Herb-Loaded Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
A hearty yet light herb-loaded lemon chicken orzo soup that is sure warm you right up! This soup is cozy and comforting and perfect, especially if you’re feeling under the weather!
Warm. Hearty. Cozy.
All the things I want to hear when I think about a big bowl of soup: trust me, today’s lemon chicken orzo soup checks all those boxes. This soup is speckled with hearty veggies, like carrots, onions, celery, and baby spinach. But what I think really makes it is the broth that we flavored with chopped garlic and fresh herbs. There are tender chunks of shredded chicken and orzo pasta that tie the whole thing together. Great for an all-in-one boxed lunch and the ideal remedy if you’ve got a man down at home!
Lemon chicken orzo soup isn’t something that’s brand new. In fact, I’ve even made a different version of it when I first started the blog. I’ll spare you the sad pictures, but it’s been something I’ve always wanted to remake and really amp up the flavors. Today’s version certainly delivers with tons of fresh herbs that lend so much flavor to the stock. Even if you’re using store-bought stock, by the time that you get done, no one will be able to tell!
I’m always big on soup, whether it’s in the winter or the summer. I love having a pot of soup in the fridge for quick lunches. And the fact that I was down with the worst winter flu meant at the end of last month meant that I had plenty of time to test chicken soup recipes for us, after I got my tastebuds back, of course.
Have you made my chicken corn soup yet? It is one of my go-to soup recipes when I’m feeling under the weather. There’s also a flu-fighting chicken noodle soup that I make with turmeric if the cold/flu is a little more severe. It’s the perfect recipe to have in your bag of tricks, it will clear all of it right up! There’s also my beef and barley soup that I’ve had a ton of you make and message me about. The secret ingredient tomato basil soup is perfect for those that are looking for a meatless option (it’s also creamless!). And my latest obsession? Tortellini. I’ve got a tortellini minestrone soup and a roasted veggie creamy tortellini soup to prove it! I’ve had a ton of you guys make my lastest soups and send me pictures on Instagram, and I absolutely love seeing you recreate my recipes!
What herbs do we use in this lemon chicken orzo soup?
- fresh rosemary
- bay leaf
What other ingredients do you need to make this chicken orzo soup?
- olive oil
- mirepoix (equal parts chopped onions, carrots, and celery)
- garlic (of course!)
- bouquet garni
- chicken stock
- parmesan rind, optional
- cooked shredded chicken
- baby spinach
- lemon zest + lemon juice
What is a bouquet garni?
A bouquet garni is basically a bouquet of fresh herbs. The mix of herbs tied together with culinary string is often used when poaching fish or chicken, making stocks, or cooking beans, amongst other things. The word literally translated from French means ‘garnished bouquet.’ Essentially, you tie the herbs together, so it’s easy to fish them out later. It also keeps the herbs together so that they don’t fall into the stock.
If you have a medium-mesh spice ball, you could also use that in place of making a bouquet garni!
Why do you add a parmesan rind to homemade soups?
The parmesan rind gives this soup a nice umami flavor. It is an optional ingredient but we prefer this lemon chicken orzo soup with it than without it. If you’re wondering where you can find parmesan rind, it’s actually on the back of a block of parmesan. It feels waxy and slightly different from the cheese portion. If you don’t have or don’t want to buy parmesan, you could always ask your cheesemonger at the store if they have any parmesan rinds to sell! Sometimes, they’ll even just give it to you, although I find it is a bit rare nowadays. People now know the magic of a parm rind!
If I want to make this orzo soup quicker, can I use shredded rotisserie chicken?
Yes, absolutely! My philosophy is simple, flavorful recipes! And there’s really no harm in taking a little help from the store!
How to make an herb-loaded lemon chicken orzo soup:
- Saute the aromatics – the onions, celery, and carrots in a glug on olive oil. Then add the garlic and the bouquet garni and let it cook for just a quick 30 seconds. This will really bring out the flavors and infuse that herby goodness into the oil, which will then carry all those flavors throughout the soup.
- Pour in the chicken stock and allow for it to heat through on medium heat. You want to allow for it to take its time when it’s coming to simmer as this allows more of that herb flavor to release.
- When the stock starts to boil, add the orzo and allow it to cook as directed on your package. Usually, it takes anywhere from 7-9 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken, baby spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Taste and adjust with additional salt if the soup needs it.
It’s really that easy! If you’re in a big hurry and need to get this lemon chicken orzo soup on the table fast, you could just purchase prechopped mirepoix, they usually sell it in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. You could also the orzo with mini shells or bow ties if you’re all out of the orzo.
Totally forgiving, 30 minutes to make, and so comforting! That’s what I like to hear!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ¾ cups mirepoix (equal parts chopped onions, carrots, celery)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 sprigs EACH: fresh thyme AND fresh parsley (see notes)
- 1 sprig EACH: fresh oregano, tarragon, AND fresh rosemary (see notes)
- 1 bay leaf (see notes)
- parmesan rind, optional
- 7 cups low sodium chicken stock
- ¾ cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 ½ cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- ¼ cup lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
- SAUTE: Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix and sauté the veggies for 4-5 minutes or until the veggies soften a bit. Add the garlic and the bouquet garni during the last 30 seconds and stir until fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock and add the parmesan rind.
- BOIL: Allow the soup to reach a boil on medium heat.
- PASTA: Then, add the pasta, and kick the heat up to medium-high and allow for it to cook according to package directions. My pasta box suggested 7-8 minutes total. Test the pasta for doneness, then add shredded chicken, baby spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the soup. Remove the bouquet garni (or spice ball.) Taste for seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.