If you’re a fan of chicken noodle soup, you’re going to love this lemon chicken orzo soup. Filled with orzo pasta, fresh herbs, zesty lemon, and tender chicken, this soup is an elevated version of a classic noodle recipe, while being easy to make and packed full of protein too.
While there are a lot of things to love about this soup – including the fact that it’s light, bright, and full of flavor – my favorite part is that it’s high in protein, which makes it a hearty and filling meal. Soups are typically full of veggies, fiber, and micronutrients, however, most are not particularly filling as they lack the satiating nature that protein provides to a dish.
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So, if you love a good soup and want to make one that will serve as a complete and balanced meal with protein, carbs, fiber, and healthy fats, this lemon chicken orzo soup is for you!
Ingredients for Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this orzo soup:
- Chicken: The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, however, you can use chicken thighs if you prefer. Or skip cooking the chicken and use 4 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken instead.
- Orzo: The star of this orzo soup. If you can’t find orzo pasta, another pastina (little pasta), such as acini di pepe, ditalini, or stelline pasta, will also work.
- Lemon: A bit of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to add a punch of flavor.
- Onion, Carrot, and Celery: A classic mirepoix mix to create the base of the soup.
- Garlic: To add some depth and fragrance.
- Herbs: A mixture of oregano, parsley, basil, and dill to season and flavor the soup. The recipe calls for dried herbs, but you can use fresh ones if you prefer. Just be sure to triple the amount if using fresh and only add them at the end of the cooking process.
- Spinach: To add some leafy greens and color.
- Chicken Broth: Chicken broth works best but vegetable broth will also work.
In addition to the above, you’ll also need some olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
To Make it Gluten-Free: Swap the orzo for short-cut gluten-free pasta or rice, and ensure the broth is gluten-free.
To Make it Dairy-Free: No adaptations are needed, this soup is dairy-free.
How to Make Chicken Orzo Soup
This soup is incredibly easy to make and can be done in roughly 30 minutes, here’s a brief overview of what you’ll do:
- Saute the veggies. Begin by sauteeing the onion, carrots, and celery in olive oil until tender.
- Add the herbs. Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook until fragrant.
- Add the broth and chicken. Pour in the chicken broth, submerge the raw chicken breasts in the broth, and allow to cook.
- Add the orzo. Pour the dry orzo pasta into the pot.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pot, place it on a cutting board, shred it into pieces, and then return it to the soup.
- Add lemon and spinach. Add the spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and cook for a final few minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
You can find the full and detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
Although soup is not always a balanced meal, this particular recipe is. The combination of chicken, orzo, and vegetables, creates a balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats and, therefore, it can be enjoyed on its own as a complete meal.
What To Serve with Orzo Soup
If you want to keep things simple, serve with soup with a big piece of crusty bread and butter (my personal favorite side to this soup), or along with a spread of bread, cheese, cured meats, and vegetables, and/or a simple green salad for a classic soup and salad combo.
A typical orzo soup is made of orzo pasta, onion, carrots, celery, and broth. Chicken, herbs, garlic, and additional vegetables can also be added.
Orzo is a form of pasta and, therefore, has a similar taste and texture to any other pasta soup. This lemon chicken orzo soup tastes similar to a classic chicken noodle soup, with a bit of lemon flavor.
Lemon adds brightness to a soup by balancing out the otherwise salty, rich, and savory flavors. Adding lemon juice is a great way to fix a bland or tasteless soup.
This lemon chicken orzo soup contains 31 grams of carbs per serving. You can find all of the nutrition facts in the recipe card below.
Storage + Reheating
To Refrigerate: Allow the soup to cool completely, then place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
To Freeze: Place the cooled soup in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Warm thawed soup in a saucepan or pot on the stovetop of medium heat for 5-10 minutes until warm or in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
More Chicken Soup Recipes:Print
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
This lemon chicken orzo soup is light, bright, and full of flavor. It works well for lunch or dinner and keeps well in the freezer so it makes a great meal prep idea too.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Greek
- 2 chicken breasts, raw
- 1 cup orzo, raw
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute until tender and fragrant.
- Add the dried oregano, parsley, basil, dill, and salt, stir to coat the vegetable mixture, and heat for 30 seconds.
- Pour in chicken broth, stirring to combine with the vegetables, then add raw chicken breasts to the pot, gently submerging them in broth.
- Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the orzo to the pot, giving it a good stir to ensure it’s well incorporated, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place them on a cutting board, while continuing to cook the soup on a simmer. Using two forks, shred the chicken breast into bite-size pieces.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot, along with the chopped spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and give everything a good stir. Cook the soup on a low simmer for a final 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Once cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed. At this point, you can also add a bit more broth or water if you find the soup too thick, adjust it to your liking.
- The soup can be served immediately or cooled in stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 327 calories
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Fat: 11 grams
- Carbohydrates: 31 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 26 grams