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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. Hi, your soup looks so good, but i, wondering if it can be made in the slowcooker?

    • Thanks, Joyce — we hope you enjoy it!

      Yes, you could try this in the slow cooker. You’ll still want to do the first couple steps though (sautéing/slightly browning these veggies gives the soup so much more flavors than if you didn’t). Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the veggies to the crockpot. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. You’ll need to cook your orzo pasta separately and add at the end (when you add the spinach – see below).

      Stir in the spinach at the very end and season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed).

  2. Made this for tonight’s tea. It was gorgeous! In the UK we don’t have the tomatoes so I substituted a jar of passata rustica and added a couple of grinds of chilli flakes. I did use a little less orzo and it was perfect. Thanks for the recipe. 

  3. I made this soup and my husband loved it.  I thought it had a great taste   I would make this soup again for sure 

  4. Confused, lol. Sounds delicious, but your directions say to use a pot on the stove, but the icon says it is for a slow cooker. Can I make it in the slow cooker without the orzo getting gummy? I would love to make this in the AM and take it to class for lunch (for the bunch, of course) but I would hate to have the class eat gummy pasta.

    • Whoops, that’s a typo. These directions are definitely for the stovetop, not a crock pot. Sorry for the confusion! :)

  5. For some reason my soup turned out more liquidy than yours. Yours looks rather thick in the photos, how do I achieve that?

    • Hi Jordan! We wonder if maybe it just needed to cook a bit longer? One thing you can try though is making a cornstarch slurry (just whisk a few tablespoons of starch into a little of the broth in a separate bowl, then whisk it into the soup pot). We hope this helps!

  6. I’m very excited to make this tonight! Just wondering if I should cook the orzo separately first or just throw it in uncooked? :)

  7. This soup is DELICIOUS!! I add 2 cans of Great Northern Beans a a couple dashes of Tabasco.  

    • Thanks, Melinda — we’re so happy you enjoyed it, and good call on the great northern beans and Tabasco! :)

  8. Awesome! My 2 year old even dug it! I tossed in some diced organic all beef sausage from Costco to appease the husband – sprinkled a bit of Gruyere cheese on top before serving too ! Thanks for sharing!

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Tori, and we bet that gruyere on top was amazing! :D

  9. I was SO excited to try this especially because my husband was too, he never gets excited to eat soup for dinner (can anyone relate?) I added some Italian chicken sausage that I sautéed to brown it and added to the end with the spinach! The orzo was A LOT once it all cooked, I added even more stock to thin it out. When I make it again I’ll add half the amount of orzo. We have a lot leftover that I froze to enjoy later this week and even after that. Had lots of flavor, I also used fresh thyme and rosemary, not dried. This is one of the few recipies I’ve gotten offline that I will save for a lifetime! 

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Bethany — we’re happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed this, and that’s great that you were able to use some fresh herbs! :)

  10. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made it for lunch today and both my husband and I thought it was delicious! I will definitely be keeping this in my favorite recipe binder!

  11. I made this soup for the first time,  for my extremely picky and unbearably critical mother.  She LOVED it!
    Very tasty and flavorful.  Gotta go…about to make a pot as we speak! Thank you for the recipe!  : )

  12. This soup is so good! It comes together quick and easy and is so satisfying. I reduced the Orzo to 1 cup and added a teaspoon of Red Chili Pepper Flakes as other readers had suggested as well as some left over sweet red and yellow bell peppers. Next time I will add either Italian Sausage or chicken. Thanks!

  13. Love this recipe! Should you freeze leftovers immediately since there is spinach in it or can you keep it in the fridge a few days before freezing?

    • Thanks, Lindsay — we’re glad to hear that! We think you would be fine to freeze the soup after a few days keeping it in the fridge.

  14. This soup is delicious! My whole family loved it! The only thing is that there was too much orzo to my liking, the soup was very thick. It’s not a problem though, I will definitely cook this again and put less orzo. Thank you for sharing!

    • We’re so glad to hear you and your family enjoyed it! And definitely feel free to use less orzo next time. :)

  15. Love Love LOVE this soup! I’d take this over my standard chicken noodles soup any day of the week and twice on Sunday! So simple and yet SO perfect! My only change was to use a blend of orzo and parboiled rice (I already had premixed for homemade rice dishes) … that, and I threw in a small rind of Parmigiana cheese towards the end for a little added flavor. I’m just nuts for this soup! Comfort food at its best. Thank you so much for recipe :)

  16. This is so good! I added Italian sausage and had frozen spinach on hand instead of fresh. Turned out really well!

  17. I loved this soup and am making it again. It was easy to put together AND SIMPLY DELICIOUS!! I had bought some orzo for another recipe that I didn’t make, so glad I had it handy for this recipe! This is one of my new favorite soup recipes and perfect for this time of year..

  18. I’ve made this soup numerous times. Love it just the way it is. Or for more substance add rotisserie chicken pieces for more body. Or roasted chicken breast. 

  19. This is a delicious recipe…and so easy to make. The only recommendation would be to add 8 cups of broth in order to thin the broth a bit. This is sure to be a recipe I will replicate many times in the future…and share. 

  20. Love this soup!? Shared on my Instagram mairikmac76

  21. Not sure this qualifies as a soup.  It’s closer in consistency to a one-pot pasta dish, or at least that’s how mine turned out.  Totally not complaining though; I think I’m happier that it ended up that way :)

    • We’re glad you enjoyed it, and you can definitely use more stock to thin it out next time if you like!

  22. Thank you so much this soup is great.  After the holidays & funds are low, this soup is a great remedy on a cold winter night.

  23. I made this tonight and it was delicious! Such an easy weeknight meal!

  24. Love this soup!  I put fresh spinach leaves in soup bowl then add the hot soup. Spinach wilts enough to be just perfect. 

  25. Ah I would love to make this but i dont know the measurements in ‘cups’. Maybe i will freestyle…

  26. I made this for supper tonight, it is yummy.  Five stars!

  27. Just made this and it was so great! definitely has that warm comforting feeling you described.

    The only modification I made was I added 2 small tomatoes to add a bit more chunkiness.

    Was absolutely delicious!

  28. I made this for my family and they loved it! The only thing I did different was putting two pieces of pecorino Romano cheese rines in the soup and also two knors chicken bullion squares.recommend 100 percent!

  29. I think I have made this four times since Christmas. It is delicious! I had it for lunch today.

  30. This soup looks like a big warm hug!  These flavors look like such a great combo!  After all, who said comfort foods have to be boring !  I’m pinning this one to make next week! :) 

  31. This looks like a great recipe! I’m going to make it for a soup swap I’m hosting on Monday.  If I make the soup with the orzo and then freeze it, with the orzo get all mushy.  Do you have any special tips for freezing the soup?

  32. This looks amazing. Your version of Zuppa Toscana is in constant rotation at my house, so I’ll definitely be giving this a try for it’s similar but different flavors!

    • Thank you, Emily! We’re so glad to hear you enjoy the Zuppa Toscana and we hope you enjoy this one as well! :)

  33. This is a family favorite….but I had Italian Sausage to it. 

  34. Italian spinach soup.. really loved it.. i going to try this.. the pictures are awesome.. and good write-up , you had written in so simple manner… thanks for sharing the recipe.. keep posting.. thank you

  35. This looks really delicious and its timely for me coming across this now, my cousin who loves soup very much is visiting for the weekend so I am going to make this.

  36. Can you tell me the nutritional value, please?

    • Hi Leslie! 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!

  37. Made this tonight and it is FABULOUS! I also love that it is an affordable and tasty vegetarian dish :)

  38. Made this almost exactly per the recipe today. (I had to add more broth.)

    My super picky 15 year old devoured most of it.

    That. Never. Happens.

    So, we have a new meal for Sundays for a while. Thank you!

    • Thanks for sharing, Acra — we’re so glad you and your picky 15 year-old enjoyed it! :)

  39. I am super excited to try making this tonight for my husband and I! I’ve been trying to eat as vegan as I can, and this recipe can so easily become vegan without adding cheese! Looking at the ingredients, I can tell there aren’t too many calories for a nice healthy dinner. Thanks for sharing! :) I’m thinking of adding a teeny bit of lime juice to the broth because my husband loves lime in soup! 

  40. This soup is soooo delicious!! Can I freeze it?

    • Thanks, Nancy, and yes, we think you should be able to freeze this. However, it’s best not to freeze the soup with the pasta in it (the pasta doesn’t hold up well when defrosted and reheated, as it gets mushy). Therefore when you’re making this soup, don’t add the pasta to it. Then when you’re reheating it, cook fresh pasta and add it directly to the rewarmed soup. We hope this helps!

  41. Just found your website. You have a lot of recipes I look forward to making. Let you know how they turn out. Thank You!

  42. Made this today was very good can you freeze it 

  43. Can’t wait to try making this! Does anyone know about how much volume this recipe yields for the 4-6 servings?

  44. Could this be done in the crock pot? If so, do you recommend putting the orzo in later on in the cooking time? I have made this stove top and it’s fantastic! Just seeing if I can cheat a little and get it prepped in the morning so I don’t have to cook it when I get home from work. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Angela! We haven’t tried this in the crockpot, but we think it should work fine. We would definitely add the orzo towards the very end (last 10 min or so). We hope this helps!

  45. this is a total win! I have 5 kids and a picky husband when it comes to soup…. everyone loved it!! Even the 10-mos old scarfed it down!! Thank you!!

  46. Hello!  I made your delicious soup for dinner tonight, and it was a big thumbs up.  When my husband came through the door he asked what smelled so awesome.  I even made it in 25 min.  It’s a great soup for a chilly day.  I think next time I make it I will brown some Italian sausage to add to it.  Thanks for the great recipe!

  47. Any idea on how to make it allergy free? I’m allergic to tomatoes chicken and onions. I usually swap out garlic for the onions but chicken broth is in nearly every broth (even certain veggie broths).
    I’d love to make this but add ground sausage and add more cheese.
    Thanks for any suggestions folks!

    • Hey there! We think adding ground sausage and more cheese would be yummy in this! As for the tomatoes, chicken and onions allergy, if you could find a veggie stock/broth that doesn’t have onions, we think you’d be good, but it sounds like you may need to make your own. It would be a very different flavor, but maybe instead of the tomatoes, you could do some roasted red peppers? We hope this helps!

  48. This is ah-mazing, will definately try this out!

  49. Do you put in 1 1/2 cups cooked or uncooked orzo?

    • Uncooked. We hope you enjoy! :)

    • This soup is delicious I made for the first time tonight!! I added one cup of uncooked orzo and 6 cups of stock. Next time I would increase the stock to 8 cups and only add 1/2 cup of orzo.

  50. Hi,  I am looking at some of your recipes….can you please provide the nutritional value to these recipes.  They look relish but the nutritional value would be very helpful.

    • Hi Barbara! 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!