Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup

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This simple Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup is made with a cozy lemony-rosemary broth and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes.

Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup

Anyone else craving simple, healthy(ish), ultra-cozy soups on repeat right about now?

Well here’s a good one to add to your repertoire. ♡

We often turn to classic white bean and kale soup here in our house when we’re craving a quick bowl of soup, made with whatever extra ingredients happen to be hanging out in the crisper drawer. But this particular version made with chewy al dente orzo pasta, a slightly-spicy lemon rosemary broth, with lots of fresh Parmesan sprinkled on top has been totally hitting the spot this winter.

It’s an absolute breeze to make and comes together from start to finish in just 30 minutes or so. It’s naturally vegetarian and also vegan (if you nix the Parmesan), and chock-full of fresh kale and lots of protein. It’s completely customizable with whatever fresh herbs, beans, or pasta shapes that you happen to have on hand. And it is just the type of warm and comforting meal that I find myself craving this time of year.

Feel free to add in some extra protein (bacon, chicken, or sausage would be delicious) if you’d like. And if you happen to have some good crusty bread on hand, I highly recommend using it to mop up that delicious broth. But otherwise, this is a satisfying vegetarian soup recipe all on its own that I think you’re going to love.

So grab some kale and let’s make some soup together, friends!

Curly Kale

Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup Ingredients:

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make this orzo soup:

  • Veggies: I kept things simple with a base of onion, celery and garlic, sautéed in olive oil.
  • Crushed red chili flakes: We will also sauté a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes in with the veggies, to bring out their best flavor. This adds some subtle heat and really good flavor to the soup, which I really recommend. But if you are averse to heat, you can reduce the amount of crushed red chili flakes by half.
  • Veggie stock: I recommend using some good-quality vegetable stock, since the ingredient list here is so minimal. Or if you are not concerned with making this soup vegetarian, you can sub in good-quality chicken stock instead.
  • White beans: Cannelini or Great Northern beans would be delicious here, or really, any type of beans you love best.
  • Herbs: I added in a few bay leaves and lots of fresh rosemary, which was delicious. But feel free to use any other fresh herbs that you love, to taste, such as tarragon, thyme, sage, oregano or basil.
  • Orzo: I love the texture of orzo in this soup, but feel free to use any other pasta shape that you love best. Or if you prefer to make the soup gluten-free, you could use gluten-free orzo or rice.
  • Kale: The kale really wilts down once you add it to this soup, so we’re going to add in a ton! Curly or lacinato kale will both work great here. Or if kale isn’t your thing, you’re welcome to use baby spinach or collards here instead.
  • Lemon: We will finish off the soup with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I used the juice of a medium lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons), but feel free to use more or less, to taste.
  • Parmesan: Finally, if you aren’t making this soup vegan, I highly recommend serving it up with a generous sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese on top. So delicious!

Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup in Stockpot

Possible Recipe Variations:

As I mentioned above, this soup recipe is incredibly flexible. So please feel free to tweak it however you prefer! For example, you could…

  • Make it gluten-free: Use gf orzo (or any other pasta shape), rice or quinoa in place of semolina orzo.
  • Make it creamy: To make the broth more creamy, you could either add in some heavy cream. Or to thicken the broth and also make it more creamy, simply purée one of the cans of beans along with 1 cup of the veggie stock until smooth, then add it to the soup.
  • Add a protein: Bacon, chicken, or Italian sausage would all be delicious options if you would like to add some meat to this soup.
  • Add extra veggies: Feel free to toss in any other soup-friendly veggies (such as carrots, leeks, zucchini, potatoes, green beans, artichoke hearts) that sound good.
  • Add tomatoes: You could also add in a can of diced tomatoes to the broth.
  • Add pepperoncini: I also love adding in some sliced pepperoncini peppers to give this soup some subtle extra heat and tang.
  • Use different greens, beans, pasta or herbs: Of course, the main ingredients here are all honestly quite flexible too. So feel free to use whatever greens, beans, pasta shapes (or rice) or fresh herbs that you have on hand.

Kale and White Bean Soup in Ladle

More Favorite Vegetarian Soup Recipes:

Looking for more cozy vegetarian soup recipe inspiration? Here are a few of my faves here on Gimme Some Oven…

Kale and Orzo Soup in Bowls

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Spicy Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x

Description

This simple Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup is made with a cozy lemony-rosemary broth and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 small bunch of fresh kale, roughly chopped (with tough stalks discarded)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sauté veggies: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Simmer. Add veggie stock, beans, bay leaves, rosemary, orzo, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente.  (Be sure to stir the soup occasionally so that the orzo does not clump on the bottom.)  Stir in the kale until combined.
  3. Season. Add in about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir to combine.  Then give the soup a taste and season with salt, black pepper, and/or more lemon juice as needed.
  4. Serve. Serve warm topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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Recipe rating

8 comments on “Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup”

  1. Ooh, this looks so yummy! Have you ever frozen this soup? I usually freeze some portions of soup for later but have heard that it doesn’t work that well with pasta or rice in the soup…but maybe that’s wrong! I’m excited to try it either way, I wondered if you (or maybe other commenters) have had luck with freezing it.

  2. Very Nice job Ali ! have been eating whit bean and Swiss chard. for 70 years. this is a nice twist ” Good Eating ” Joseph Associate of Mr. James Beard. 1970s

  3. This was delicious! It came together in very little time. Per your suggestion, I added some homemade chicken meatballs I had in the freezer. I will definitely make this again.

  4. Fabulous recipe! Made it today and think I consumed almost half of it. Shared some with my neighbor, she loved it, and then shared the recipe. Will most definitely make it again and again. Thanks Ali.

  5. This soup is absolutely delicious! I used homemade vegetable broth and greens instead of kale. I also put a heaping spoonful of parmesan cheese on top. Best vegetarian soup EVER! Thank you so much Ali! Your recipes are the best!

  6. This was great! Comforting yet nourishing, and it hit the spot after a long day. Loved the flavor of the broth. Yum!

  7. This soup was fantastic – definitely a keeper. Clean and flavorful. And the Rosemary is a must. Next time I’ll add a Parmesan rind from the beginning so the umami flavor is in the north. And I recommend having extra broth around to cut the low drivers as the soup thickens overnight. Thanks for the recipe!