Sunshine In A Bowl: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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Lemon chicken orzo soup is a vibrant and comforting dish that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s light and flavorful, packed with tender chicken, fluffy orzo pasta, and bright pops of lemon. This easy-to-make soup is a crowd-pleaser, guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out.

This recipe is not only delicious but also versatile. Feel free to customize it with your favorite vegetables or leftover protein.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth (low-sodium preferred)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 20 oz cooked chicken)
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Sauté the vegetables: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

    2. Simmer the broth and chicken: Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken breasts (if using raw chicken) and season with oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let the chicken simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

    3. Shred the chicken: Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded chicken back to the pot.

    4. Cook the orzo: Add the uncooked orzo pasta to the simmering soup. Cook according to package directions, for about 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.

    5. Add the spinach and lemon: Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice.

    6. Serve and enjoy! Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, or lemon wedges, as desired.

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Please note that this is an approximate nutritional value based on the ingredients listed. Actual values may vary depending on specific brands and ingredients used.)

    Calories: 350-400 per serving

  • Fat: 10-15g
  • Saturated Fat: 3-5g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg (if using chicken with skin)
  • Sodium: 500-600mg (depending on the sodium content of your broth)
  • Carbohydrates: 35-40g
  • Fiber: 4-5g
  • Protein: 30-35g

  • Conclusion:

    Lemon chicken orzo soup is a delightful and nourishing meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights or a cozy weekend lunch. It’s packed with flavor and essential nutrients, making it a guilt-free comfort food option. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to customize with your favorite vegetables or leftover protein. So next time you’re craving a warm and satisfying soup, give this lemon chicken orzo recipe a try!

    FAQs:

    1. Can I use pre-cooked chicken in this recipe?

    Absolutely! This recipe works perfectly with leftover rotisserie chicken, shredded chicken breasts, or any pre-cooked chicken you have on hand. Simply add the pre-cooked chicken to the pot in step 3, along with the shredded chicken from the broth.

    2. What vegetables can I substitute in this soup?

    This recipe is very flexible when it comes to vegetables. Feel free to swap out the carrots, celery, or onion for other favorites such as zucchini, broccoli florets, or chopped mushrooms.

    3. Can I make this soup vegetarian?

    Yes, you can easily transform this recipe into a vegetarian option. Simply omit the chicken and add an extra cup of your favorite cooked beans, lentils, or chickpeas for extra protein and fiber.

    4. How can I store leftover lemon chicken orzo soup?