Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup was one word....amazing! Let me start off by saying...Chicken soup is NOT one of my favorite kinds of soups...I am more of a vegetable soup girl...but the flavors of this soup worked so well together, I might have to amend my list of "favorites" because of it. I've never much been much of a soup fan. Probably because when I was young, Campbells was the gold standard for soup in my house. Not that I have anything against canned soup...but homemade soup is just sooo much better! And truth be told, not that much more work than opening up a can and heating it up...
ok...maybe a bit more work...but so worth it.
Chicken in a lemony broth with orzo pasta, carrots, onions, celery and baby spinach. It was quick and easy since I used what was leftover from a rotisserie chicken from dinner previously in the week and a couple of boxes of chicken stock. I parcooked the orzo in some salted water before adding to the soup to help keep the starch from muddying up the broth.
Luckily, I took one serving and froze it for myself for lunch one day in the future...because once my family got at this soup, leftovers were a thing of the past.
**An adaption of this recipe is featured in "Prevention RD's Everyday Healthy Cooking"...this recipe is the original. The original recipe can also be found on my Allrecipe's profile with credit to me...ReneePaj. **
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
inspired by Panera Bread's version
Servings - approx. 12 ( 6 quarts) Serving size - approx. 1 1/2 cups - 2 cups Points Plus per Serving - 3 Points+
Calories - 126, Total Fat - 1.1g, Carb. - 19.6g, Protein - 10.8g, Fiber - 2.1g
1 tsp. Olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 - 4 med carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 - 32 oz. boxes of fat free, low sodium chicken stock
8 oz. cooked and chopped chicken breast
8 oz. orzo pasta, parboiled in salted water for half the time called for on the package and drained
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( about 2 lemons)
zest from one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. organic baby spinach
lemon slices and Parmesan cheese for garnish ( optional )
1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat oil on med heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and onion starts to become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add in the bay leaf, thyme, oregano and some salt and pepper. ( as much as you like on the salt and pepper) Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in all the broth. Bring to a boil and then partially cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just soft.
2. Add in the parboiled pasta, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir. Add in the cooked chicken. Allow to heat through. ( Pasta will continue to cook at this point) Before serving, stir in baby spinach and allow to get wilted in hot broth. Check for salt and pepper and add as needed and remove bay leaf. Check pasta to see if it is soft enough. Spoon into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
I never really used to consider soup a meal...but since WW, I have decided it actually makes an excellent meal. Homemade soups can be full of wonderful vegetables and are generally very WW friendly in the PP department. Paired with a salad and some fresh bread, you can have a nice sized meal for relatively low points. Plus, when you make a big pot of soup, you can freeze leftovers for lunches and dinners on busy weeknights! Yes, I am definitely coming around to the value of homemade soup in my new WW life!
I absolutely LOVED the lemon flavor in this broth! You could cut back on the juice or the zest, if you would like less lemony flavor..but I am a huge fan of lemons...so the more lemony for me the better! Last week I purchased two bags of Meyer lemons from of all places, Walmart for $1.98 a bag! Woo hoo! Although I didn't use them in this recipe, if I had them when I made it, I totally could have. I am truly a fan of all things lemon! How about you? Do you like lemon?