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An overhead shot of creamy mushroom asparagus orzo with peas and bits of fresh dill on top. The orzo is in a braiser-style pot with a gold serving utensil sticking out. There is a beige napkin wrapped around the pot handle.

Creamy Mushroom Asparagus Orzo

This creamy mushroom asparagus orzo is incredibly flavourful and it cooks up in about 30 minutes! A base of leeks and garlic gets a punchy boost from capers, nutritional yeast, saffron, miso, grainy mustard, and lemon. Naturally vegan and easily made gluten-free with GF orzo pasta.
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword asparagus, braiser, capers, chili, cremini mushrooms, dill, garlic, leeks, miso, mushrooms, non-dairy cream, nutritional yeast, orzo, orzo pasta, peas, saffron, spring, summer, vegan cheese, vegetable stock
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 -4 as a main


  • 2 teaspoons light miso
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • lb (151 grams) asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ lb (227 grams) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large leek (light green and white part only), halved and chopped (about 1 ½ cups chopped leeks total)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ground chillies or chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy cream (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • vegan "parmesan" for serving (optional)


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. If you can't get the miso lumps out, just add a splash of hot water from the tap and whisk again. Set this mixture aside.
  • Place a deep skillet or braiser-style pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, pour in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and swirl it around. Add the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Sauté asparagus until bright green and slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked asparagus to a plate and return the pot to the stove.
  • Pour another teaspoon of olive oil into the pot and stir it around. Add the mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for 1 full minute. Stir them up and let them sit for another full minute. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and keep sautéing until slightly browned and tender, another minute. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to the plate with the asparagus.
  • Give the pot a quick wipe and return it to the stove over medium heat. Pour in the remaining olive oil and swirl it around. Add the leeks and stir. Sauté the leeks until very tender, about 3 minutes. If they begin to brown on the edges, lower the heat.
  • Add the capers, garlic, nutritional yeast, and chillies (if using) to the pot and stir. Keep stirring until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the orzo to the pot and stir to coat in the leeks and seasoning.
  • Add the vegetable stock, the non-dairy cream, and saffron to the pot and stir. Bring the orzo to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the orzo is plumped up and a lot of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-11 minutes. I recommend stirring pretty much constantly as the orzo does tend to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir the peas, fresh dill, cooked asparagus, and mushrooms into the orzo. Also add the reserved miso, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard mixture. Keep stirring as the orzo simmers for another minute. Taste for seasoning one more time. If you find that the orzo is sopping up the liquid too quickly, just add a few splashes of water to "cream" it back up.
  • Serve the orzo hot with vegan "parmesan" on top if you like.


  • Delallo makes a great gluten-free orzo that would substitute perfectly here.
  • If you don't have saffron on hand, just leave it out! Nothing really substitutes for that flavour, but the orzo will still be delicious without it.
  • A handful of chopped spinach or arugula wilted into the orzo at the end would be great if you're looking to add some greens.
  • In terms of unsweetened, dairy-free cream, I like this oat-based one from Earth's Own, this almond and coconut one by nutpods, and this "heavy cream" option by Silk. You can also make your own by blending ⅓ cup cashews and ⅔ cup water in a high speed blender.
  • Once you've added the liquid, I recommend stirring the orzo pretty much constantly as it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.