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.
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.
Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
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.
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.
- 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.
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).
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.
More Vegan Instant Pot Soups to try!
- Want to keep the chickpea theme going? Try this community favorite Instant Pot Pumpkin Lasagna Soup! Lasagna meets soup meets fall pumpkin flavors (chickpeas make it even heartier).
- If you’re into low effort : high reward ratios when it comes to cooking, you must try this Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup. It’s a dump-and-go recipe that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor. And it’s oh-so-creamy!
- If you want a creamy and spicy Instant Pot soup with some unique flavors, try this Spicy Carrot Harissa Soup.
- For an easy, healthy, budget-friendly soup, try this Instant Pot Lentil and Cabbage Soup.
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 :)
- 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)
- 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.