Chipotle Baked Orzo

chipotle baked orzo

The most silky smooth one-pot baked orzo. Packed with Mexican spice, it’s smoky and sweet with Chipotle, taking the hearty dish to the next level. Topped with quick pickled red onions and smooth ripe avocado, it’s a perfect week night dinner!


For the Pickled Red Onions

  • 1/2 red onions, peeled and very finely sliced
  • Juice of one lime
  • Pinch of salt

For the Baked Orzo

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 250g orzo
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 2 peeled plum tomatoes, from a tin, roughly chopped
  • Small bunch coriander
  • 2 tbsp jalapeños
  • 4 tbsp vegan sour cream or oat creme fraiche
  • 1 ripe avocado, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • Pinch chilli flakes


To Make the Pickled Red Onions

  1. Place the finely sliced red onions into a small bowl. Add the lime juice and the pinch of salt. Stir together, cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the orzo.

To Make the Baked Orzo

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/390f (fan).
  2. Place a medium oven-proof saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Bring to temperature before adding the onion and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to turn translucent.
  3. Add the light brown sugar, cumin, paprika, coriander, oregano, tomato paste, and chipotle paste. Stir together and add a few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning to the pan. Cook for a few minutes more while stirring constantly.
  4. Add the orzo, chopped tomatoes, black beans, and vegetable stock. Stirring often, bring to a simmer.
  5. Once simmering, cover with a tight-fitting, oven-proof lid and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, top the orzo with the chopped peeled plum tomatoes. Place the lid back on and return the pot to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  7. After the final 10 minutes, remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Top the baked orzo with coriander, jalapenos, vegan sour cream, avocado, pickled onions, and a pinch of chilli flakes. Serve immediately.

Pickled red onions are so fast to make and add zing to any dish. I find they work perfectly with Mexican meals when prepared with lime juice instead of vinegar. Slice the onions as finely as you can (use a mandoline if you have one) and toss with the lime juice and some salt. You can now place them in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal.


The great thing about this baked orzo is that it’s a one-pot wonder! This means no pre-boiling the orzo – it cooks inside the sauce! So once everything is combined in the pan, just bring it to a simmer and pop it in the oven with a lid on.


I like to add some extra tomatoes to the top in the last ten minutes of baking. This makes the orzo extra juicy with a little added zing from the just-cooked tomatoes.


I’ve made some suggestions as to toppings that work – feel free to use as many or as few as you wish. A simple pico de gallo salsa or scoops of guacamole with vegan cheese would also be delicious!


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