Orzo Soup

Orzo Soup Recipe

This soup is known by a few names around here - lil' noodle soup, aspirational noodle soup, and too-lazy-to-wait-for -a-pot-of-rice-to-cook noodle soup. It's made with orzo, a good broth, and whatever I can rummage from my pantry. For those of you unfamiliar with orzo, it is pasta shaped like a chubby grain of rice. It even comes in a whole wheat version, which is what I use. Orzo plays the lead role in this simple soup made with the petite pasta swimming in an egg drop soup style broth that has been boosted with flecks of chard and topped with vibrant, fire-roasted tomatoes. It's finished with an all-important thread of golden olive oil and a flurry of grated cheese. All in all a quick and vibrant bowl of not-too-heavy sustenance.

A couple tips - use a great broth, with just a few ingredients in this recipe, it's key. Before serving be sure to adjust your salt, if the soup tastes flat, add more a pinch or two at a time until all the flavors pop. Vegans, or those not too keen on eggs, no worries - skip them altogether. It's just as good. Different, but still good.

Orzo Soup Recipe

For some added flavor, or to take this soup in another direction, toss the tomatoes with somewhere between a teaspoon + of adobo sauce (from can of chipotles)....more or less depending on how spicy you like your food.

7 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo (or other small pasta i.e. pastina)
2 cups chard or spinach, chopped
1 14-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
good quality extra virgin olive oil
3 egg whites
fine grain sea salt

some grated Parmesan cheese (to finish)

Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until just tender - about ten minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach.

In the meantime, heat the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a splash of extra virgin olive oil in a separate saucepan. Taste, and salt a bit if needed.

Just before serving, Slowly pour the egg whites into the soup, stirring quickly with a whisk. The whites should take on a raggy appearance. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup in individual bowls, with each serving topped with a generous spoonful of tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and dusting of cheese.

Makes 4-6 servings.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
weeknight express

WEEKNIGHT EXPRESS features 10 Vegetarian, Plant-centric Recipes for Feel-Good Food — Fast!

Subscribe to get 32-pages of recipes to view on your tablet, e-book reader or phone.

weeknight expressweeknight express


Sounds spectacular! I saw some orzo at the grocery store yesterday but didn't have an idea in mind. This is perfect!
Do you have a broth that you recommend?


Yum! What a great example of the idea that when you use high quality ingredients, the result is nearly always good. I find I'm getting much better at cooking without recipes by adhering to this simple idea...

On a different note, my *favorite* soup with orzo though is Avgolemono (greek egg & lemon) with orzo -- typically it's made with whipped eggs, a whole log of lemon juice, black pepper, and chicken broth, but I've had success with a rich vegetable stock as well. I usually use 'Better than Bouillon' soup base in recipes calling for stock -- it's rich and not too salty.

Jen (Modern Beet)

Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I should know better, not to look at these recipes when I'm hungry at work!


This soup comes just in the nick of time! My CSA is giving me lots of fabulous spinach and I'm starting to hit a road block when using it. This soup will be just the ticket on cool summer evenings.


One of my favorite ways to prepare orzo is to toast it in a bit of olive oil first, then adding some kind of tomato paste or fire-roasted tomatoes, then finishing it in broth. Seems to bring out a nice nutty flavor. I'll definitely try it this way though - sounds tasty!


Fantastic that this soup pretty much all store cupboard ingredients. I'll have to look out for whole wheat orzo - I can imagine that would become a bit staple in our house for lunches!

Canned fire-roasted tomatoes are a new one on me but they sound delicious. Would love to know if anybody has seen something similar in the UK (maybe under a different name?)


I like this take on Orzo soup; eggs, but no lemon.

GlamSpiritKristen, forget store bought vegetable broth; homemade is dramatically better and very easy to make.


Also a UK question... do you think baby tomatoes roasted in the oven for 20 mins could take the place of the 'fire roasted tomatoes'? The only ready ingredient we've got like this would be sun-blush toms from the deli counter and I never like them as much as I think I'm going to!

Jodycat UK

Oooh, LOVE that "lil noodle soup" - so comforting!


Sounds wonderful.
Is there a way that you could put the pics of the recipes on the "print recipe" page?


I've had a box of orzo that I've been waiting to use on just the right recipe. This may be it!


Gorgeous. And I love that the soup has the colors of the Italian flag, too.


I haven't seen the whole wheat orzo here, but that's something I'd definitely like to try. Great looking soup.


'too-lazy-to-wait-for -a-pot-of-rice-to-cook noodle soup' :)

this looks fabulous!


I don't know if this is a stupid question, but I'm wondering if whole eggs can be used instead of whites. I hate wasting the yolks and if I separate them, I'll only end up cooking them and eating them myself so that I don't throw them away and that's not so great either. I've never made an egg drop type soup so I'm not really sure what works and what doesn't.


This looks delicious! I love orzo soup and I LOVE fire-roasted tomatoes.


Ok, I just saw this and then went and made it immediately. How did you know I was in need of a healthy and light lunch? Amazing. I used frozen spinach and israeli couscous (it was what I had) and it turned out GREAT!


Very nice. This looks like a good option to keep on hand for those lazy summer nights when I feel more like walking in the park than minding a pot in the kitchen... Thanks!


This sounds really good! Personally, I don't like spinach, but it still sounds good.

Krista on the Hill

Recipe sounds great but, a flurry of what kind of cheese? I am great at following recipes but not so great at creating ingredients to compliment others (unless it is garlic and grated Italian cheeses). What do you recommend?


This looks like a nice and light soup that I would enjoy and I might have some orzo hanging out in the pantry. I made the "heavenly" pie over the weekend and it came out awesome. i had everyone guessing at the picnic what the mystery ingredient was.

The Spotted Apron

I used to use whole wheat orzo for me (& my cats love it too!), but Whole Foods no longer carries it and I have been having trouble finding it now. Any suggestions?



I second the comment about puting the pic on the "print page", or having 2 options -- "Print Recipe" or "Print Recipe with Photo" . When I print out the recipes with just text, it doesn't do you justice!


oh my, I love orzo, but I usually only make pilaf with it.This soup looks really good.


It sounds very good. I just have some orzo there. I really like the coupling with roasted tomatoes, it sounds really tasty. I'll definitely try it!


Hi Heidi,
This looks fabulous as always but I really don't care for orzo or any other small pasta. Do you think this would work with barley or farro?

HS: HI Sophie, the short answer is absolutely. I would pre cook the barley or farro on its own and then add it to the broth.


Hi! looks great (like all your recipes!), but i do have a question...
You mean orzo like barley (that is the translation of it from italian), or the small pasta shaped like barley or rice, that is actually neither, just regular pasta with that shape...?

Thanks! and thank you also for the great meal ideas I get from your website!!

HS: Hi Barbara -Here in the U.S. they label the small pasta as orzo. That's what I used here in this recipe.


wow, that looks really tasty!


I made this last night, but made a few changes... I cooked a pound of ground Italian turkey meat and added it to the soup. My hubby needs meat:) It extended the recipe & the fire-roasted tomatoes were great!! I also thinned the soup a tad with H20 because it was just a tad thick... Thanks, Heidi!

Ashley Olsen

Heidi, where do you find your whole wheat orzo? Even my Whole Foods doesn't carry it. Is there a good online source that you use?


That little bit of olive oil really makes it for me :)


This was great! Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe. I too run out of ideas with big bags of spinach from our farm delivery. I also added fresh green beans. My toddler loved it, sans the chipotle... and my husband and I loved it with! And... this is goofy, but I'd never added tomatoes, without all the juice and love the effect of draining them, rinsing them and having the fleck and garnish the soup rather than overpower.

Cynthia (View from the Kitchen)

Heidi, this looks lovely. Regarding too-lazy-to-wait-for -a-pot-of-rice-to-cook recipe : have you ever tried 'beaten rice' (called 'poha' in some Indian languages) ? All it needs is a soak in water for two or so minutes (maybe less). If you ever use your creativity to do something wonderful with it I'll be excited to know. I have linked to one of the traditional uses of it.


Heidi, this looks lovely. Regarding too-lazy-to-wait-for -a-pot-of-rice-to-cook recipe : have you ever tried 'beaten rice' (called 'poha' in some Indian languages) ? All it needs is a soak in water for two or so minutes (maybe less). If you ever use your creativity to do something wonderful with it I'll be excited to know. I have linked to one of the traditional uses of it.


Sounds good. Coincidentally enough I just bought a bag of orzo thinking it would be easy for my little guy to eat and was planning on trying some home-made soups for him.


Whole wheat orzo is availabe at Rainbow Grocery in SF. It is in one of the small aisle bins near the bags of farro.

I made this tonight with a bunch of chard that was nearing the compost bin. Wasn't keen on it before I added a big heap of parmesan and, then, wow, it was yummy.


Outstanding! Tried this last night and I was blown away. So simple, yet so tasty. And I couldn't even find the fire-roasted tomatoes either so I substituted stewed tomatoes, chopped up real good, with lots of red pepper flakes and a splash of olive oil. The Parmesan topping made for a nice finish.

Glad I found your blog, Heidi! Thanks for sharing.



This sounds perfect for my rainy day here in Salt Lake.


Swooon. That looks lovely!


I made this tonight, substituting escarole for the spinach, and added a can of chickpeas. It was unbelievably rich and satisfying....and SO easy. This is going to be my new favorite soup for sure.


It looks very appealing and nourishing. Nice.

Meg Wolff

Chahe koi muje

Vicky Bairagi

Not only is this soup delicious, just ask my not-so-easy-to-please pre-schooler and toddler, but it is super easy to make and healthy. The truth is that until I came across your blog, I had been feeling stale in the kitchen for quite some time. Thanks Becca for sending me the link and thank you so much Heidi :) Keep up the good work. I look forward to the recipes to come.


This is FABULOUS! My whole family loved it. They usually love anything from "The Heidi Lady". :) Next time I think I'll add more spinach. Thanks!


this looks good,,,,,however, sick and tired of the comments towards vegans,,,,,they are a small and unpleasant group of foodies. ick. this world would not exist if meat was not a provider of protein. yeah, I am just so sure the "west" in the US would have been settled. they would have starved to death. duh.


Perfect! I've been looking for more great soup recipes and I love orzo. It has such a kicky little personality.


Where where where do you find whole wheat orzo!? It's one of my favorite pastas for summer time and I can't find whole wheat versions anywhere!

Boston, Ma

HS: Hi Lauren. I pick it up at a local natural foods store here in SF. An alternative is to order it if you can't find it in your area - try a search for "organic whole wheat orzo"


just made this last night for my boyfriend and roommate... absolutely wonderful!! i did a few changes (lemon, added egg yolks) to make it a little more like avgolemono soup, but they were majorly impressed, and it was perfect mix of flavours for a hot summer day!


This sounds delicious! Can you tell us where you find whole wheat Orzo? Is there a particular brand you buy and if so, at a particular grocery? Thanks! Love your site! Kayla


I live in Montana, where you would think it would be easy to find whole wheat, organic products. Suprisingly it is not. Our local grocery stores have very little variety. Thank goodness for the Internet. I ordered a case of whole wheat orzo from amazon. ( I think I paid a whopping 15 dollars for the case!) Now I'm waiting for the pony express to drop it off so I can try this soup, it looks and sounds amazing.

Happy Tuesday to ya'all from MT!


Where does the soup get its yellow coloring from? the oil? Just wondering


yet another terrific and quick recipe.
i wanted to make something fast with whatever i had on hand so i just subsitituted a chopped fresh tomato and used small shell pasta with the rest of the ingredients you had given. it still turned out really delicious.


Hello from across the pond,
I have enjoyed reading your blog posts & thought to leave a note. Orzo is something I loved to cook with and only recently found it in Geneva under a different name... puntalette!!! I have yet to make a soup with egg whites - in this recipe does it thicken the soup, change the taste or both?
Swiss char is easily found at our farmers market, so I look forward to making your recipe, many thanks

Erika of Sweet Pea Blog

i cant wait for a cold winter day to make this. I dont usually like eating soup in the summer months.


Post Your Comment

More Recipes

Popular Ingredients