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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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Recipe rating

525 comments on “Italian Orzo Spinach Soup”

  1. Oh my– is all I can say! Made this on what is the first really colder day of Fall In New England! This is such a simple dish to make– anyone can do this!! But the flavor- and the smells– are heavenly!! Delish!

  2. Made this last night and loved it! Both my husband and myself went back for seconds! Eating for lunch as I type..it reheats in the microwave beautifully. The pasta does absorb a lot of the liquid overnight. So when I heat this up for leftovers tonight  (via stovetop) I will add about 1/2-1 cup of veggie broth. It isn’t necessarily needed. I just like a more broth-y soup. Thanks for the recipe!  

  3. Absolutely delicious and so easy to make!  Thank you!

  4. My boyfriend will NOT let me lose this recipe. We loved it!

  5. I just made this soup and it is fabulous! So easy and simple to make on a cold  autumn  day. I did add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and used vegan chicken stock. 

  6. Really delicious!! 
    I added some diced sweet potatoes & fresh Italian sausage – really hearty and good!

  7. This soup is delicious! I made it last week. The Mr. and I loved it and it was so easy. I even mentioned this soup in my Runner Ramblings post last week. Thanks for sharing! I will def be making this again.

  8. I’ve made this at least five times since my first comment back in October.  It very quickly became a family favorite.  We love it!  

  9. So yummy! I was looking for a quick and healthy soup and decided on this. I had to improvise on a few ingredients (zucchini instead of celery, Italian tomatoes instead of fire-roasted, and cream of chicken to stretch my stock to the 6 cups of liquid required) but the overall result was delicious! Fabulous recipe, my family loved it – thank you!

  10. What tasty hearty soup! Thank you! I added a can of white beans. It was absoloutly delicious

  11. Very tasty and quick! Pleases both the vegan (me) and the rest of the family!

  12. I added ground turkey and a can of V8 juice. Yummy!

  13. I made this on Sunday night and it made a ton of delicious soup. Mine turned out to be more of a stew because I added in extra carrots & celery, and probably should have thrown in more broth. But oh well, I love stew. I used regular orzo – I bet you could easily swap that out for other styles of wheat pasta, barley, etc and it would taste just as great. Perfect for the cold week we’re having here!

  14. Made this tonight and absolutely loved it! Already planning to make it again! Only thing I did was add more chicken stock since the orzo absorbs quite a bit! Yum!!

  15. Wow! Made this today for a dear friend who is sick. Soooooo good! Definitely keeping this recipe forever! Added a little shredded chicken breast to it as well. Needed to add another 4 cups of chicken stock because the orzo soaked up most of the broth. But, hands down one of the yummiest and simplest soup recipes. Thanks!

  16. Made this yesterday it was very tasty and we ate it again for lunch today during yet another snow storm. I added less pasta to keep the carbs down and even my picky eaters liked it. Also made your skinny buffalo chicken dip for our Super Bowl snack – it was also very good. Thank you. 

  17. Very easy and flavorful . A meatless Monday option.

  18. Absolutely Delicious! Only thing I did differently was add chicken.. boys (6 and 3) loved it.  Very easy to make with 3 young kids too

  19. Inhaling this soup as I type this! So damn good! I added the juice of two lemons. Gives it a nice bright, citrusy kick! 

  20. This soup sounds amazing! I’m totally on board with a meatless meal more often than not unfortunately my husband isn’t. Do you think this soup would be as good with some tiny meatballs added to it or am I better off just making a pot and freezing single servings for myself for later on?

  21. Added smoked sausage and one vine ripe tomato. Cooked cut up smoked sausage, drained & set aside. Then continued with original recipe placing cooked sausage in after veggies cooked.

    Great February evening dinner.

  22. Really fast easy & yummy!! I added squash and a can of fat free cream of chicken soup for a thicker consistency. As others not

  23. With the weather here being so cold all I want to eat is soup! I made this for a couple of friends, and we all enjoyed it. The only problem I had was that I was still hungry soon after eating it. I couldn’t find whole wheat orzo at my store, so the issue may have been the lack of protein from the whole wheat. Otherwise very good!

  24. This soup is pretty amazing. My husband had to get some oral surgery so we are now on a soup diet. I made this last week and he loved it so tonight  I decided to add some Hot Italian Sausage and it is delicious twist. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us 

  25. T.his sounds so good I can’t wait to try this. Not summer here, lol..

  26. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for weeks since finding it on Pinterest.  Finally made it today with chicken and it was PERFECT after the snowy day we had (well, still having) in Virginia.  Thanks for sharing!

  27. Overnight this has become my go-to soup. I have made it three times now, the last time I added chicken which I decided was really unnecessary and I sort of wish I hadn’t. It doesn’t need it! It doesn’t need anything except me gobbling it up, yum yum yummy! 

  28. Do we know the calorie count? I normally don’t care! But new to the fitbit and trying to keep track :) 

    • Hey Briana, I’m sorry but we don’t currently publish nutrition info on the site. The nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. That being said, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. Hope this helps!

  29. LOVE it- I was wondering how many calories in this soup? Thanks!

    • Thanks Jane! I’m sorry but we currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site. The nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. But many of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. I hope that helps!

  30. hi!

    not sure if this question was already asked but can you substitute no salt added chicken BROTH instead of chicken stock?

    thanks!

  31. Thanks for an awesome recipe! My kids both thought it was great & hubby liked it too. Only thing I did different was I zipped the tomatoes in the nutribullet because me & my son don’t like chunks of tomatoes. Great flavor & the kids even loved the spinach!

  32. This was SO Good! My family absolutely loved it! It just popped up on my FaceBook feed today. It’s a cold Spring day so I made it for dinner. So very glad I did! Thank you for this keeper recipe!

  33. This became my husband’s favorite new soup and I’ve passed the recipe on to his co-workers as well. Thank you for a wonderful (and easy) new recipe!

  34. Made this last night, using homemade chicken stock. Delicious!

  35. Thank you! I love orzo but mostly avoid it because it is not usually wholegrain. I had no idea you could get whole grain orzo. Now I do, thanks to you. I feel a new obsession coming on.  I made this tonight and it was a serious hit. My husband couldn’t get enough of it. Delicious. Great recipe. And so simple and healthy. Thank you.

    • Sure, we’re glad to hear you enjoyed the soup! We <3 orzo! Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

  36. Just made this, actually delicious.

  37. Love your website. Will be making the Italian Orzo Soup first!!! The will try all the others.
    Keep up the excellent work. Thank you for your great recipes and sharing them with all of us.

  38. This was incredible!  We loved it.  Ate it all and licked the bowl.  We made no substitutions, which is unheard of for us.  Just rice to keep it gluten-free.  We did try a basil leaf in one bite.  It was good but took away from your original gorgeous flavor.  Five stars!
    Used this homemade veg broth:
    https://food52.com/blog/6278-all-about-tempeh-plus-a-mizuna-salad-with-miso?utm_term=4941223&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20150814_shop_vegan_baking_presale

    This is brilliant…thank you so much!

    • Thank you Nina, we’re so happy to hear that! Also, thanks for sharing the homemade veggie broth recipe, it looks awesome! :)

  39. I made this last night, and it turned out great! I used veggie broth rather than chicken broth for my vegan friend. I didn’t add any salt so I just put the salt shaker on the table. Everyone loved it!

    I added all the ingredients to MyFitnessPal and if you separate it into 6 servings (which were pretty reasonable servings), it came out to be 220ish calories per serving. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)

  40. I made this last night and it was great! The spices were just right, but the carrots were still crunchy. Next time I guess I’ll just sautee them longer, but I’m wondering if that will have any effect on the celery and onions? Anyway, great recipe, will definitely be a regular at our house!

    • Thanks Jessica, we’re happy to hear you enjoyed it! That’s strange that the carrots weren’t cooked enough. You can cut them a bit smaller next time, or yes, you can most definitely sauté them longer. Just to make sure the celery and onions don’t get overcooked or mushy, we’d suggest cooking them by themselves for awhile, before adding the celery and onions. We hope this is helpful! :)

  41. Can I freeze leftovers?

  42. Very quick and easy soup to make. Used both chicken broth and vegetable broth. Left out the rosemary since I’m not a fan of it. Will definitely make this again!

  43. I’m seeing all the wonderful comments on how great this soup is! I can’t wait to try it. But I’m wondering what most people are using- chicken stock or vegatable? What did you use for the soup posted in the picture? Thanks 

    • Hi Christine! We used chicken stock. It’s totally up to you though, hope you enjoy! :)

  44. Can you freeze this soup? It looks GREAT!

  45. I make this often and it’s soooo good. I made an alteration and diced up some smoked beef kielbasa and added that to the pot with the celery, carots, and garlic. My husband loves it.

    • We’re glad to hear that Sarah, and that smoked beef kielbasa sounds like the yummiest addition – good thinking! :D

  46. I am making this tonight for the 3rd or 4th time. We are going to enjoy it with garlic bread and a big salad. I like to spice this up a bit, decrease the amount of pasta and swirls pesto on the top. 

    I also made your chai granola today – love your blog 

    • Thank you Sonali, we’re so happy to hear you love this soup, and the granola too! Thanks for your sweet words about the blog, we’re glad you’re a fan! :)

  47. I made this soup just now after working nightshift! It’s amazing. Thank you for the recipe! 

  48. This is my family’s favorite cold weather soup!  Sooooo comforting!

  49. I made this today and it was delicious, I will be making this soup again and again.

  50. Love love love this soup! I added some spicy chicken sausage (the husband won’t eat soup without some sort of meat haha!). Very tasty. Full of flavor. Hearty and filling for sure!