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

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.

3 bowls of Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup on blue background, soup food photography

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

Check out the video on how to make Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup!

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 21 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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21 comments on Instant Pot Chickpea Orzo Soup

  1. This looks yummy. I’ve bookmarked it to make next week. I’ve been hoping for a cool recipe to use the whole wheat orzo I have in the pantry. But honestly, you had me at “capers and sun-dried tomatoes”, which I find myself adding to lots of dishes. Ha!

    I just found you today and I really enjoyed your humor and chef education in your “mushroom stroganoff” video. I just put those items on my grocery list. Being able to have stroganoff in a WFPB lifestyle is wonderful. Thanks!

  2. Sravya

    5 stars
    I love this recipe!! i didn’t have a few of the ingredients and am trying to limit my trips to the grocery store given the pandemic… but seriously, it’s so tasty using my pantry staples!!! I’m sure it’ll be even more delicious the next time i make it when i have sun dried tomatoes to add and crusty bread to eat with it! you best believe there will be a next time too :) so so good!
    Thank you for making eating healthy, hearty dishes so easy!

  3. Subir

    5 stars
    god damnit this is good

  4. Sarah Karpinski

    5 stars
    I made this soup today. It is out of this world. So flavorful and hearty. It’s definitely going in the rotation.

  5. Shanna

    This sounds incredible. I don’t have orzo, but I do have kamut ditalini. Can I substitute that?

  6. Signe

    5 stars
    This is super good. I loved the layering of flavors. Made it last night and it was delicious and the leftovers for lunch today were also delicious. This is my 4th Nisha recipe and all four have been amazingly tasty. I’m so glad you quit being a lawyer. Thank you!

  7. Jean Heath

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I found enough Orzo in my cupboard to make 4 portions of this soup with some added peppers and mushrooms and loved the flavour. Was not going to buy any more Orzo as I had had this a while and never knew what to use it for but now will buy especially for this recipe and will freeze some of it. Thank you.

  8. Aimee

    5 stars
    This was so delicious! I used 2 red Chile de árbol and removed most of the seeds. I also added three fistfuls of kale. This soup had just the right amount of kick for me. Definitely a must try.

  9. Mary Lou Burkhardt

    Absolutely delicious! You ever have a meal so good both you and your partner go quiet lol? This was it. All the sub reco’s work wonderfully. I used GF pasta shells and red pepper flakes. Made this on the stovetop but it didn’t take much time. The depth of flavor is simply WOW. Thank you!

  10. Amy

    5 stars
    I made this tonight. Absolutely delish. I didn’t have garbanzos, so substituted cannellini, and used GF elbow macaroni in place of the orzo. I love the heat from the chili flakes. And best of all, very quick to make. Thanks!

  11. Lia

    5 stars
    When I first saw this post on instagram I knew I had to make it! It’s super flavorful and easy to make. Super filling and we have a ton of leftovers! My boyfriend isn’t a big fan of super tomato-filled dishes, but both the orzo and chickpeas was a nice complexity and balance. We love this and will definitely be making this again!!

  12. Jen

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE this soup. I had put off meal prep all day Sunday but this takes such little effort it didn’t even matter. It was SO delicious and the whole house smelled amazing when I released the pressure. I forgot to buy parsley but I did add a bag of spinach so the only veggie from this wasn’t tomatoes. I’d definitely make this again.

  13. Josie

    5 stars
    This recipe was a big winner for me, Nisha! Thank you! I didn’t have 100% of the ingredients (and I didn’t want to make an extra trip to the grocery store) but it still turned out beautifully. I am really into recipes that yield many servings and can freeze well!

  14. 5 stars
    Nisha, this was incredible! The flavors (lemon + capers) were so vibrant and the heartiness of the soup was almost stew-like. It warmed our bellies at dinner last night, and we’re definitely adding it into our soup rotation! Thanks for this delicious, wholesome recipe :)

    1. Hi Liz, I’m so happy you loved this chickpea orzo soup. I love the hearty, stew-like texture too. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lisa Lippa

    5 stars
    This soup is awesome, full of flavour and so easy to make! My husband loved it!

  16. Zoey

    5 stars
    Just made this tonight. It was very delicious! I used ~1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes in place of the dried chilis. I didn’t have fresh oregano or rosemary so I used about 1 tsp of dried oregano and ~1/2 tsp of dried ground rosemary, and added that along with the tomato paste and other spices. Sadly my Instant Pot did give me a burn warning and shut down (even though I didn’t stir the canned tomatoes in), so I had to transfer it to the stove. But it turned out delicious after just about 8 minutes simmering. Also added some carrots with the onions and some spinach at the end and it was great! Have made several of Nisha’s recipes and have never been disappointed :)

  17. Tina D

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it is absolutely delicious!!!

  18. Jennifer

    5 stars
    Such a flavorful soup! Will definitely make again. Thank you for sharing it.

  19. Mqry

    This sounds and looks amazing, however, I do not have an instapot. Would I need to alter the recipe for the stove top?

  20. Cookie

    5 stars
    So good! I wasn’t sure about the smoked paprika and cumin combo when I smelled it cooking, but it tastes delicious. I made the recipe exactly as described aside from adding chopped basil along with the parsley at the end. Next time I’ll leave out the capers….this is my first time having them and I don’t think I’m a fan. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.

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