Here’s an easy recipe for a vegetable orzo soup that’s brimming with comforting flavors and textures. Whipped up in under 30 minutes from simple ingredients, this hearty veggie soup will warm you from head to toe; it’s a winter warmer if I’ve ever known one.
Vegetable Orzo Soup: A Love Story
If you’re a fan of my other comfort-food soup recipes, like Creamy Potato Zucchini Soup, this 5-Star Tomato Soup, the Beef Vegetable Soup that everyone has been making on Instagram, or my Crockpot Creamy Vegetarian Tortellini Soup, you’re going to ADORE this veggie orzo masterpiece.
It is so easy to whip up, is chock full of healthy vegetables, the chunky texture makes it super hearty, and it is so full of flavor.
Perfect for the chilly season, I have been keeping individual portions stored in the freezer for warming lunches (and to share with friends when they get the sniffles!).
- Olive oil. The perfect complement to the other ingredients, but you can use another oil like avocado or canola.
- Onion. White or red are both fine in this soup; the onion gives a little sweetness to the overall balance. It looks like a lot of onion, but trust me, it is so important for flavor in this soup.
- Celery. Loaded with goodness, celery balances the veggie flavors out well in this recipe. You can switch them out for leeks if you’d prefer.
- Carrot. Sweet with an earthy taste, parsnips will work just as well in this soup.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic is ideal for this recipe as it is lighter than bottled garlic and won’t overpower the veggie flavors.
- Dried parsley. More concentrated than fresh, dried parsley adds brightness to this recipe.
- Red pepper flakes. You can opt to leave these out if you aren’t into their heat.
- Chicken or vegetable broth. Choose a good quality store-bought broth or make your own homemade batch. I love the flavor and golden color of chicken broth for this recipe, but if you prefer to make it vegetarian, use your favorite vegetable broth.
- Zucchini. I love the texture and lightness of diced zucchini in this soup.
- Orzo. Orzo pasta, or risoni as it’s also known, brings a little body to this veggie dish.
- Unsalted butter. I stir this in at the end for a little silky richness. Why not?
- Baby spinach. Bright, light, and beautiful, you can use sliced regular spinach if you can’t find any baby leaves.
How To Make This Soup Recipe
Guys, this is so simple. A one-pot wonder, you’re just going to saute off all the elements, add in your broth, and you’ll be set.
- First, heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Next, cook the onion, celery, and carrot with 1 tsp of salt until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook a minute more and then pour in the broth.
- Add the red pepper flakes, dried parsley, zucchini, orzo, and the remaining 1 tsp of salt.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, until the orzo is cooked through.
- Stir in butter and spinach leaves and cook a minute more.
What To Serve With It
Make Ahead Instructions
If you’re eager to prepare in advance, you can get all the veggies cut up and ready to go. They can keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a day or two.
The soup can also be made up ahead and frozen, then thawed and warmed up on the stovetop or in a microwave.
It can be made entirely in advance, excluding the inclusion of baby spinach and butter. You can pop those in a while reheating it.
Store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed jar or airtight container. The soup will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.
You can also freeze the soup in a freezer-safe container for about 3 months.
- Adding in a can of tomatoes and a little Parmesan cheese will give this soup a slight turn towards a minestrone.
- Create a protein-rich meaty variation by adding in chopped bacon and beans.
- Add in other veggies and herbs like green beans, bell peppers, thyme, oregano, or some fresh asparagus at the end.
Although it looks like rice, orzo is a short-cut type of pasta.
By adding in extra seasonings like salt, spices, and herbs or by ensuring you choose a more flavorful broth. A little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese can improve the savory flavor of the soup.
Your veggie soup will last for about 3 months in the freezer as long as it is correctly packed.
By stirring in a bit of butter right at the end of the process.
Pro Tips And Tricks
- In place of regular broth, you may use 2 tbsp better than bouillon plus 6 cups water. I put the kettle on to boil when I start cooking and make the broth with boiling water. It speeds up the process a lot!
- The slowest part of the recipe is waiting for the onions to soften, but be patient. They need to release their moisture for that flavor to concentrate and fill the soup with yummy flavor. Adding salt in this step not only builds seasoning in layers, it helps draw the water out of the vegetables and speeds up the process.This also ensures that the onion just melts right into the broth, so nobody gets pieces of crunchy onion (or worse, slimy, if you simply boil it without sauteing).
- Without meat, you need the added fat to carry the flavors throughout the soup. Butter is added at the end and not the beginning to preserve the buttery flavor and not have it brown (or burn) when sauteing the veggies. When added at the end, it also adds body to the soup.
Other Vegetable Soup Recipes You Won’t Want To Miss
Vegetable Orzo Soup
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 ½ cups finely-chopped onion *see note
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided use
- 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ litres chicken or vegetable broth
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 ½ cups diced zucchini
- 1 cup orzo
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 cups baby spinach
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Cook the onion, celery and carrot with 1 tsp of the salt until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook a minute more before pouring in the broth.
- Add the red pepper flakes, dried parsley,, zucchini, orzo and remaining 1 tsp of salt.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, until orzo is cooked through.
- Stir in butter and spinach leaves and cook a minute more until spinach is just wilted.
Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD