This Italian Orzo Spinach Soup recipe is easy to make, full of zesty Italian-inspired flavors, and always so cozy and delicious. Ready to go in less than 30 minutes!
Chilly days call for delicious big pots of soup simmering on the stove. And on days when I find myself particularly pressed for time to cook, this simple Italian orzo spinach soup recipe has long been one of my favorites. ♡
To be honest, this recipe initially earned a spot in our family’s regular rotation simply because it calls for basic ingredients that we almost always have on hand, making it an easy fall-back on those days we find ourselves staring blankly into the fridge at 5pm trying to decide what to make for dinner. However, we’ve continued to make this soup again and again because something about that classic blend of pasta and veggies simmered in a zesty tomato broth is just so comforting and delicious. It’s always such a winner!
The great news about this soup recipe is that it’s easy to customize with whatever soup-friendly veggies and greens happen to be hanging out in your fridge. And while I’m partial to making this soup with orzo pasta, you’re welcome to use any other pasta shape (or even rice) that you prefer. I’m just going to insist that you use a generous amount of garlic, Italian herbs and crushed red pepper flakes to season the broth. And a handful of freshly-grated Parmesan sprinkled atop each serving is an absolute must here in our house, yum.
Let’s make some soup!
Italian Orzo Spinach Soup Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe listed below, here are a few quick notes about the ingredients that you will need to make this Italian orzo soup recipe:
Veggies: We will be using the classic mirepoix combo of diced onion, carrots and celery as the veggie base for our soup.
Seasonings: I love adding in lots of minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning to season the soup, plus fine sea salt and a few generous twists of black pepper.
Chicken or veggie stock: Feel free to use whichever you prefer as the brothy base for the soup.
Diced tomatoes: I highly recommend picking up a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes if they are available at your grocery store. But if not, any can of basic diced tomatoes will be just fine.
Orzo: You will need approximately 1 cup (8 ounces) of uncooked orzo pasta for this soup. Or you are welcome to sub in any other pasta shape of your liking (or see ideas for pasta alternatives in the notes below).
Greens: I love tossing in a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach or kale, but feel free to use whatever greens you prefer.
Toppings: Finally, I highly recommend topping the soup with a generous sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. And if you happen to have some fresh basil (or other fresh Italian herbs) on hand, add some in too!
Tips For Making This Soup
Detailed step-by-step instructions for how to make this Italian orzo spinach soup are included in the recipe below, but here are a few extra tips to consider when making this soup:
Add extra broth if needed. This longer the cooked orzo stays in the soup (especially while the soup is hot), the more broth it will continue to soak up, so I recommend serving the soup immediately once the orzo reaches the al dente stage. That said, if the soup sits on the stove for awhile or you notice while reheating leftovers that the orzo has soaked up most of the broth, feel free to add in some extra stock with a pinch of extra Italian seasoning and then season with salt and pepper as needed.
Choose your favorite pasta shape. I love the texture of orzo in this soup, but you’re welcome to use 8 ounces of whatever shape and variety of pasta that you have in the pantry
Season to taste. I love a generous amount of Italian seasoning, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in this soup. But this recipe is incredibly flexible when it comes to seasonings, so feel free to add different fresh or dried Italian herbs to taste. And of course, you’re always welcome to add more or less crushed red pepper flakes to make your soup more spicy or mild.
Don’t skimp on the Parmesan. I highly recommend adding a generous sprinkle of freshly-grated or shaved Parmesan on top of each serving bowl. If you happen to have an extra Parmesan rind on hand too, toss it into the pot of soup to let it simmer and add an extra-delicious touch of umami flavor to the broth as well.
Here are a few more ways that you are welcome to customize this orzo soup recipe if you’d like:
Add a protein: We also love adding in some crumbled Italian sausage (or plant-based Italian sausage) to this soup here in our house. It would also be delicious with shredded chicken or ground beef.
Add extra veggies: Feel free to toss in any other mild soup-friendly veggies that you have on hand, such as bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or peas. For extra protein, you’re also welcome to add in a can of rinsed/drained beans.
Use rice: If you would like to make this pasta gluten-free, feel free to sub in your preferred kind of rice in place of the orzo.
Use different greens: Kale or collard greens would also be delicious in place of the baby spinach.
Make it gluten-free: To make this a gluten-free orzo soup, substitute 8 ounces of gluten-free orzo (or any shape of pasta) in place of the orzo. Or you are welcome to substitute rice, rice noodles, or another gluten-free grain in place of the orzo.
Make it vegan: This soup recipe is already naturally vegan if made with vegetable stock.
More Easy Vegetarian Soup Recipes
Looking for more easy vegetarian soup recipes to try this season? Here are a few of our readers’ favorites:
Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Simmer. Add stock, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the broth reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.
Cook the orzo. Stir in the orzo until combined. Cover the pot with a lid and continue simmering the soup, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until the orzo is just barely al dente. (Try to avoid overcooking the orzo!)
Add the spinach and season. Stir the spinach into the soup. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
Recipe update: This recipe was updated in 2021 to include more garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and slightly less orzo. (The original version called for 3 cloves garlic, crushed red pepper flakes to taste, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, and 1 1/2 cups orzo.)
This was excellent. I cooked the orzo separately because not all of us enjoy it in soup, but other than that we followed this to the letter. We opted for vegetable broth and we all added the Parmesan and red pepper flakes.
This will become a staple recipe. Thank you for sharing.
Excellent Soup! I followed your exact recipe and it was delicious. I frozen a container to bring to my sister. I definitely plan on try more of your recipes.
Fantastic recipe, loved it. It helps as I’m on low carb diet for 4 months now. I only eliminated orzo pasta as I can’t tolerate, digest gluten well.
Looking for nutrition details, such as calories per serving? Did I miss that information? This recipe is planned for later this week; I will post further comments at that point. Thank you for your time!
One of my families favorite recipes. We make it exactly as written. Have made it time and time again. Never disappoints! Thanks for all the great recipes.
This is so yummy! Though I do feel that for the amount orzo..there isn’t enough chicken stock. Ended up more like a stew rather than a soup. I will add more chicken stock next time I make this so that it’ll be more soupy. I added some cheese into my bowl and yum yum!!
My 5 kids love this soup! I love how they don’t mind the spinach in it :)
We’ve been eating this about every 8 weeks for a year. Now they are starting to make it with alphabet noodles instead of orzo LOL. Not authentic that way, but hey . . .
Thanks for a great recipe!
Amazing! I added extra veggie stock and extra of all the veggies as well. Makes a lot and stays pretty well in the fridge. Definitely will be on repeat in my kitchen for this fall! Thanks!
Devious soup!!!! Will make all winter long
Only thing I did different, which I do with all my soups, because it just doesn’t all get eaten at one sitting. I cook the orzo (or pasta or rice for other recipes) separately
I add to the bowls as soup is eaten , this way all my broth doesn’t get absorbed. Then I just refrigerate the leftover orzo separately from the soup
I tried this tonight and we made it gluten free. Delicious! Everyone loved it.
This soup is wonderful! Even my most stubborn grandchild enjoyed it. I followed the instructions verbatim and it was great I wouldn’t change a thing.
Any idea how and when to add chicken?
Can this recipe be done in the crockpot?
Made this….will go into regular rotation! I just made one alteration, as I do with all soups which include pasta or, rice. I cook the pasta separately and add to soup when serving. That way, the soup doesn’t absorb the broth, making for better leftovers.
This soup is delicious! I chose to substitute the orzo for a package of tortelloni, and it was delightful. Love that these recipes are so easy to follow.
This was absolutely delicious! I also added cooked crumbled Italian sausage. I added 12 ounce of orzo to the 12 cups of broth. Needed to have more broth with that amount of orzo. Everyone enjoyed it!
Totally disappointed. I have no idea what the original herbs and their quantities were. We don’t buy “Italian seasoning” and the previous version was so good. Now it’s a guessing game at best. Sigh.
See notes above from author ^^
“Recipe update: This recipe was updated in 2021 to include more garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and slightly less orzo. (The original version called for 3 cloves garlic, crushed red pepper flakes to taste, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, and 1 1/2 cups orzo.)”
To add on to my previous comment… further, I prefer to control precisely which herbs go into my dish. Can you please post the original quantities so we can make our own decisions and not be beholden to whatever happens to land in the “Italian seasoning” category?
I have made this for years and my family loves it. I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes so I used crushed tomatoes and a can of rotel and increased the garlic, crushed red pepper and less orzo it was AMAZING! The crushed tomatoes gave it a thicker texture that was surprisingly good. I was bummed I didn’t have the fire roasted like normal but it worked out I also always double or triple it for leftovers.
And I did also add more fresh spinach just so I didn’t have to put it back in the fridge to get gross. I LOVE the recipes on this site my son is soo picky and eats all the recipes I try from this site! Thank you!!! 💗💗💗
This is one of my favorite soups to make! We really liked it in its original version. Can you please tell me what the herb quantities were from the original recipe? I know it had thyme but don’t remember how much. I wish I had printed it out!!
Loved this soup in its original version. Could you please tell me the herb quantities from the original recipe? I know it had thyme but can’t recall how much. Wish I had printed it out!!
Hi Rose! Sure thing, I just added the original recipe amounts into the notes section just below the recipe. All of the herb amounts are detailed there. :)
Love this soup so much! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Delicious! Made some minor adjustments. Used 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes, slightly puréed, about 9 cups of chicken broth, some diced leftover chicken, a few squeezes of tubed tomato paste and only went with 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning (still plenty of flavor). These adjustments gave it a pretty good orzo to broth ratio. Just finished the last bowl for breakfast. Looking forward to making it again soon!
This soup was so easy to put together and very healthy! I don’t know whether it was from the pepper flakes or fire roasted tomatoes, but this soup has a little “kick” to it! I added kale instead of spinach. Thank you for a great recipe!
I have been making it for a while, it turns out well every time. I don’t like celery so leave it out. I add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste to add some depth. I also add some frozen corn and peas. Once in a while I use wide egg noodles instead of orzo. The beauty of this soup is you can throw virtually anything in and it will turn out delicious. The family likes it with garlic bread on the side,
This is now one of my go to soups. I make the full batch, divide the broth mixture into four batches and freeze it three of them for later use. I add the orzo and spinach when I prepare to serve the soup. I make this soup every six weeks. Absolutely love it.
Absolutely delicious. I cooked the orzo separately so it would not absorb the liquid. Only thing I did different.
Delicious as is or add chicken if wanting heartier. Family favorite!
Love this recipe, have made it several times. I like to add bulk sweet Italian sausage which I brown separately, drain, then add in step 2.
Made it today and it was so good. However I tweaked it a bit by adding shrimp and shredded chicken OMG 😲 delicious.
I couldn’t find orzo after checking 2 stores so I used ditalini pasta instead. I also added beans and only used 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning, which was plenty. This soup was really good, and everyone liked it. I will definitely make this again.
This recipe was absolutely amazingly delicious!
I double the recipe and add 2 lbs mild Italian sausage drained of fat. Otherwise, I follow as written. Delicious – everyone asks for the recipe!
This is a GREAT soup!!! I just made it for the second time. I left out salt and pepper; added a full bag of spinach. My husband LOVES it.