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Marry Me Chickpeas and Orzo

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This one-pot chickpeas and orzo dish is simmered in a creamy garlic sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, basil and spinach. So delicious and ready to go in 30!

“Marry me” chicken recipes have been flooding the internet over the past few years, and with good reason — a pan full of creamy, sun-dried tomato and basil chicken can’t help but be a winner! Here in our house, though, I wanted to make a version that my vegetarian husband and pasta-loving toddler could enjoy too. Thus, this orzo and chickpeas dish was born. ♡

It’s basically just a “marry me” take on our family’s favorite lemony spiced orzo and chickpeas recipe. But this time, of course, made with tangy sun-dried tomatoes, a garlicky creamy broth, loads of fresh basil and a generous shower of Parmesan, all simmered together with perfectly chewy al dente pasta and protein-packed chickpeas. It’s a one-pot, 30-minute dinner that the whole family adores. And I’m pretty sure even all of the omnivores out there won’t miss the chicken!

That said, meals like this one are inherently customizable. So if you feel like adding in an additional protein (such as Italian sausage, shrimp, salmon or chicken), it would be quite easy to do. Or there are all sorts of other veggies and add-ins that could be delicious mixed in too. However you approach this one, the basic formula is famously so good that it will want to make everyone want to marry the cook. So…get ready to fall in love! ;)

Marry Me Chickpeas and Orzo Ingredients

Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Chickpeas: I love using a can of organic chickpeas (rinsed and drained) to add plant-based protein and a nice bit of texture to the dish. But a can of white beans, black beans, lentils, or any other favorite legumes could also totally work well here.
  • Orzo: The small rice-like shape of orzo soaks up the broth and adds lovely al dente texture to the dish. If you don’t happen to have orzo available, any other small shape of pasta will work well too.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: Sweet and tangy sun-dried tomatoes add the signature “Marry Me” depth of flavor and richness to this dish. I purchased a jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (which, by the way, you can use to sauté the shallot and garlic for extra flavor!), but you can also reconstitute dried sun-dried tomatoes if you prefer.
  • Aromatics: A simple mix of shallot and garlic build extra flavor into the broth.
  • Greens: A handful of chopped fresh baby spinach adds an extra boost of color and nutrition, or chopped kale would also work great here too.
  • Vegetable broth: Veggie broth (or you could also use chicken broth) adds an extra layer of flavor as we cook the orzo.
  • Heavy cream: A splash of heavy cream helps to finish the dish and make it deliciously rich and creamy.
  • Parmesan: The salty, nutty flavor of Parmesan helps to thicken and add a layer of umami flavor to the sauce. As always, I highly recommend buying a wedge of Parmesan and grating it yourself for the most robust flavor and melty texture.
  • Fresh basil: The more, the merrier when it comes to adding in chopped fresh basil leaves, which add such a delicious pop of fresh flavor and color to the dish.
  • Dried seasonings: Finally, we’ll use a simple mix of dried Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper flakes, fine sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper to season the dish.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few additional variations that you’re welcome to try with this recipe:

  • Add a protein: Add sautéed Italian sausage, ground beef, chicken or shrimp.
  • Add extra veggies: Add your favorite sautéed veggies, such as asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms or zucchini.
  • Add extra mix-ins: Add anything from artichoke hearts to capers, olives, pine nuts, or roasted red peppers.
  • Add pesto: Add a swirl of basil pesto in place of (or in addition to) the fresh basil.
  • Make it gluten-free: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gf.

More One-Pot Recipes

Looking for more delicious one pot recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites:

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Marry Me Chickpeas and Orzo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 11 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x

Description

This one-pot chickpeas and orzo dish is simmered in a creamy garlic sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, basil and spinach. So delicious and ready to go in 30!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup roughly-chopped fresh basil leaves
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Sauté the aromatics. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Simmer. Add the chickpeas, vegetable broth, orzo, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low, or whatever temperature is needed to maintain a low simmer. Then continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the orzo is just shy of al dente. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Add heavy cream, spinach, Parmesan, basil and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted and the orzo is al dente.
  4. Season. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an additional twist of black pepper, and enjoy!

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18 comments on “Marry Me Chickpeas and Orzo”

  1. This looks great! Can’t wait to try it out now that we’re eating more vegetarian.

    Can we get a Currently update when your life allows? I love hearing about your life updates!

  2. Loving the ingredients picture and options: I mistook the “fresh parmesan” for manchego! ❤️






  3. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delish! Will definitely make it again. I had some fresh asparagus so I threw that in. Had some frozen rotisserie chicken so I added that. I would have been fine skipping the chicken but my husband requested it. Loved the flavors.






  4. Made this tonight and it was delicious! I used half and half instead of heavy cream because I had it, but it still turned out delicious and creamy. I have leftovers that I’m going to add Italian chicken sausage to, but it was fantastic and filling without meat. Will definitely make this again, thank you for another great recipe!






  5. This was delicious!! Even my 2 year old ate 4 helpings. Amazing flavor and it truly does come together in 30 minutes or less!

  6. This was a hit in my house tonight! I followed the recipe exactly but can see it being just as delicious with meat and different veggies, depending on the mood. I’ll be adding it to the rotation. Thank you for sharing consistently good recipes.

  7. Delicious! We love Marry Me Chicken, but this is better. We didn’t miss the chicken at all. Even my meat-eating husband likes this vegetarian recipe better.






  8. So so good! My whole family loved it. Looking forward to making it again and adding some summer veggies like zucchini.






  9. Seriously delicious and packed with amazing flavor!






  10. Whoops meant to say 30 minutes!!!

  11. So so good! Fast and delicious and even better tasting 2 days later :)






  12. Fantastic! The flavors were amazing, and it was so easy!!!






  13. Delicious recipe. I followed the recipe as written but had kale on hand and used that in place of the spinach. I might try using half and half next time to cut down on the calories, if only a little. I served it with some French bread. Nice balance of flavors and really tasty.

  14. This looks delicious!

  15. This ended up very very liquid for me. I added some shredded chicken to bulk it up a bit. What vegetable broth do you recommend? I used Better than bouillon vegetable flavor and I think I should have looked for a richer stock.

    If I make this again I will up the sun dried tomatoes and use farro for a little more chewiness. Wonderful flavors!






  16. Made this tonight, it was delicious !! Omitted the chickpeas and used hot Italian sausage and omitted the heavy cream as none on hand. Should have added a little more broth maybe to have a bit more sauce. Just realized I forgot to add the basil and it was great just the same. Thank you for another great recipe !!






  17. I think if my husband and I weren’t already married, this dish would have done it. As we aren’t vegetarian, I added some Italian sausage out of the skins, and used basil pesto instead of fresh basil (it’s winter here). Plus I added some fresh parsley. WOW. This is one of our new family favourites!! Thanks Ali!

  18. This looks absolutely amazing! I have had the chicken version and it was so well received. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you.