One pot Lemon Chicken, Spinach and Orzo Soup is fresh, filling and wonderful for an easy weeknight dinner that’s perfect for a chilly night!
January is definitely soup month here in Colorado. We haven’t had much snow…yet, but the nights and mornings have sure been cold. I seem to be making soup once a week these days. I absolutely love this Italian Lentil and Vegetable Soup when I’m craving something vegetarian. Then there’s this Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup when I want some Southwest flavors.
Today I’m sharing the recipe for Lemon Chicken, Spinach and Orzo Soup. It’s hearty, healthy and despite being soup, is very fresh in flavor thanks to the lemon and dill. The soup is all made in one pot and takes less than 30 minutes to cook. With the amount of flavor in this soup, you’d think that it had cooked much longer than that.
What Do I Need to Make the Soup?
- Chicken breasts or thighs if you prefer
- Yellow onion
- Fresh rosemary, thyme and dill
- Dried oregano, bay leaf and crushed red pepper flakes
- Low sodium chicken broth
Do I Have to Use Fresh Herbs?
Using fresh herbs isn’t a requirement, but I highly recommend it. The flavor of fresh is far superior to that of dried herbs. I especially feel this way about thyme. I actually can’t stand the taste of dried thyme, but love fresh. If you choose to use dried herbs you’ll want to use less than what the recipe calls for. I would recommend about half of the amount.
I mentioned above that this soup is made in one pot. You’ll start by browning the chicken. You don’t want to cook it completely, just get some color on it. The chicken goes onto a plate while you sauté the vegetables, herbs and spices. Next, add in the chicken broth and the uncooked orzo. Give it a stir and the bring it to a boil.
Once the soup boils, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken back in along with the spinach and cook until the orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about another 5 minutes. The final step is to stir in the lemon zest and squeeze in fresh lemon juice. This is no time for that garbage in the bottle.
Can the Soup be Frozen?
Yes, but without the orzo. If you try to freeze the soup with the cooked orzo added in, it will be mushy and fall apart. Cook the orzo separately and only add it in to what you plan to eat.
More Chicken Soup Recipes
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until lightly browned, but don't cook all the way through, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pot along with the onion, carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, 3-4 minutes and then add in the garlic. Sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add the broth to the pot, stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add in the orzo and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and then add in the spinach, chicken and dill. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Nutritional info based on 6 servings.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 37g