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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

532 comments on “Italian Orzo Spinach Soup”

  1. This is an amazingly simple yet wonderful soup!! I made this to take for lunch this week along with a salad. I just ate a bowl with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and added some creole seasoning for a little extra kick and it is so delightful!! Will add some chicken to the bowls for the carnivores but I love it as is!!

  2. This is a delicious soup. Everyone to whom I’ve served it loves it. I substitute leek for the onion (just prefer it, especially in soup). I prefer to use reduced salt canned tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano. Also have added cut up rotisserie chicken and cut up turkey from tenderloins (need to put in a little earlier if using raw meat).

  3. Super delish! Just removed the parmesan cheese to make it vegan!

  4. I love soup and this one is delicious! Love the orzo and fresh veggies! I would make it with 3/4 to 1 cup of orzo next time. It was perfect when we ate it, but as it cooled, the orzo absorbed most of the broth. Great recipe!

  5. This dish is packed with flavor!!! I shared your recipe on my Facebook page Veggielicious and it’s a huge hit! I’m vegan so I used unsalted veggie stock and it was so delicious and easy to make I will surely be making it again! Already two of my colleagues went out to buy the ingredients for it! Thanks so much!

  6. This soup is awesome! I didn’t have orzo, so I subbed small shells. Obviously pretty different, but I added a little more broth to help balance. I didn’t think that it was seasoned quite enough, so I adjusted that too. We also like slightly heartier soups, so I added ground seasoned chicken. Also, totally necessary with fresh grated parmesan and red pepper flakes as recommended!

  7. Could be my all time favorite. Used only 3/4 cup Orzo and added 1 lb ground pork and a small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

    • Hi has anyone Frozen their soup to serve at a later date? I’m going to retreat and would love to bring this made in advance Frozen.

  8. excellent added basil. next time may add chicken or ground sausage.
    did not cook orzo with veggies, cooked orzo in broth then added to each bowl this way all the broth in soup is not absorbed by orzo.

  9. Nice but definitely sauté the celery and carrots longer. My vegetables came out chewy following these directions….

  10. Yum! My new go-to vegetable soup! So good, and Italian, too! Love it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. This was easy to put together and the flavors were scrumptious. The only thing I did was to chop the spinach due to picky eaters. Thank you Ali!

  12. Excellent!

  13. I added shiitake mushrooms and it worked really well.

  14. Love this recipe though I changed a few things. Like others, cooked the celery and carrots a little longer. I also added some cayenne pepper to my seasonings (maybe 1/8th tsp). I also added about 1/3 cup of half and half to give it some creaminess. And went with less orzo (1 cup) as others did as well. I thought this made the recipe delightful! To note my husband is a self-proclaimed “meatatarian” and really doesn’t like vegetables and he said he would eat this again! In the end, really great savory taste while still being light and full of dynamic flavors from the veggies. HIGHLY recommend this recipe.

  15. This soup turned out fabulous! There was great flavor and it was very filling. I used slightly less Orzo because that is all I had and it was MORE than enough. If you want to reduce the calories I would suggest less orzo and more broth. I will definitely make this soup again!

    • Making it again in a few minutes. The family loves it. I do just substitute Italian seasoning for all the herbs. Sometimes I add a little frozen corn. And I serve it with cheesy garlic bread. But it is a nice, easy recipe abd a way to get veggies in.

  16. I followed other’s suggestions and it was delicious!
    * Double the spices
    * Increased chicken broth to 7 cups
    * Reduced orzo to 1c
    * Added juice of 1/2 SMALL lemon for brightness
    * Added sausage

    Next day, the orzo definitely absorbed more moisture, but still a soup.

  17. Delicious! Family loved it. Great on a cold winter snowy night.

  18. Loved this soup! I’m not very good in the kitchen, but this was easy! I made it with extra veggies and it’s tasty! Next time I’m gonna add sausage. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. My favorite.. so delicious!

  20. This soup is a staple at our house. So easy and quick to make and unbelievably delicious.

  21. This is a wonderful soup!!!!

  22. This has been a fave of my family’s. I usually do add some italian sausage.

  23. Made this tonight! So yummy! Didn’t have garlic, so I added garlic powder instead. I also added cannelloni beans to the soup- superb!

  24. I made this soup yesterday, and it was delicious. I added a little cut up chicken I had in the refrigerator and parmesan cheese. My husband loved the soup so it will definitely be a regularly made soup in our home.

  25. I added sausage, did not use fire tomatoes- instead I used diced tomatoes with green chilies. Very good!!!

  26. This soup was absolutely delicious! I added chicken to mine, but did not have spinach on hand, and still turned out great! One thing I have to remember is to cook my orzo separate and then add it to my bowl of soup once I’m ready to eat because orzo does……sop up a lot of your liquid!! Great recipe and a definite keeper, thank you!

  27. One of my favorite soups. We usually don’t have fire roasted tomatoes but regular petite diced potatoes work just fine.

  28. I was looking for a nutritious, comforting meal that’s quick and easy. This is the one! I used kale instead of spinach..still delicious, and everyone ate it :)

  29. This recipe is delicious. I have made our several times now and each time the orzo keeps expanding in the soup until there is little liquid/broth left! The first bowlful is perfect, but within minutes the soup consistency changes and it is a bummer!

  30. Could u use frozen spinach instead fresh? Going to try this looks ? delicious

  31. I haven’t made it yet but, I want to put more protein in it. What would you recommend beans or sausage?

  32. Excellent recipe. I made it for a vegetarian. Very flavorful. I may add a little crumbled browned sausage
    for non-vegetarians next time. But honestly, the original recipe, made exactly as directed, was full of flavor and fine without adding any meat. Shredded parmesan is a great topping. Easy and delicious! I was happy to find the DeLallo whole wheat organic orzo at Shaw’s Supermarket.

  33. This was so easy & budget friendly! I didn’t make any adjustments & it turned out perfect. Thank you for this recipe. We will definitely make this again!

  34. We had this tonight. Simple, healthy, and tasty. It was easy to make vegetarian.

  35. One of the best recipes I have found! Have made it many times and absolutely love it! Plus it is super simple to make. I add some extra orzo and spinach to make it thicker. It’s a keeper for sure!

  36. Best soup I’ve eaten in a long time.

  37. Truly delightful! I didn’t have orzo so used another pasta I had in the pantry. Topped with freshly grated Parmesan and crushed red pepper. This will become a staple for me!

  38. I loved soup. I made the following adjustments from reviews and my own experience.
    I did sauté all vegetables longer, than added garlic to sauté briefly. I added 1 extra cup off broth and 1 teaspoon of chicken better than bouillon and doubled seasonings subbing marjoram for rosemary. I added a Parmesan rind during the cooking process and sprinkled extra parm on top. There are only 2 of us and soup makes a generous amount. Looking forward to the leftovers.

  39. Can I make this without the tomatoes? What would you recommend?

  40. I’m not a great cook but this recipe is a full-blast winner. It’s beautiful and just so tasty, easy to make, with easy on the budget ingredients. LOVE this soup and will make again and again. Thanks for this easy soup !

  41. I don’t consider myself a great cook but when I found this recipe I thought I must try it! Bingo!! I love all the fresh vegetables in it and the soup is so easy to make. You just can’t goof up! So beautiful when presented. My friends have actually asked me for the recipe which is highly unusual!!! This recipe is a keeper.

  42. good soup to make but u need to cook veggies for longer and pasta for a little shorter amount of time

  43. I LOVE this soup. The only thing i do is add a sliced smoked sausage link, just to make it feel more like a meal. This is one of my favorite soups to make, its so easy.

  44. This recipe looks fabulous and will definitely be making it. What is the calorie count for one cup of the soup?
    Thanks,
    Kim

  45. Ali, thank you so much for this recipe. It is absolutely outstanding! Will be making regularly from now on. ??

  46. This is one of our favorite soups and has been for a long time. I stay mostly true to the recipe but occasionally I will try something different. This last time I made it, I used chopped kale instead of spinach and used ditalini instead of orzo. It was outstanding. Going forward, I will probably always use ditalini instead of orzo. It seems to be a better fit for the soup. Either kale or spinach work well.

    • I followed the recipe exactly, it has a nice flavour but the pasta soaked up all of the broth. So it wasn’t really soup by the time I got to eat it.

  47. One of our favorites. So simple, nutritious and delicious. Thank you.

  48. As a Mom, I get so weary trying think up a meal. Our son found this online and we made it today! WOO HOO! I used just a cup of orzo, extra cup of broth and added sausage and used chard instead of spinach. Thanks so much for this great recipe!!! I need all the help I can get!

  49. This was so easy, delicious, and satisfying!

  50. Hi!

    Is there any way to transfer this to a crock pot recipe? I have made this soup several times and LOVE it, but I’m camping and need something for a crock pot. Any tips?