Mushroom Giovetsi

By: Eleni Saltas

Giouvetsi is a comforting orzo casserole dish typically made with beef, lamb or chicken. For a vegetarian swap, ditch the meat and use mushrooms for a savory meal. 

Plus, it’s Lenten friendly! I recently made this recipe for Sunday family dinner, with a special guest appearance from my monk cousin visiting from Mount Sinai. If this “would pass the muster station” all the way in Egypt, it’ll certainly land as a favorite in your own home.

Prep Time:


Total Time:

2-2.5 hours



Good For:




  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 leeks, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, or more to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 ounces of mushrooms (I prefer portobello or oyster mushrooms, or use a mix)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup (250g) orzo

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Prep your vegetables!
Finely chop the onions and dice the carrots.
For the leeks: Use just the white and a small portion of green parts of the leeks, coarsely chopped. Leeks have many layers, so place your cut leeks into a colander and rinse well.

Step 2

Place a pot to medium heat and add three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, and leeks and season generously with salt. Saute together for 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Once all caramelized, spoon the vegetables into a bowl, leaving any olive oil in the pan and set aside for now.

Step 3

Roughly chop or easily break apart the mushrooms into cubes and add mushrooms to the pot in a single layer if possible. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook untouched for a few minutes. Liquid should be evaporating from the mushrooms. Flip the mushrooms to brown on all sides.

Step 4

Add the vegetables back into the pot. Add the tomato paste and stir around in the pot for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with the red wine and allow the wine to evaporate

Step 5

Add water or vegetable broth, canned diced tomatoes, chili flakes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper and simmer for 1 ½ hours until a nice sauce forms. Occasionally check for flavor. Remove the cinnamon stick if you are happy with the cinnamon taste.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once the sauce is done, pour the mixture to an oven safe casserole dish and stir in the chopped parsley.

Step 7

Back to your now empty pot, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the orzo and toast for 3-4 minutes. Doing this will ensure your orzo doesn’t get mushy or stick together later. Then, stir the orzo into the vegetable mix along with 1 1/2 cups of water and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil.

Step 7

Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
Serve warm and enjoy!