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Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

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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!

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

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

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!

Step by step instructions for how to make orzo soup

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.

Italian Orzo Soup in pot with ladle

Possible Variations

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.

Bowl of Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

More Easy Vegetarian Soup Recipes

Looking for more easy vegetarian soup recipes to try this season? Here are a few of our readers’ favorites:

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Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x

Description

This Italian Orzo Spinach Soup recipe is quick and easy to make, full of zesty Italian-inspired flavors, and it’s always so cozy and delicious.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (about 8 ounces) uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach or kale
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional toppings: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and/or chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!)
  4. Add the spinach and season. Stir the spinach into the soup. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!


Notes

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.)

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527 comments on “Italian Orzo Spinach Soup”

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  1. Such a nice colourful soup! This looks lovely!

  2. It’s amazing how cooking can soothe the soul on stressful days… The orzo in this soup looks so hearty ~ going to have to see if DeLallo is carried here. Pinned for my family!

  3. Such a delicious and perfect comfort food!!

  4. Lovely soup! Great flavors!!

  5. Looks good! But, this is not vegetarian with chicken stock.

  6. Soup makes everything better. Love that you used whole wheat! xo

  7. Yum! Definitely tucking this recipe away for fall. I’m dying to get my hands on some whole wheat orzo!

  8. I’ve never tried orzo in soup but it looks like the perfect soup-pasta!

  9. This looks amazing and I’ve been loving orzo recently! I’ve only tried it in pasta salads but this looks fabulous!

  10. This sounds amazing! Now that September is almost here, it is nearly soup season. I am excited to try this one! And I’ll be honest.. I actually made chili this past weekend ;)

    • I’ve found that soup season and summer do overlap, if you work in a way-too-air-conditioned office building like I do ;)

  11. Good for you Ali. That saying that happiness is a choice is true.
    We are so blessed to have the power of choice—how we choose to react to life. Plus this is one yummy soup. Of course I am a year round soup eater, so I am a bit prejudiced. Or maybe that makes me more discriminating. Oh well—-doesn’t matter. Good soup recipe. I pinned it.

  12. I just bought a bag of DeLallo’s orzo!! Now I know what to do with it – this soup sounds fantastic! Pinned!

  13. Oooh I’m saving this one for soup season! Looks fantastic. I’m really excited to hear about the whole wheat orzo. Gotta seek it out!

  14. You hit the nail on the head Ali. When I’m having a bad day I often say to myself “I’ll start over tomorrow”. But no! I should be saying “OK lets turn things around RIGHT NOW”. Great reminder. Oh and I love that you used your oven timer as an alarm clock….:-)

  15. This looks so so good. Man, you are really hitting it out of the park lately with your blog, your recipes/posts, and photography. Great job!! Your recipes and blog have really been amazing always, but recently, it is elevated to a whole new and better level. Seriously. Really proud of you. You’re doing fabulous. One of my favorite blogs out there, hands down. ; )

  16. This recipe looks really lovely! So comforting. I love a good chunky soup!

  17. Orzo in soup is my favorite. I have NEVER thought to set my oven alarm when I don’t have my phone… SUCH a good idea!!

  18. I have had another orzo soup that was identical to this one but was lemon flavored or citrusy like lemons. I would love to add that in but have no idea how I would make it a lemon orzo soup. It was also mild, you could taste it like it blended with the other ingredients but still stuck out a little.

  19. I’m glad you are able to reset yourself fairly easily. It takes me days! Even after years of practice… I’m not a big soup eater, but this one sounds very nice, definitely worth trying.

  20. I’ve just made this and it turned out perfect:-) Every bit was eaten so thanks for the recipe!

  21. This was really good! And my vegetarian dtr loved it also! I did add a bit more vegetable stock to the leftovers the next day as the orzo soaked up all the broth overnight. We will definitely make this again.

  22. Made this awesome soup today for 5 adults and 3 kiddos. My son and daughter-in-law gave us a grinder of All ‘Round Good Grinder Blend salt from The Salt Table so we added it to the soup at the table and let me tell you it took the soup up to another level ! We served the soup with rosemary croccatini that I placed shredded mozzarella on top of and then heated till the cheese was lightly melted. Lunch was a success. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  23. Love this soup, Ali! It’s bright, light and comfort food at it’s finest! xo

  24. I made this tonight for dinner. My husband loved it!! I used 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp of rosemary, 1 cup orzo, 5 cups veggie stock, and added 1 package of smoked turkey sausage. Absolutely delicious!!

  25. I love this and I have all the ingredients on hand!

  26. Just made this for lunch. Absolutely perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

  27. Do you drain te canned tomatoes?

  28. Awesome soup. It was so yummy. I added a can of white beans and added parmesan cheese. Will make again!

  29. Wonderful flavor!!! I added cabbage, and substituted kale for spinach, and it turned out beautifully!!! And of course i veganized it using vegan chicken broth and vegan veggie broth.

  30. I made this soup a couple of days ago and my wife and I have put it on our “keepers” list. The next time we make it we’re thinking of frying a small bit of pancetta or chorizo with the onions to add an extra flavor.

  31. There is nothing about this post I don’t agree with..loving orzo,stockpiling ingredients, wrong side of bed, cooking in 100 degree day and feeling good lol. Gorgeous photos and on my list to make. Thanks!!

  32. Thank you. I’m always on the look out for organic food, and I love whole wheat.

  33. Can this soup be frozen?

  34. I made this and it was DELICIOUS. My boyfriend keeps bugging me to make it again! I’m for sure keeping this recipe around.

  35. Did you use fresh or frozen spinach?
    Looks great and I want to make it this weekend!

  36. Did you add the orzo raw, or did you cook it first?

  37. Made this for lunch today. Delicious and very beautiful soup!

  38. Yhis was delicious! I used regular tomatos because I don’t like things spicy. It still was delicious and flavorful. I will definetly be making it again!

  39. This looks SO SO SO delicious! Definitely trying it now that the weather has gone cooler.. Is there anything I could use instead of fire-roasted tomatoes?

  40. When do you add the pasta? Did I miss something? Looks delicious.

  41. i have everything to make this today :) however, do you think I could use frozen spinach? 

  42. Made this tonight and it was delicious!  (I did add turkey kielbasa)

  43. I liked this and it was super easy but I didn’t love it.  I think it would benefit from simmering a while before the orzo goes in.  I think it lacked a depth of flavour.  Maybe add a handful of fresh basil at the end?

  44. Do you drain the tomatoes?

  45. Made this tonight, it’s great! I put a little shredded Italian cheese on top, loved it! Thanks for sharing!

  46. Thank you! Not only for what sounds like a delicious recipe but for sharing your heart! I feel like you might have written this just for me. Thanks again!!!

  47. I have made this soup twice now, and it’s just amazing! I added puréed tomatoes the second time (husband is not a fan of diced), and used frozen spinach because it’s what I had on hand. Also let the soup simmer for about a half hour before adding the orzo. It was a big hit! Even my 13 month old loved it! It is definitely part of our regular ‘rotation’ now. It’s affordable, healthy, and easy to make. Thank you so much! 

  48. This looks fantastic! We shared this in a blog here: https://wedigfood.com/foodie-blog/10-delicious-vegan-soups-for-fall
    We are building a community of vegans and would love for you to hop over and leave a recipe.

  49. Just made and devoured!! Have been saving this recipe for a good fall day. It hit the spot, especially bc I’m not feel so well. Can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Thanks! 

  50. This was really good. I added asparagus. I overcooked it so just added more stock to make it soupy again. But the less soupy more pasta-y version was yummy too. ;)