Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Jacqueline Rafidi
Lemon chicken orzo soup is colorful, flavorful and packs a punch with the herbs and lemon!
This lemon chicken orzo soup has a light broth, tons of veggies and brightness from lemon zest and juice. This soup has a Greek flavor profile, but it’s not to be confused with avgolemono which is a creamier soup and typically uses rice instead of orzo.
Being Palestinian, we tend to add lemon juice to tons of things, from malfoof (stuffed cabbage), molokhia (jute mallow stew), and other soups and salads, this lemon chicken orzo soup is not too far off from the flavors I’m used to.
This recipe uses tons of pantry and kitchen staples and it’s perfect for a cozy weeknight meal. To expedite the process, chop up the veggies ahead of time, just put it all together when you’re ready to cook!
What you need to make lemon chicken orzo soup
Veggies of choice: Onions, carrots and celery add tons of color and flavor here. Plus I just love using them in most of my soups. Tomatoes and frozen peas a simple addition that I thought most of you may already have on hand! The tomatoes pretty much melt into the soup and add another dimension of flavor that I love.
Greens, garlic and herbs: Tuscan kale was what I had on hand when testing this recipe and I thought it worked really well. But if you have spinach, chop that up and toss it in at the end with the herbs and lemon – it wilts almost immediately just from the heat of the pot. Garlic is a must, I use 3 or 4 cloves here. Parsley and dill really add a nice brightness that pairs well with the lemony flavor.
Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts. Since they’re being boiled here, they won’t dry out. If you have boneless skinless thighs, those work just as well – just trim off the majority of the fat beforehand. If your chicken has skin and bones intact, remove the skin, and let the chicken boil for 45 minutes to an hour to ensure it’s fully cooked through. The broth will be extra flavorful.
Chicken broth: Low sodium or what I’ve been preferring lately is no salt added chicken broth! I love being able to control the amount of salt in this lemon chicken orzo soup and I think that’s what keeps it nice and light.
Lemon and Orzo: The stars of the show here. The lemon zest and juice brighten up this pot so beautiful and completely transform the flavor. The orzo gives each bite the extra little bit of texture it needs and doesn’t get overly soft like rice would here.
What to make with this soup
More soup recipes to love!
When you make this lemon chicken orzo soup, comment down below and rate this recipe to let me know your thoughts! Also share a picture or tag me on Instagram @thebitewithjackie, I love seeing your remakes!
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tomato diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups low sodium or no salt chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1 cup frozen petite peas
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill finely chopped
- Zest and juice from 1 – 2 lemons I usually use around 1 ½
- Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat. Add in the onions, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt and pepper and let these cook down for a couple minutes. Season the veggies with the turmeric, oregano and nutmeg, then add in the garlic and tomatoes. Give everything a toss, season with another pinch of salt and pepper and let it cook down for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add in the chicken breast and coat it with the seasonings in the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and water and stir from the bottom to make sure nothing sticks. Bring this to a boil then lower the heat down to a simmer and halfway cover the pot for 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
- Use tongs to remove the chicken to a plate. Add in the orzo pasta, Tuscan kale and frozen peas and stir from the bottom to be sure the orzo doesn’t stick. Use 2 forks to shred up the chicken into large chunks and add it right back to the pot. Once the orzo if fully cooked through and al dente, taste for seasonings, add more liquid (water or broth) to your liking.
- Turn off the heat, add in the chopped parsley and dill, lemon zest and juice. Stir everything up and serve. Enjoy!