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Creamy Vegan Orzo with Caramelized Onions and Kale

This vegan orzo recipe is laced with caramelized onions and kale, all tied together in a creamy butternut squash sauce. My go-to side dish that I know everyone at the table will love!

This vegan orzo is laced with caramelized onions and kale, all tied together in a creamy butternut squash sauce. My go-to side dish that I know everyone at the table will love!

As it turns out, new knifes can be very sharp. And when the dangerous combination of a new knife, a stubborn butternut squash, and a sometimes-maybe-always-clumsy cook come together, finger near-fatalities occur. So yea, I had an introduction to Dutch healthcare in the form of an emergency room shortly after diving into this recipe last week.

But all is well now! I’ve got all my fingers + a big ole bandage + some smaller bandages, and I’m typing away with my seven scathe-free fingers as a high speed train zips me south to my parents’ home in Germany. Fortunately for the boyfriend-tulip-man, I made hoards of this creamy orzo before I left, so he’ll be having reheated orzo ALL WEEK!

Creamy Sweet Potato Squash Orzo with Kale

The base of this vegan orzo is a puree of sweet potato and butternut squash with vegetable broth and a dash of paprika, coming together into a creamy, almost cheesy sauce.

If you have nutritional yeast flakes on hand, throw a dash of that in as well! Nutritional yeast adds even more cheesy flavor, though the sauce is pretty great without it too.

Creamy Sweet Potato Squash Orzo with Kale

The orzo itself is compliments of the boyfriend-tulip-man’s mama, the Dutch-tulip-mama, who always manages to slip us a tasty kitchen treat, whether it be extra virgin olive oil or Dutch stewed pears, when we visit for our weekly dinners.

Creamy Sweet Potato Squash Orzo with Kale

I’d forgotten orzo even existed until she cooked it up one night. So now that I’ve remembered its existence, be prepared for more orzo. So much more orzo.

Creamy Sweet Potato Squash Orzo with Kale
Creamy Sweet Potato Squash Orzo with Kale

Creamy Vegan Orzo with Caramelized Onions and Kale

This vegan orzo is laced with caramelized onions and kale, all tied together in a creamy butternut squash sauce. My go-to side dish that I know everyone at the table will love!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Pastas, Side Dishes
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: butternut squash orzo, orzo and kale, vegan orzo
Diet: Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Time: 45 minutes or less
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 447kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
3.67 from 3 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups cooked orzo 740 g, aka risoni, about 2 cups uncooked
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced white onions 90 g
  • 1 sweet potato 130 g, peeled and diced
  • ½ small butternut squash about 2 cups, 275 g, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 cup chopped kale 90 g
  • Handful cherry tomatoes halved
  • Salt and pepper as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook orzo in boiling water for about 10 minutes, until tender (or according to instructions on package). Strain, cover, and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil over low/medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent onions from becoming crispy, reducing heat to low if necessary. These should be brown, soft, and caramelized when they’re finished.
  • While onions cook, bring a large pot of water to boil and add diced sweet potato and squash. Cook until fork tender, 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain the potatoes and squash and place in a blender with vegetable broth, soy sauce, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or paprika as needed. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
  • Remove onions from skillet and add chopped kale. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, until kale is bright green and starting to wilt.
  • Combine kale, caramelized onions, orzo, and sweet potato squash sauce. Top with halved cherry tomatoes. Serve warm and with love!

NUTRITION

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 84.9g | Protein: 14.4g | Fat: 5.6g | Sodium: 439mg | Fiber: 6.8g
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Comments (11)

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  1. What beautiful pictures, anything with kale in has my name written ALL over it.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks, Charla! I wish I felt the same way about kale! I have to sneak it into my recipes to make myself eat it sometimes 🙂

  2. My goodness! I love how creamy this looks… without cream! Great idea with the potato and pumpkin. Also, I have never thought of using nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor – wonderful!

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh yes nutritional yeast makes things so so cheesy! But the recipe totally works without it too 🙂

  3. Noel says:

    Wow! This looks so easy, and so yummy!
    lovely kale dish

    stumbled and yummed!4 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for sharing, Noel!!

  4. Amy says:

    This is amazing! Thank you for creating this awesome dish!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks, Amy!! So happy to hear you liked it!! 🙂

  5. Ali says:

    I have to be honest: I didn’t love this. It’s a lot of carbs on top of carbs and I didn’t think the orzo stood up well to such a heavy sauce, though that’s partly because I used a gluten-free variety which is softer. It was also a little too savory so I added some lemon juice and extra kale to absorb some of the sauce, but it tasted to me like butternut squash soup on top of a delicate pasta that would be better prepared simply. My husband said, “I think I would like this better with olive oil and lemon.” Thank you for sharing, but not my favorite.2 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Sorry to hear you didn’t love it, Ali! Hopefully it at least gave you some ideas for future dinners, even if they don’t involve combining butternut and orzo 🙂

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