We're taking ROY G. BIV and putting it into soup! Creamy Vegan Rainbow Veggie Orzo Soup has all of your favorite colors in one bowl of filling, flavorful soup. It's totally dairy-free and gluten-free, too, so everyone can enjoy this easy meal.
Whenever I start thinking about a new year and recipes to get people excited about plant-based cooking, I always think about adding color into your kitchen. All of the most nutritious ingredients I know are bursting with natural, beautiful color! This Creamy Vegan Rainbow Veggie Orzo Soup has every color in the rainbow (except blue!), and as a result, it's filled with incredible health benefits and even better flavor. I love having the kids help make this soup since it turns into a learning opportunity! The littlest kids can practice naming and spotting different colors, while older kids can talk about primary colors, secondary colors, and how they work together to form a full rainbow...and then we all sit down to a healthy, delicious meal together!
Ingredients in Rainbow Veggie Soup
Are you ready to taste the plant-based rainbow? Making this soup and seeing these colors all lined up is honestly so thrilling to me (food nerd alert!). Eating colorfully ensures that your body is getting a variety of nutrients and adds the most wonderful flavor to your meals. I make this soup in my 5.5 quart Dutch Oven, which is one of the most-used pieces of cookware in my kitchen.
- Classic soup starters - Most soup recipes start with this lineup: diced yellow onion, salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic cloves!
- Red bell pepper - Let's start the rainbow of colors off with red, which I created with bell pepper. Select bell peppers that are brightly colored and firm with a tight skin, then store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Butternut squash - This is the orange part of the soup! You could also use a peeled sweet potato or carrots for the same color with a slightly different flavor.
- Yellow squash - You could also use a yellow bell pepper to add a splash of sunshine into this rainbow.
- Zucchini - The green part of the rainbow comes from zucchini! You could also use a head of broccoli, ⅔ cup peas, or a couple handfuls of baby spinach.
- Purple carrots - I LOVE cutting into a purple carrot. They're so beautiful on the inside!
- Vegetable broth - I always go for a low-sodium broth, which gives me a little more control over the salt flavor in my soups. You can also try my No-Waste Vegetable Broth recipe that can be made in the pressure cooker!
- Orzo - Any orzo would work in this recipe, but double check your ingredient list if gluten-free is important to you! I love Andean Dream quinoa orzo.
- Bay leaves - These are optional but add a really enjoyable depth of flavor. Just remember to take them out before serving your soup!
- Cashew cream - This recipe is both creamy and vegan thanks to plant-based cashew cream! I LOVE this recipe; it has a cashew base that adds the most luxurious, creamy texture to so many of my favorite recipes. Learn more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post.
All About Carrots
I used purple carrots to add color into this rainbow soup, but you can also use orange carrots for the same flavor or to boost the orange colors even more! Carrots are low in calories and high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. This is good for eye health but also your immune system as well as healthy skin. They also have fiber for digestive benefits!
All About Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is one of my all-time favorite veggies (especially during the cold weather months). It's colorful, nutritious, and I love the slightly-sweet taste. Butternut squash is also a good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium. It’s loaded with vitamins A and C and contains phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) that support vision, heart and gastrointestinal health.
More About Bell Peppers
I opted for red bell peppers for this soup. Red is my go-to bell pepper color! I find them sweeter and milder than green peppers. Red peppers also contain 11 times more beta carotene and four times more vitamin C than green bell peppers. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy, and beta carotene benefits your immune system, vision, skin health and bone health. Red bell peppers contain an important phytochemical, lycopene, which could benefit prostate and heart health, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
There are SO many options for adding a green color into your soup (broccoli, peas, or spinach would also be so tasty and I can't wait to make versions with them!), but I went with zucchini in this one. Zucchini is super high in water content, which makes it great for hydrating and digestion. Zucchini is high in vitamins A and C as well as manganese, copper, and folate.
Gluten-Free Orzo Soup
My favorite gluten-free orzo is made by Andean Dream. It cooks just like regular pasta, but it's completely gluten-free! I've also enjoyed the brand Jovial in the past if you want to add pasta to the soup. I've been cooking without gluten for years, and I've found ways to enjoy all of my favorite dishes without the addition of gluten...including baked goods and desserts! Check out my post below with a full roundup of resources, recommendations, and recipes that I use in my kitchen.
I hope you make and love this Rainbow Veggie Soup! It's the perfect nourishing dinner recipe for the entire family to enjoy. This recipe is vegan (no eggs, dairy, or meat!), gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free if you substitute my Easy Sunflower Seed Cream Sauce for Cashew Cream. Please tag me on Instagram so I can see your colorful dinner creations, and drop a review below to help others as they party in the kitchen! If you're looking for dinners that are low-stress and high in delicious flavor, I think you'd enjoy my newsletter. I send new subscribers a free download with 10 printable recipes for quick & easy weeknight dinners!
More Soup Recipes
- Moroccan Tomato & Chickpea Soup
- Spicy Red Lentil Veggie Stew with Crunchy Chickpea Croutons
- Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup
- Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- Creamy Split Pea Turmeric & Red Lentil Soup
- Easy Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Zoodles
- Easy Vegan Black Bean Soup
- Quinoa Minestrone Soup
Creamy Vegan Rainbow Veggie Orzo Soup has every color in one bowl of filling, flavorful, and gluten-free soup!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon. ground black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
- 1 cup diced butternut squash (or peeled sweet potato or carrots for orange)
- 1 yellow squash, diced (or yellow bell pepper)
- 1 zucchini (or 1 head broccoli or ⅔ cup peas* or 1-2 handfuls baby spinach)
- 2 purple carrots, peeled and diced
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (6 cups for a brothy soup)**
- ¼ cup orzo (I love Andean Dream quinoa orzo for gluten-free)
- optional: 1, 13.5 ounce can cannelini beans (drained and rinsed) for added protein
- 2 bay leaves (optional for added depth of flavor)
- 1 batch cashew cream. Learn more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post. (sub 1, 13.5 ounce can of unsweetened full-fat coconut milk if nut-free)
- Add olive oil to a 5.5 quart dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, salt and pepper and saute for five minutes. Turn the heat to low and add minced garlic. Saute for another three minutes.
- Add all the diced veggies and saute for five minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth (or water - see notes) and bring to a boil. Turn the burner to medium and add the orzo and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat until orzo is cooked through (about 20 minutes) stirring every couple of minutes to avoid the orzo from sticking to the bottom. Add white beans if using.
- Once the veggies are all fork tender and the orzo is cooked through, turn off the burner. Remove the bay leaves and add the cashew cream. Stir well and serve while hot. Store leftovers once fully cooled to room temperature in an airtight container in the refrigerator to up to five days.
*I like to add the broccoli and peas last minute to avoid overcooking them. Those veggies cook quickly and broccoli can taste bitter if overcooked
** If you use water (which I actually prefer over broth) add an additional ½ teaspoon of salt to the soup when you add the water..
This recipe is very forgiving and you can basically use any veggies you have on hand or that you love. I have sometimes used mushrooms, celery, asparagus and green beans.
In the springtime I love to add lemon juice and lemon zest for a bright flavor enhancer. I sometimes add fresh dill this time of year as well.
You could add diced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish anytime of year.
Add cooked lentils or chickpeas for plant-based protein. You can add these at the same time as the orzo. If you add dry lentils be sure to add extra liquid for it to absorb.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 33
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop
Keywords: creamy vegan vegetable soup