Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

– 8 ounces orzo pasta – 1 teaspoon olive oil – 3 medium carrots, chopped, or more to taste – 3 ribs celery, chopped – 1 medium onion, chopped – 2 cloves garlic, minced – ½ teaspoon dried thyme – ½ teaspoon dried oregano – salt and ground black pepper to taste – 1 bay leaf


– 3 (32 ounce) cartons fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth – ½ cup fresh lemon juice – 1 lemon, zested – 8 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped – 1 (8 ounce) package baby spinach leave – 1 lemon, sliced for garnish (Optional) – ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (Optional)

Bring a big saucepan of lightly salted water to boil. Add orzo and boil. Cook pasta uncovered for 5 minutes until partially cooked but not soft; drain and rinse with cold water until chilled.


Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a big pot on medium. Cook and stir carrots, celery, and onion for 5 minutes until softened and transparent. Cook and stir garlic for 1 minute more until fragrant. 

Sprinkle thyme, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper over mixture and simmer for 30 seconds before adding chicken broth.

Bring broth to boil. Cover the saucepan partially, lower heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes to tenderize vegetables.

Stir orzo, lemon juice, and zest into soup; add chicken. Cook chicken and orzo for 5 minutes until warm. In 2–3 minutes, baby spinach wilts into broth and orzo is tender.

Serve soup in dishes with lemon wedges and Parmesan.

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