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Whenever it’s cold outside, I like having a big pot of soup cooking on my stove.
It’s my remedy for the cold and when I’m feeling under the weather.
Today, I’m making lemon orzo soup, a recipe inspired by the combination of lemon and orzo in the famous Greek-style soup, avgolemono (which literally means “egg-lemon sauce”).
I didn’t want to include eggs, which are typically used in the Greek version, and opted for a lighter, egg-free variation instead. This version is as comforting as it is easy to prepare.
Not only can you make it in just 40 minutes, this recipe provides generous portions, and can also be doubled or tripled as needed.
If you’ve never cooked with orzo before, don’t worry. Orzo is simply rice-shaped pasta, and can be cooked in the same way as normal pasta.
I wanted to make a vegetarian soup that’s filled with plenty of vegetables, so I’ve used garlic, onions, carrots, and celery.
Last but not least, I’ve added lemon juice to make it tangy and refreshing.
Also, if you like a more protein-rich soup, you can add chunks of chicken or minced beef or pork while the orzo is still cooking.
I also recommend using homemade stock because the difference between fresh stock and store-bought is huge. Simply put, using homemade stock will drastically improve how the soup tastes.
Want to make your own vegetable stock from scratch? Find out how!
Ready to make a big pot of soup? Let’s head straight to the recipe!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 –Prepare Your Mise en Place
Get your ingredients ready.
Mince the garlic, and dice the onion, carrots, and celery.
Measure out the dried thyme, vegetable stock, bay leaves, orzo pasta, rosemary, and lemon juice.
Step 2 – Sauté the Vegetables
Heat up the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
Make sure to stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep the vegetables from burning. This will take about 5 minutes.
Add the dried thyme and stir until it becomes fragrant.
Step 3 – Add Stock and Bring to a Boil
Pour the vegetable stock into the pot and add the bay leaves.
Mix well with a wooden spoon and bring it to a boil.
Step 4 – Cook the Pasta
Add the uncooked pasta and rosemary, stir well, and let the orzo cook until it is tender.
This will take about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the desired consistency.
If you want to add some protein to your soup, now’s the time to do it. Simply add half a pound of ground chicken, pork, or beef when the orzo is halfway cooked. Stir well to make sure it is cooked completely.
Step 5 – Add the Lemon Juice and Season
Remove the pot from the heat, then pour in the lemon juice and mix well. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Garnish and Serve!
All that’s left to do is to ladle the soup into bowls, then garnish each with fresh parsley and serve!
This soup is great for the cold weather, and this is an easy dish to prepare in large quantities to serve a hungry crowd. So is our equally Mediterranean and delicious Italian gnocchi soup!
Simply double or triple the recipe as needed (just note that you’ll need a bigger pot if you do so!)
How else do you like to cook orzo? Let us know in the comments below!
Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Felicia Lim
Felicia Lim is a Singaporean who moved to Argentina for love. Based in Buenos Aires, also known as “the Paris of South America,” she fills her days with freelance writing, recipe development, and food photography – three passions that give her endless joy. When she isn’t typing away at her computer, cooking in the kitchen, or shooting in her balcony-studio, you can probably find her curled up on the couch, lost in the pages of a good book.