Ever since I test drove this recipe a year ago from Veg Kitchen I’ve been in love! This soup is delicious any way you have it – hot, cold, room temp, fresh, leftover…you get the point. The best part is that it comes together quickly, so it’s perfect for a weeknight family meal.
Spinach Orzo Soup with Lemon
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes (could also be petite diced)
- 1 – 1 1/2 Tsp olive oil
- 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed with liquid squeezed out (could also be 1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach, stems cut off and leaves cut into strips)
- 3 Tsp fresh parsley
- 1 – 1 1/2 Tsp fresh dill (optional, but super yummy)
- 3/4 cup orzo pasta
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or 2 bullion cubes dissolved in 4 cups of water)
- juice of 1 lemon
Heat a deep soup pot on medium with olive oil and heat a separate, small sauce pot with water to cook orzo. When oil in soup pot is warm, add the chopped onions and saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Once the onions are translucent, add bell pepper and garlic and saute another 5-6 minutes until the pepper is softened. Don’t forget to be adding salt and pepper as you add in each layer of vegetables! After the pepper is soft, add the vegetable broth (or bullion and water, that’s what I used). If you’re using bullion, you can add the cubes right into the soup with the water, and they’ll dissolve as the soup comes up to a boil. Drain the liquid from the diced tomatoes right into the soup with the broth. If you’re using regular diced tomatoes, chop them a bit more finely before adding them to the soup. If you’re using petite diced, you can skip this step and add them right in. Bring the soup up to a rapid boil, then simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes. During this time, you should be cooking the orzo in your separate sauce pot (depending on the brand it cooks in 6-8 minutes). Drain the orzo after it’s cooked and add it right into the soup with the spinach and herbs.
The mixture of herbs is up to you! At least the parsley is great, but the combination of dill and parsley is wonderful in this soup. If you don’t like dill or don’t have it – don’t use it, it’s fine I’ll never know.
For this soup, I actually like using fresh spinach A LOT more than the frozen option. Why? Because 1) frozen spinach (for me, at least) doesn’t fare well in soups and 2) fresh spinach stays much more vibrantly green than frozen. Then, “Why,” you ask, “the hell did I use frozen?” I have a good reason for that, too! The fresh bunches were not on sale at the Asian store, and the frozen option was cheaper. I know, I’m on a budget I’m very susceptible to food prices and in this case it did overrule taste preference. You can try it either way – it’s totally up to you! I’ve done it both ways, but you can experiment and see which you prefer – that’s half the fun of cooking!
Now back to the recipe…
Add the lemon right into the soup (squeeze cut-side up so that the seeds stay with the lemon and not in your soup). You’ll notice that the soup is pretty thick at this point. Add 1 – 2 cups water to thin the soup to your desired consistency (I ended up adding about 2). Taste for salt and pepper at this point – add both or either if needed. Simmer, uncovered for another few minutes until the water and spinach are heated through (about 5 minutes, maybe less).
Pardon the blurriness, the soup was piping hot at this point so the blur is more steam than anything.
Enjoy the deliciousness!
By the way…you never knew a vegan soup could be so tasty, did ya?! Ha! I didn’t want to announce it too early, because I knew it would scare people away. Don’t be scared – vegans eat yummy food too!
Oh, just try it, you know you’ll like it.