Dinner, Healthy, Lunch, Most Popular, One Pot, Pasta, Stove Top, Vegan

Toasted Lemon Pepper Orzo with Crispy Chickpeas (vegan)

This lemon pepper orzo is my new favorite weeknight meal! The orzo is toasted until golden brown, cooked until tender then topped with lots of spicy black pepper and crunchy pan-fried chickpeas. Pretty simple, healthy ingredients and easy to make. Plus, this lemon pepper orzo recipe also happens to be vegan so everyone can enjoy!

Toasted Lemon Pepper Orzo with Crispy Chickpeas (vegan)

I’m kind of going through an orzo phase right now… This lemon pepper orzo with chickpeas is so good. The toasty orzo goes so well with the tart lemon and spicy black pepper. And those crispy chickpeas on top are way too hard to stop eating.

How to make Toasted Lemon Pepper Orzo with Chickpeas

First thing you want to do is get started on those crispy chickpeas. Once you’ve drained and rinsed the canned chickpeas, lay them out onto a few sheets of paper towel. Gently roll and pat them dry. This step is pretty important because it ensures the chickpeas get super crispy in the pan.

Once they’re all dried off, add a couple tablespoons of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the chickpeas and cook for about five minutes, stirring once or twice. After they’ve begun to crisp up, add in some oregano, rosemary and salt. Continue to cook the chickpeas for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know they’re done the outside has turned a deep golden brown.

Crispy chickpeas

To make clean up easier, you can wait until the chickpeas finish cooking and just wipe out the skillet and move on to the orzo. Or, you could get the orzo started in another pan while the chickpeas are cooking. I prefer to multitask because it saves lots of time and the orzo is ready at the same time as the chickpeas.

To make toasted lemon pepper orzo, the first thing you want to do is toast the orzo. All you do is heat a couple tablespoons of oil to a skillet over medium heat and add in the orzo. Cook the pasta until golden brown and fragrant, stirring around a few times. It should take about 7 minutes or so. Make sure your heat doesn’t creep up to high or the orzo will burn!

Toasted lemon pepper orzo with crispy chickpeas

Once the orzo is nice and toasty, you can add in the garlic and give that a quick toast as well. About two minutes. Now, pour in the vegetable stock and add in the lemon peel, salt and honey. If you’re vegan, you can substitute honey for an equal amount of granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and cook like you would a normal pot of pasta, stirring the orzo to prevent sticking. This should take about 10 minutes for the orzo to absorb all the liquid. Taste a grain. If the orzo is still a little crunchy and has already absorbed all the liquid, add another 1/4 cup of stock and continue cooking.

Toasted lemon pepper orzo with crispy chickpeas

Now that the orzo is done cooking, stir in a few (or many) good grinds of black pepper. Stir in the pitted green olives, lemon zest and juice. Divide the lemon pepper orzo among bowls and top with crispy chickpeas, chopped parsley and crumbled feta (or tofu feta!). Serve and enjoy!

More Healthy Dinner Recipes to Try:

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Yield: 4 servings

Toasted Lemon Pepper Orzo with Crispy Chickpeas

lemon peper orzo with crispy chickpeas

Spicy lemony orzo toasted until golden brown and topped with crunchy pan-fried chickpeas, green olives and crumbled feta. Vegan, easy to make and perfect for a simple, flavorful dinner.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup orzo, dry
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Lemon peel strips from 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives (preferably Castelvetrano)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley and feta (vegan if needed) for serving


  1. Spread the chickpeas onto a few sheets of paper towel and gently pat them dry. The drier they are, the crispier they'll get.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. When shimmering, add the chickpeas. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just beggining to crisp. Stir in the rosemary, oregano and pinch of salt, cook for 5-10 minutes more until golden brown and crunchy.
  3. If using the same skillet, transfer the chickpeas to a plate and return the skillet to medium heat. Add another 2 tbsp of olive oil and the orzo. Toast, stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.
  4. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more before adding the vegetable broth, sugar (or honey if using), salt and lemon peel. Bring to a boil and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the orzo is tender and all the broth has been absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, green olives and a few grinds of black pepper. To serve, divide among plates and top with crispy chickpeas, chopped parsley and crumbled feta.


If you want to save some time, you can use two seperate skillets and get started on the orzo while the chickpeas cook. This way, they'll be ready at about the same time.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 648Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1687mgCarbohydrates: 99gFiber: 12gSugar: 21gProtein: 19g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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