Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup

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This Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup is a hearty and simple soup made with chickpeas, orzo, spices, and fresh herbs. Healthy and easy to make! Perfect for busy weeknight dinners and meal prep. 
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
5 from 42 votes

This Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup is a hearty yet healthy soup that’s a complete meal in one bowl. It’s a really easy soup to make, thanks to the Instant Pot (to learn more about more about which instant pot model I recommend, go here).

And it’s easy enough that even my boyfriend makes it (yes, this is the second recipe in a row I’m sharing that easy enough for Max to make). This may, or may not, be part of my strategy to get Max to do more cooking around the house so I can kick up my feet and chillax.

Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup in bowl with spoon

Why you’ll like this Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup

Satiating / a complete meal. While I love soup, most of them are not complete meals. You need a hunk of bread, a salad, or a side dish to round it out. Not so with this soup. We’ve got chickpeas and orzo, so it’s a hearty soup and almost feels like a stew. That said, you can never go wrong with a hunk of good bread.

Easy to make. The only work involved is chopping up an onion and mincing garlic, then sautéing those with some spices and tomato paste in the Instant Pot. Then the Instant Pot does the rest of the work for you, which means you can leave the kitchen and get on with your day.

Flavorful. This soup tastes like a tomato-based Italian pasta dish but in soup form. The ingredients are loosely inspired by puttanesca pasta (onions, chili peppers, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, capers), which is one of my favorite Italian pasta sauces. And gets flavor from cumin and smoked paprika along with fresh rosemary and oregano.

Wholesome. Lots of wholesome ingredients in this soup and while it’s hearty, it feels light and doesn’t weigh you down. If you want to pack in a little more nutrition, use whole wheat orzo and/or add some greens at the end (check out the “Tips” section below).

Meal prep and freezer friendly. The recipe as written makes a fairly large quantity of soup, which is great if (1) you have a family to feed; (2) you want to eat it for several meals throughout the week; or (3) you want to freeze some for later.

How to make Chickpea Orzo Soup  

First, gather your ingredients.

ingredients on cutting board with text

Dice the onion and mince the garlic.

chopped garlic and onions on cutting board

Turn on the Sauté setting of your Instant Pot and add olive oil. Cook the onions for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes.

Add the spices, chili peppers, and tomato paste and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes.

Pour in some of the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits.

Pour in the remaining broth and water, along with the chickpeas.

Add the orzo, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure for 4 minutes. Once the timer is done, allow a natural pressure release for 5 minutes.

Open the pot, stir well, and add in the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parsley.

chickpea orzo tomato soup in the instant pot

Tips for making this recipe

If the texture of the soup seems a bit thin when it’s done pressure cooking, not to worry. As the soup rests, the orzo will help thicken the texture. It’ll eventually become almost stew-like.

This soup makes a large quantity. If you don’t want leftovers, you can easily cut the recipe in half. Instead of 1 large onion, use 1 small onion (or half of a large). Instead of 4 cups broth and 2 cups water, use just 3 cups broth.

Variation Ideas

  • Want to sneak some greens into this soup? After pressure cooking, add several handfuls of greens (finely chopped kale or Swiss chard, baby spinach, etc). Turn on the Sauté mode and cook until the greens are wilted and tender. Baby spinach will take just a minute. Sturdier greens will take 2-4 minutes.
  • Want to add extra veggies? Throw in a few diced carrots when you sauté the onions, or diced red bell pepper when you add the garlic.
bowl of Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup with spoon and napkin

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I make this orzo soup gluten-free? 

If you can find gluten-free orzo like this (affiliate link), use that! You could probably also use a gluten-free small pasta shape, like gluten-free elbow pasta (affiliate). Another option is to use white rice (pressure cook for 5 or 6 minutes instead of 4 minutes to ensure the rice cooks through). Brown rice and wild rice have much longer cook times, so they wouldn’t work.

How to store leftovers? 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. I prefer to reheat leftovers on the stove, but microwave also works fine.

Can I freeze chickpea orzo soup?

Yes! This soup freezes quite well and can be frozen for about 3 months. Cool the soup completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers (affiliate link), leaving a little space for expansion. Defrost before reheating. 

Can I substitute the chickpeas? 

They’re a primary ingredient, but you could easily sub in white beans, such as cannellini beans or navy beans.

What to serve with this soup? 

A hunk of a good rustic bread! Or, a simply leafy green salad or a Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar).

tomato orzo chickpea soup in bowl with spoon

How to make this chickpea orzo soup on the stovetop 

You might need to use a bit more liquid – perhaps 7 cups (1.7 L) instead of the 6 cups used in the Instant Pot version. I also recommend chopping up the herbs (rosemary and oregano) and sautéing them instead of leaving them whole, as called for in the Instant Pot recipe.

Use a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Heat the olive oil over medium or medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Then add the chopped rosemary and oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, dried chili peppers, and tomato paste. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, until tomato paste is darker in color. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to prevent drying out.

Deglaze the pan with some of the vegetable broth, scraping up browned bits. Add in the rest of the broth and water (6 cups total). Also, add the chickpeas, orzo, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes. If the soup seems like it needs more liquid, add about 1 cup (240 mL) more, either broth or water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, parsley, and if using, lemon zest.

bowl of chickpea orzo soup on blue background with napkin

More Vegan Instant Pot Soups to try!

I hope you give this easy and delicious Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup a try! If you do, please leave a rating and review below with your feedback and tag me on Instagram with your remakes :)

Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup in white bowl with spoon

Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup

5 from 42 votes
This Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup is a hearty and simple soup made with chickpeas, orzo, spices, and fresh herbs. Healthy and easy to make! Perfect for busy weeknight dinners and meal prep. 
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
Diet Vegan
Keyword: nut-free, soy-free, vegan
Serving size: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 dried red chili peppers, broken in half (can sub with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups (960 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (480 mL) water
  • 1 cup (170-180g) uncooked orzo
  • 2 (15-ounce /425g) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce /800g) can diced tomatoes
  • 8-10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I prefer oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  • Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. After a minute or two, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the minced garlic and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the smoked paprika, cumin, and dried chili peppers, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for 1-2 minutes, until tomato paste is darker in color.
  • Pour in some of the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot. Use a wooden spoon or flat-end spatula to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour in the remaining broth, along with the water, orzo chickpeas, bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, oregano sprigs, salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  • Secure the lid and select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 4 minutes.
  • After the timer is done, allow a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually. Open the pot and remove the bay leaves and any remaining whole herb sprigs. Add in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parsley. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Transfer the soup to bowls, and if desired, garnish with additional chopped parsley and a very light sprinkling of lemon zest.

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46 comments on Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup

  1. Ella Gronlund

    5 stars
    Amazing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks, Ella!

  2. CB

    Delicious! Even my 8-year olds ate it, and that is a high bar. I’ll definitely be making this again. I would drop the capers next time, they didn’t add anything for me. The lemon zest is a great touch, don’t skip it.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, CB! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  3. Medbh

    Another excellent and delicious recipe. I recently bought Orzo because of your Lemon Orzo salad (and haven’t made that yet!) was looking for something to make with the Orzo and this was a good choice. So tasty! Looking forward to delving into yet more of your recipes, anything I’ve tried has become a staple and anyone I recommend them too loves them!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Medbh! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  4. Michaela

    5 stars
    delicious, but i take paprika paste instead of tomato paste, because my husband finished the tomato paste and don’t buy a new one🙄😂

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Michaela, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  5. Shannon

    5 stars
    This is the 4th recipe of yours I’ve tried and all have been delicious. I’m relatively new to Veganism and your recipes make me feel like I’m not missing anything. Even my carnivore husband likes your recipes. Keep up the great work. :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Shannon! We are thrilled to hear the Rainbow Plant Life recipes have helped you :)

  6. COL Mike

    5 stars
    This was the 4th Rainbow Plant Life Recipe I’ve used in as many days. They were all very good (probably even great) but I’m a new Plant Based Dieter/cook and making a lot of Rookie mistakes when I change things (note to self “stop changing Nisha’s recipe”)and so far only Nisha has got it right. I’ve spent a lot of $ on other cookbooks and I’ve gotten as high as a ⭐️⭐️⭐️Rating. Nisha’s Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff was my (our) 1st ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The next dish we tried was the Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo. Boom, another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I’m a quick learner I didn’t change a thing. Noticed this recipe wasn’t in her vegan instant Pot recipe book (that I bought). So I can’t wait for her next cookbook because if they are anything like the Vegan Chickpea Orzo, she will have another BIG hit. Hey Nisha, thanks and keep swinging for the fences. Your new devoted fan. COL Mike

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi COL Mike! Thanks for the awesome review!! We are so glad you’re getting value from the Rainbow Plant Life recipes and look forward to providing even more value to you going forward :)

  7. Lizzy

    5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner. I used dry herbs instead of fresh (except I had fresh parsley) because that’s what was on hand, but otherwise followed the recipe. My husband and I both enjoyed the flavors, consistency and richness of this dish. My three young kiddos were less enthusiastic but I wasn’t surprised as they had not had capers before, and the overall flavors of the dish were more complex than other dishes. It’s nice to be able to introduce new foods to them though. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Jessica

    This is delicious (still eating the leftovers)! I opted to use a Dutch oven instead. Followed the cooking steps, but cooked everything for about 30 min., covered, in the Dutch oven then added orzo at the end. My daughter and I have made several of your recipes and they never disappoint!

  9. Rachel

    5 stars
    Another amazing recipe! I discovered your blog a few months ago and love all your recipes! I experienced the same “food burn” issue that others did but switched it over to my Dutch oven and it worked out great! The flavor is amazing like usual! Thank you!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Rachel, so glad to hear you loved this recipe. Thank you for leaving such a kind review!

  10. Chris

    5 stars
    I’m not a great cook, but every one of Nisha’s recipes I’ve tried has made it seem that way (I’m always like “Did I just make that?”) This soup is one of the best I’ve had. It’s very hearty and has a lot of great flavors. Each bite I noticed something else, which is pretty awesome. Plus it’s really easy to prep, so if you’re on a tight schedule, it’s not something you have to spend all day on. I’m very new to vegan eating and this is making that transition much easier. I always looked at it like I would have to give up things to eat vegan food, but now I’m thinking I was the one missing out by not eating this way before. Already looking forward to the leftovers later. Thanks Nisha!

    Chris

    1. Nisha

      Hi Chris! Thank you so much for the stellar feedback and so flattered that my recipes are making you feel like a rockstar in the kitchen!

  11. Lori Baker

    4 stars
    This recipe was quite good but it made SOooo much for just the 2 of us! Have you ever tried to freeze it and if so how successful was your experience?

  12. Jen

    5 stars
    Made it, loved it, per expectation. In our house we just say “it’s a Nisha,” meaning “delicious.” Thank you!

    1. sravya

      5 stars
      that is just so cute!

  13. jen

    5 stars
    My entire family loved this hearty and flavourful soup. Not only will I be making this in future for us, it is a recipe I feel confident making to share with friends and family. My only trouble was my Instant Pot giving me the “food burn” error. After several retries (and stirring where I could feel orzo stuck to the bottom), it did finally work. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

    1. Jane G Brown

      5 stars
      I also had the “food burn” error on my Instantpot. I unplugged it and eventually just finished cooking it on the stove, where i couild stir it occassionally so as to move the orzo from the bottom.

  14. Tania Klein

    5 stars
    Your recipes never disappoint 👏🏻 So tasty & absolutely re-making.

  15. Shwetha

    5 stars
    I cooked this in my dutch oven and it turned out so good!! It did need a lot more salt (I think because I used low sodium broth) and I added broccoli during the simmer stage for an extra pop of green :)

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