Zucchini Orzo with Chickpeas

This zucchini orzo is a quick 20-minute pasta recipe! It’s loaded with fresh herbs, zucchini and a short-cut sauce. It’s perfect for those nights when you want something fast and easy.

overhead photo of a pasta dish in a skillet

We’ve reached the point of the summer when 20-minute pasta dishes are not just easy convenient dinners but a way of life because anything else that takes longer is just not an option. Extended time in the kitchen? Nooo. Extended time in front of the AC? Yas.

Luckily, I’ve got a lot of easy pasta recipes up my sleeve and I’m adding a new one to the list. I’ve made this zucchini orzo at least three times in the last month and each time I’ve loved it more.

It’s simple, fast, and summer-friendly with the fresh herbs and zucchini. It’s also faster than ordering a pizza – something I tend to do when experiencing a lack of enthusiasm for summertime cooking.

Here are the highlights:

  • You only need a handful of ingredients
  • It’s fast – 20 minutes start to finish fast
  • I love it with itty-bitty orzo pasta, but it works with all the pasta shapes.
overhead photo of the ingredients


  • Zucchini
  • Fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Jarred marinara sauce
  • Chickpeas
  • Orzo
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
photo showing the cooked zucchini in a skillet and the sauce and chickpeas added to the pan

How to Make it

  • Boil the pasta.
  • While the pasta cooks, saute the zucchini in a large skillet with the olive oil, salt and thyme.
  • Once the zucchini is tender, remove the sprigs of thyme, add the chickpeas and sauce and bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked pasta, stir, garnish with the parm and basil and serve.

This recipe makes enough for two hungry people with some leftovers. Or, you can easily stretch it to serve four by adding some crusty bread and a green salad on the side.

Stay cool and happy (fast!) cooking,

close-up photo of the final dish

More Quick Pasta Recipes

Looking for more fast dinner recipes? Here are few more that I love to make ❤


Zucchini Orzo with Chickpeas

overhead photo of orzo zucchini dish

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

This zucchini orzo is a quick 20-minute pasta recipe! It’s loaded with fresh herbs, zucchini, and a short-cut sauce. It’s perfect for those nights when you want something fast and easy.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American


  • 4 ounces orzo
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (8-ounce) zucchini, cut into half-moons
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parm
  • 4 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons


  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions. 
  2. While the pasta cooks heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, salt, and thyme sprigs. Cook them in the oil, stir frequently, until the zucchini is tender about five minutes.
  3. Remove the thyme sprigs from the pan and discard. Add the chickpeas and marinara sauce to the pan and stir. Bring it to a simmer. Once the pasta is done cooking drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Add the parmesan cheese and basil and serve.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 369
  • Sugar: 8.2g
  • Sodium: 641.5mg
  • Fat: 12.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.4g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 14.4g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg

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  1. Good day!! could I substitute vegetational yeast for cheese and mashed potatoes for the creamy in this recipie? Im a “dirty” vegan and try to stay away from dairy. Thanks and stay safe!!

    1. Hi Anita – I’m not super familiar with vegetational yeast so can’t say how it would work. Also, not sure what you mean by subbing the “creamy” for mashed potatoes? If you mean use potatoes in place of pasta that would completely change the dish although I think the sauce and zucchini would be good spooned over mashed potatoes.

      1. Hi April, I guess what I was saying is that I don’t eat dairy. What could I substitute for cheese?,,Mashed potatoes maybe mixed with vegetational yeast for a cheesy taste. I will try this and get back to you. Thanks!!

  2. I recently purchased a Good supply of whole wheat orzo, am on the look out for recipes. This one is easy and delish, 5 stars. I had most of the ingredients: zucchini is a staple. I subbed Dry thyme leaves, and dollops of vegan Pesto for parm and basil. Will try fresh herbs next time.
    As for Vegan Anita, I’m “dirty” too, and absolutely yes: Nutritional Yeast would be a natural substitute for parm. It’s a sprinkled ingredient and cheesy, use to taste. No need for adding anything creamy to the recipe.
    There are also recipes for Vegan Parm using ground cashews/other nuts, + an extra ingredient or two that works very well as a sub for parm.

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