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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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525 comments on “Italian Orzo Spinach Soup”

  1. I made it last night add some Italian sausage to be more filling taste amazing so simple to make

  2. Found this recipe on Pinterest last night and made it today. Easy to make and delicious. Topped it with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Next time I’ll add zucchini, sweet potatoes,  and Italian sausage. Will reduce the celery per husband’s request. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Shirley, we’re so glad you liked it, and we bet the zucchini, sweet potatoes and Italian sausage would all be wonderful additions!

  3. This soup is light, yet nourishing. I’m making it for the second time tonight. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. I would love to try this. Can you put all this in a slow cooker? 

    • Hi Razel! You can definitely make this in the slow cooker. However, you’ll need to cook the orzo separately (since cooking pasta in a slow cooker is a bit precarious, especially one as delicate as orzo). Also, you’ll want to add the spinach at the end, since it will wilt/cook instantly, once added to the hot soup. Adding it any earlier will overcook it. You should be able to do this soup either on low, for 6-8 hours (until the veggies are all tender). We hope you enjoy!

  5. Can i get the calorie info for this email me please 

    • Hi there, we’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  6. My husband and I have made this soup at least 5 times in the last 2-3 months! It’s definitely becoming a staple and a bi weekly go to. We love it and I wanted to thank you for the recipe!!! 

  7. I am a huge fan of orzo so I had to try this recipe. I added shredded chicken to mine. It was absolutely divine.
    Next time I will add some zucchini too. Yummy recipe.

  8. Made the soup it was very good and easy to make, the only thing i would change is the amount of orzo. It ended up being to much orzo and not enough of broth.  Half the amount of orzo works well. Thanks for a easy and good soup recipe.

    • We’re happy you enjoyed this Debbie, and we appreciate your feedback – thank you! :)

  9. I was skeptical! But NO more! This was awesome I served crusty warm garlic bread and a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. Everything complimented each other…and we got our vegetables in on this harsh cold winter evening.  Thank you for a wonderful recipe

  10. Sounds great! Curious…do you add the whole can of tomatoes with the liquid, or do you drain the tomatoes?

    Thanks!!

  11. Sound yummy but I don’t like celery and want to leave out…..any suggestions for a substitution???

    • No worries Sherry! We’d say you could add a leek or even a red/orange/yellow bell pepper if you like, or extra carrot. We hope you enjoy! :)

  12. Do you know how many calories per serving this is?

    • Hi Jacqueline! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  13. This is really yummy and comforting and satisfying! I used zucchini in place of the celery and added white cannellini beans for some protein, and a little shredded Parmesan on top when served. Delish! 

  14. Tried this a while back and it was a hit.  I am about to make it again so I looked up the recipe again.  Excellent!

  15. I made this tonight. I sautéed butternut squash with the vegetables and it was a great addition to the dish. 

  16. Can I use fresh baby spinach for this or would you suggest frozen spinach?

  17. Your pictures of this soup were mouth watering….kudos to the photographer.  I plan to make this over the weekend as we are expecting snow.  Couldn’t think of a better soup to make than a pot if this yumminess!  Thanks…keep the recipes coming.

  18. This soup is so good! So hearty and filling! I followed the amounts exactly and it turned out perfect. Great for leftovers too! I will definitely be making this one again!

  19. I found this recipe online today and wanted to cook it , omg it was amazing and my dinner looked exactly like the picture and was so delicious i cant wait to cook more vegetarian food 

  20. This is probably one of the best soups I have ever made! I was expecting it to have little, to no flavor, But when I tasted it I was shocked. It was delicious! I had a friend over for dinner and she laughed at the change in expression on my face. This is such a minimal ingredient recipe with a huge kick of flavor! Highly recommend! 

  21. I made this for the first time & it was delicious!! I added Italian sausage and it was a perfect compliment to this soup!! Great recipe!!! 

  22. Hi I’m making this wonderful soup right now. I followed the directions but I have one question: my soup looks red in color due to the can if fire roasted tomatoes but your soup pics seem to look lighter and creamier. Did you add cream ? 

    • Hi Marilyn! Hmm, we didn’t use cream, but it’s probably the lighting that Ali shot the photos in. We hope you enjoy this! :)

  23. Very delicious.  Will defininitely make this again.  Thank you for posting.

  24. This is the best soup and has become a family favorite!  It is so easy to make and very satisfying!  Love all of the veggies.  I do add extra broth thought since it becomes thick with the 1 1/2 cups of orzo.  I guess you could reduce the amount of orzo as well. 

  25. Hiya, can you please tell me if this is suitable for freezing? Thanks! :)

  26. I love this soup and have made it two times. The first time I used regular orzo. The second time is used the whole wheat orzo listed in recipe. I had a major problem with the whole wheat orzo. When we ate it for dinner it was fine. I froze the rest. When I defrosted and heated the soup in the microwave the whole wheat pasta basically disintegrated. It turned to mush. The second day reheat was worse. So I will stick to using regular orzo for this soup because I like to freeze soups and i didn’t have that problem the first time I made it. I added chicken and extra broth to make it heartier. Thanks for a yummy recipe. 

    • We’re so glad to hear that Anne — thanks for sharing! That’s too bad about the whole wheat orzo though – good to know it doesn’t hold up as well. We appreciate you giving this a try!

  27. It’s a cloudy day  today and I was looking for a delicious soup that would be fast and easy to make.  I did this one and my family loved it!!!  I’m going to keep making it. I also enjoyed your reading your post. Thank you!

  28. Fellow whole wheat orzo lover here- it was on sale at Whole Foods yesterday, so I had to grab a few bags. Yesterday was also farmers mkt day and I got a huge bunch of fresh spinach and here I am! It’s a sunny but cool day and soup will be perfect for dinner. Thanks for the great recipe!

  29. Just make the soup love it 

  30. I have made this soup two times so far. The first time using the exact recipe and adding a lean breast of chicken and the second time using chicken again but replacing the fire roasted tomatoes with 2 10 oz. cans of Rotel. The Rotel gave it a nice kick! I love this recipe. Going to make it again tomorrow for weekend noshing. Thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing with us Mark — we’re so glad you enjoy it! And an extra kick is always nice. :)

  31. I followed this recipe to the letter. It has no flavor! 

    • We’re sorry you didn’t care for this Crystal — we hope you can find another recipe that you enjoy!

  32. This soup was awesome! I added red chili flakes. 
    So tasty and I’ll make this again.

    • Thanks Carmen — we’re so glad you enjoyed this! And a little extra heat is always a good idea. :)

  33. I love this soup! Ill admit ive never used whole wheat orzo, cuz i always forget to look for it. But i make it with regular orzo and its fab!! I use about half the amount of orzo…we are trying to go easy on carbs. Sometimes i add a little sliced chicken sausage too. Overall this recipe is fantastic. The roasted tomatoes are key…lots of flavor. 
    This has become a staple in my menu plans. It’s also an incredible go to meal when I’m running late or busy day….and also a great soup to take to a family who needs a meal. 

  34. My  husband and I tried this for dinner tonight, and it has become an instant favorite! Husband approved (; 

  35. Today I was frantically looking for dinner ideas because it was my turn to make dinner. I wanted something fast and easy because I had limited time and I am so glad I found your recipe! It was easy to follow and it was delicious. This is my first time trying Orzo (I thought it was rice when I saw the pics?) and I want to try it again. This recipe is going to be in my dinner rotations from now on. Thank you!!!!  

    • Thank you Dahiana — we appreciate you giving this a try, and we’re so happy you enjoyed it! :)

  36. I loved this recipe! Such a simple soup to throw together and totally packed with flavor. Really enjoyed it! 

  37. This looks DELICIOUS and I can’t wait to make it tonight!  Quick question:  can I use rice instead of orzo pasta (I don’t have any and can’t make it to the store before dinner)?

    If so, would I follow the exact same directions as if it were the pasta or cook it first?

    • Thanks Jacquie — we hope you love it! If using rice, we would suggest cooking the rice separately and then adding it to the soup at the end.

  38. This soup is delicious!

  39. I’m excited to try this for the first time tonight!! 

  40. I make this soup at least once a month, and I love it! The veggies and flavor are amazing.

  41. Yum! I added mushrooms, cabbage (instead of celery) and tuscan seasoning.. mmm

    • Those sound like delicious additions Kyla — we’re so glad you enjoyed this! :)

  42.  I made this today and it is super good!  Thanks 

  43. Pinned this recipe from Pinterest…sometimes you pin stuff because it looks interesting, it looks like it might be good, you’re hungry at the moment, whatever. I just made this soup and it is AWESOME1 I did a change, browned and added some ground pork because I like a little meat in my soup. That said, the poster is right, it is SO easy to put together! I used my pressure cooker, threw everything in, set the timer for 15 (more time than required), and I left it to make magic. The spices are perfect, not too overpowering, the orzo was perfectly done. THIS one is going into my ‘keeper’ file for sure! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • Thanks for sharing Lee — we’re so glad you enjoyed it, and we think your modifications sound great! :)

  44. I’ve been looking around for a recipe like this! My boyfriend says he likes “orzo soup” but of course has no specifics beyond that, and the fact that it has chicken. This recipe looks like the one I would like most, but do you have any idea how much chicken I should add for the BF?

    • Hi Nicole! Were you thinking of adding rotisserie chicken or chopped chicken breast? We’d say maybe 2 cups or so, but it’s totally up to you and how much meat your boyfriend might like. We hope you guys enjoy!

  45. I just made this with ordinary soup pasta and it turned out delicious, although I ended up using way too much so it soaked up all the liquid.

  46. Girl this is amazing! We had it last night, and even for summer this soup is to die for. My husband had it today, cold, and he said it was great that way too! Thanks for sharing ?

  47. My son can’t have tomatoes, how do you think this would taste without the can of tomatoes?

    • Hi Kristen! This would be just fine without the tomatoes — we would suggest a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice for some acidity though (just do it to taste). We hope you and your son enjoy!

  48. Yum! I added navy beans… Delicious!

  49. Thanks for an excellent recipe, really enjoyed the orzo.

  50. Made this for dinner tonight. It was SUPER easy and delish!