Chicken Orzo Soup with Spinach
You’ll have one of the most hearty, flavorful soups around when you make this chicken orzo soup. Onion, garlic and tomato paste simmer with diced chicken then orzo pasta and baby spinach and cook to perfection.
The soup needs to simmer for at least an hour, but don’t worry if you get distracted (as you know we all do) and let it go longer. No harm done and it’ll actually make it more flavorful!
Orzo pasta, which looks more like rice than pasta, serves this soup best. It’s usually made with semolina flour for pasta that’s firm and holds it shape—unlike those made with white flour. You’ll find it in served alone or in salads but works really well in soups because it easily absorbs liquid.
When the soup’s ready, throw a pesto-topped crostini into the bottom of each bowl then sprinkle with Parmesan. Enjoy!
Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 2" cubes
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2 cups baby spinach, leaves roughly chopped (about 3 oz)
- 1 cup basil pesto
- 1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
- Rinse the chicken breasts under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken into 2" cubes then set aside.
- Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the diced chicken and cook 6–8 minutes until cooked through and no pink remains. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool slightly.
- While the chicken is cooling, add the onion to the oil remaining in the pot then cook until it becomes translucent—approximately 3–4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Sprinkle flour over the onions and garlic, stir to combine then cook for 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth, stir to dissolve the flour then add tomato paste, bay leaves and salt. Stir to combine, scraping up any of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat, bring soup to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
- Shred or chop the cooked chicken breast and place it back into the pot. Cover and simmer the soup 30 minutes.
- Next, stir in the pasta and spinach. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the soup back to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, until the pasta is perfectly cooked.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve the soup with a pesto-topped crostini at the bottom of your bowl. Sprinkle with plenty of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!