • Vegan recipe (no cream or other dairy).
  • Use gluten-free orzo for a gluten-free dish.
  • Quick to make in one pan.
  • Customize with add-ins.
  • Make in advance.
  • Serve as a side dish or light main.
  • Made with pantry ingredients.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is preferred but you can use any cooking oil you like.
  • Shallot: Roughly 2 medium-sized shallots or 1/3 cup minced. If you don’t have shallot available you can substitute white onion.
  • Dry Orzo: For a vegan recipe, check the label as some brands contain egg. Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that is popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. You can find it in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores, specialty food shops, or online.
  • Vegetable Broth: You can use any vegetable broth or bouillon you like.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Use a whole 28 oz can with the juices. Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for etra depth of flavour.
  • Dried Herbs: The recipe calls for dried basil and oregano. You can substitute 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
  • Coconut Milk: Full-fat or light coconut milk is suitable. I used light coconut milk. This can be substituted with homemade cashew cream.
  • Spinach: Optional but adds a pop of green and extra nutrition. Kale can be substituted.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Variations and Additions

  • I like to add 1 tsp red pepper flakes for heat. It will have some kick with 1 tsp, reduce to 1/2 tsp for subtle heat or skip if you’re sensitive to spice.
  • You can leave out the coconut milk if needed. The dish is still tasty before adding the coconut milk.
  • This can be made with 3 cups of fresh cherry tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. To use fresh tomatoes, half them and add them with the garlic and shallot and cook 3-4 minutes until juicy before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
  • Add up to 1 cup diced zucchini with the broth and tomatoes for extra bulk and nutrition.
  • Stir in up to 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for a variation.
  • For tomato basil orzo, omit the dried basil and stir in 1 cup chopped fresh basil with the coconut milk.
  • Mix in 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas for extra protein and fiber.

Step-by-Step Photos

Minced garlic and shallot cooking in a large pan.

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large pan or pot. Once heated, add the shallot and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until tender and fragrant.

Dry orzo cooking in a pan.

Step 2: Add the orzo and cook for 2-3 minutes to toast. Stir often to coat in the oil and garlic.

Orzo cooking in a tomato sauce in a large pan.

Step 3: Add the tomatoes, broth, basil and oregano and bring to a simmer. Simmer 8-10 minutes until the orzo is tender and sauce has thickened, stirring frequently.

Large pan of tomato orzo with spinach with a wooden spoon resting in pan.

Step: Stir in the coconut milk and spinach and cook for couple more minutes to heat through. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another few minutes to further thicken.

Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve your orzo with fresh basil, freshly cracked black pepper and vegan parmesan cheese, if desired.

Bowl of tomato orzo with spinach.

Recipe FAQs

Can tomato orzo be made gluten-free?

Yes. You’ll need to use a gluten-free orzo to make this recipe gluten-free.

How do you store leftover tomato orzo?

Store leftover orzo in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pot or in individual servings in the microwave until heated through.

Is this dish suitable for meal prep?

Yes, creamy tomato orzo is great for meal prep. It stores well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently, adding a little water or vegetable broth if it seems too thick.

What can I serve with creamy tomato orzo?

This recipe pairs beautifully with a simple green salad, steamed vegetables, or crusty bread. For a heartier meal, serve it alongside grilled vegetables or a vegan protein of your choice.

Chef’s Tips

  • Cook Orzo Properly: To avoid mushy orzo, it should be cooked al dente, tender but still have a slight bite to it. Check it after 8 minutes.
  • Seasoning is Key: Don’t be shy with herbs and spices. Season as you go as per the recipe. Adding a pinch of red pepper flakes can give a nice heat that cuts through the creaminess. Feel free to add extra herbs like rosemary or thyme.
  • Use Quality Tomatoes: The flavor of the tomatoes is central to this dish. Use the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.
  • Stir Frequently: Orzo has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir frequently while cooking to ensure it doesn’t burn and cooks evenly.
  • Final Texture Adjustments: If the sauce thickens too much after adding the orzo, adjust the consistency by adding a little vegetable broth or water.
  • Taste and Adjust: Before serving, taste your dish and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Sometimes a splash of lemon juice or a bit more salt can really brighten the flavors.
Fork in a bowl of tomato orzo with spinach.

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Large pan of tomato orzo with spinach with a wooden spoon resting in pan.

Easy One Pan Creamy Tomato Orzo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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This easy vegan tomato orzo recipe is easy to whip up in one pan in about 20 minutes. Though made with just a few simple ingredients, it’s wonderfully flavourful and perfect for a plant-based meal or quick side dish served with any protein.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil (15 g)
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup dry orzo (200 g)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (250 mL)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted if possible
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk* (120 mL)


  1. Heat Oil: Heat the olive oil in a large pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Cook Shallot and Garlic: Add the shallot and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until tender and fragrant.
  3. Toast Orzo: Add the orzo and cook for 2 minutest to toast, stirring often until coated in the oil, shallot and garlic.
  4. Add Liquid and Seasoning: Add the broth, diced tomatoes, dried basil and oregano, and another pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until the orzo is al dente and the sauce has thickened. Orzo has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir frequently while cooking to ensure it doesn’t burn and cooks evenly.
  5. Add Coconut Milk and Spinach: Stir in the coconut milk and spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes to wilt the spinach and heat through. Turn off the heat and let sit for another 1-2 minutes to further thicken.
  6. Season and Serve: Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with parmesan cheese, fresh cracked black pepper, fresh basil or a drizzle of olive oil.


Spinach and coconut milk can both be omitted if you prefer. Coconut milk adds a creamy finish and the spinach adds some nutrition and color.

*I used light coconut milk in this recipe. You can use full-fat for a creamier finish or light for reduced fat and calories.

Sodium content will depend on broth and canned tomato variety used. Use reduced sodium or no-salt added products if sodium content is a concern.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 217
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Sodium: 769 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 6 g