Lemony spinach orzo soup is simple and lively soup that comes together quickly. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta that cooks up fast and has a lovely mouth feel. Spinach, parsley, and dill give the soup a fresh flavor.
This is an easy, tasty transitional soup to serve in the spring, when winter cravings give way to lighter fare. It’s a perfect, naturally plant-based soup for rainy spring nights! That said, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it in the fall and winter as well.
It sounds like orzo would translate to “rice” in Italian, but the word actually means barley. Here’s more than you’ll ever want to know about orzo.
Swap-in for the orzo: Substitute Israeli couscous or a long-grain rice for the orzo (though I highly recommend sticking with the orzo!). You can also consider a tiny pasta, like datalini or tiny shells.
What to serve with lemony spinach orzo soup
Serve with a big Greek-style salad made with vegan feta for a light yet satisfying meal. If you’d like, add a fresh flatbread or crusty sourdough.
Recipe is from Vegan Soups and Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
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- 2 medium leeks, white and palest green parts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups water
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (or a combination of spinach and arugula)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or more, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, or more, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Lemon slices for garnish, optional
- Trim away the ends and dark green leaves of the leeks and discard. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch half-rings. Place in a colander and rinse very well, making sure that any grit is washed away.
- Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the leeks and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and continue to sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the leek turns golden and the bell pepper softens.
- Add the water, bouillon cubes, and tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat. Simmer gently with the cover ajar for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a separate saucepan until al dente, then drain. Add the cooked orzo to the soup along with the spinach and herbs.
- Stir in the lemon zest and juice. If the soup is too dense, add a small amount of water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until well heated through.
- Serve at once. Garnish each bowlful with a couple of lemon slices, if you wish.
If you like this spinach-filled soup, you may also enjoy …
See lots more delicious vegan soups and stews.