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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

527 comments on “Italian Orzo Spinach Soup”

  1. I was wondering if you could post the nutritional facts for this recipe?

  2. We had a surprise cool front come through northern Florida this morning so I took the opportunity to make a pot of this soup. It’s absolutely delicious! I’ll be saving a couple servings for myself and taking the rest over to my daughter who is 9 months pregnant and doesn’t feel like standing over the stove right now. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love this soup and make it all the time. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Just made this for lunch today. I added a can of northern white beans to make it heartier. Yummy!!

  5. I’ve followed the recipe exactly as written, result when the pasta were al dente, the carrots were not cooked so I had to leave it longer and the pasta were overcooked. . .

  6. Another snowy day in the northeast, so I made this for dinner. Only changes I made were I cooked the orzo (1 cup) separately and added a can of chick peas. This soup was delicious! Will definitely make again, thank you for sharing!

  7. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I added some asparagus spears, chopped at an angle and some fresh green beans. I also only had 4 cups of chicken broth, so i added 2 c water. I also added some salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. So good. I will definitely make again and try adding Italian sausage and chicken! :)

  8. I would use less orzo. For this amount of liquid 1/2 cup orzo

  9. After another snowstorm in the northeast, I made this delicious soup! I added a can of chick peas, reduced the amount of orzo to one cup and cooked it separately before adding to the soup. Will definitely be making this again!

  10. Could you do this recipe in a slow cooker? Any recommendations for that?

  11. Excellent soup. Full of flavor. I am thinking of adding shredded chicken next time.

  12. Made this soup last night for dinner. It is delicious however I would cut the Orzo amount in half next time. I also added zucchini which was delicious!

  13. Love this soup
    I added chicken when I wanted protein & used kale instead of spinach

  14. This may have already been asked and answered but I didn’t see it. Is the orzo supposed to be pre-cooked? OR will it just cook in the juices?

  15. This is one of my favorite meals. I add some chopped chicken thighs for a little protein for my meat loving husband.

  16. So easy! SO delicious!! Made a great late Sunday night supper.

  17. Delicious! Thank you!

  18. Made this soup tonight and it is amazing!!

  19. Delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  20. Love this soup… i added much more vegetable broth because it was way too thick!! Will make this one often

  21. This is so easy to make and is delicious. The only thing I will do differently next time is sauté the carrots longer as they were still a little hard when the orzo was done. Other then that I wouldn’t change a thing. Oh and I kept the rosemary out just because I don’t like rosemary

  22. I made this for company and followed the recipe directly. It got a 10/10 from everyone! Very easy , delicious and nutritious!

  23. Delicious soup! I added chicken that I had browned to the soup for a little something extra.

    I’d put in less orzo next time (1 1/2 cups is more than 8 ounces) as it soaked up most of my broth. And I might do another can of tomatoes and a few more veggies :)

  24. My family loved this recipe, including my eight year old. We were all surprised with the amount of flavor it had given the simple ingredients. Mine ended up a little thick so next time I may add more liquid. We liked adding the parmesan and red pepper flakes at the end. I’m sure I will make this again this winter!

  25. I make this often as it’s one of my family’s favorites. It has an amazing flavor.

  26. I have just one word for this recipe…delicious!!!I will definitely make this again and again and again??

  27. SO YUMMY. I hate to be that person but I also hate having leftovers of the ingredients used so I made a few tweaks…. I peeled and cut a 1 lb bag of carrots, used a whole stalk of celery, and used an entire large bag of spinach. My grocery store was also out of fire roasted tomatoes, so I used Italian. Worked out great! I might have had less broth then but this made it very hearty! YUM YUM YUM

  28. So good. I didn’t have orzo so I made with cavatappi and my tomatoes had jalapeños as well for some spice!

  29. Tasty!

  30. Omg I think this is the most flavorful soup I ever made very good

  31. Awesome!! I replaced the orzo with red lentills and added 2tbsp of tomato paste. I also used 8 cups of broth due to the lentills.
    Way tasty & healthy!

  32. Just tried this with my boyfriend and we LOVED. So easy! Served with a French baguette and will have lots of leftovers. Definitely try this!

  33. This is an awesome soup! My vegetarian son loves it!!!

  34. Good flavour in the broth – very easy to make!

  35. This was easy-to-make, delicious …. and healthy! Thank you. I’ve given it to several neighbors who also loved it.

  36. Great recipe! Made it last night. Came out great :D

  37. Just made this soup for dinner tonight. I made mine with kale instead of spinach and cooked in my Instant Pot, but other than that followed as directed. So, so, so good! And now my house smells A-freakin’-Mazing! Thank you for such an easy and delicious soup recipe!

  38. We had over 6” of snow in WA in early February 2019, and this soup hit the spot! So easy to make. Yum!

  39. Delicious soup. Loved color, texture, flavors. Kept it as is but will add chicken next time. Delicious winner

  40. We love this soup! Delicious! I don’t add any additional salt. I also crumble 2 sweet Italian sausages in soup (taken out of casings). Thank you so much!

  41. this is DELICIOUS. I am making it for the second time. Not quite sure why it is so good but HOLY MOLY.

  42. I am making this recipe as we speak & it smells so yummy! I think at the end I will add some parmesan cheese before I serve it. I think that will add a little something to it. I am drooling because I can’t wait to eat this! Thank you for a great recipe. I am so sure it will taste as good as it smells.

  43. Delicious

  44. Spinach and soup is a match-made-in-heaven. Thank you so much for this wonderful post and recipe Ali. I’ve included it in a mini spinach recipe roundup.

  45. Love this recipe we have been making this several times a month for sometime now but I did make some changes over the course to tailor it to our paletes.

    We add a diced courgette to the mix, only one garlic, more herbs plus dried basil, we don’t have fire-roasted diced tomatoes (they do sound great BTW :D ) anywhere around here so we swapped out this for canned cherry tomatoes and also added a 500 grams of passata to rich it up a bit.

    Thanks for posting this it has become a house hold fav.

  46. Spinach is hard on the kidneys so I substituted it with arugula. I also added two cooked chicken breasts. So colorful and delicious.

    • Thank you…I have a bunch of arugula that I don’t know what to do with it! Will try doing some of that with this

  47. This was delicious! We loved the Parmesan cheese with it! I added more onions and carrots than suggested to make the soup less brothy and it was so good!

  48. This was awesome and the flavor was the bomb.

  49. I am anxious to try this. Can you make ahead and freeze?

  50. This soup sounds delicious. Do you think it could be adjusted to be made in an Insta Pot? I can’t wait to make this. Thank you.