Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Mediterranean_lemon_Chicken_orzo_Soup_pot

Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Zesty lemon pairs with tender vegetables, fresh herbs, chicken, and broth in this delicious Mediterranean lemon chicken orzo soup.  It’s warm, nourishing, and perfect for cold weather!

This is not an avgolemono, which is the traditional creamy Greek lemon chicken orzo soup, rather this is a brothy lemon chicken and orzo soup.  I clarify the distinction because when I said to my kids we are having lemon chicken soup – they instantly thought I meant yiayia’s avgolemono and were disappointed when they saw the carrots, chicken and broth. 

Their disappointment was short-lived when they tasted the soup.  It is full of lemony flavor, and great texture.  The soup has protein, carbs, and veggies, making it a perfect one-pot meal that comes together in under 35 minutes, so it’s ideal for weeknight cooking.   In fact, you can prep the veggies ahead of time by peeling and chopping the carrots, onions, and celery and mincing the garlic so that you can just throw it all in the pot to save the 10 minutes of prep time. 

Orzo is short-cut pasta, widely used in Mediterranean cooking.  This soup also uses fresh lemon, dill, parsley, and thyme, also prevalent in the Mediterranean way of cooking.   

 

Ingredients in Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

  • chicken breasts or thighs, diced – chicken thighs have more flavor and hold the cubed shape better whereas breast meat shreds a bit after simmering in the soup. 
  • extra virgin olive oil – we use 2 1/2 tablespoons of heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil in this soup.  Don’t skip the drizzle at the end as it gives the soup a luscious mouthfeel and adds a luminous shimmer to the soup. 
  • 1 onion
  • carrots
  • celery
  • garlic
  • thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth – homemade chicken stock is best.  If you don’t have homemade, I recommend the Pacific brand of organic chicken broth as it has the most flavor of all the broths on the market. 
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

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How to make Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden and cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside on a plate. 

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and add carrots, onion, and celery.  Cook until tender 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Add the chicken broth, cooked chicken, bay leaf, and rosemary spring.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the carrots are tender, about 8-10 minutes. 

Add the orzo and simmer until the pasta is tender about 10-12 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh parsley and dill along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as needed.   Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig before serving. 

Serve with rustic homemade bread or crackers. 

Mediterranean_lemon_Chicken_orzo_Soup_bowl

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Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Lemon Orzo Chicken soup, lemon orzo soup, Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories:
Author: Eva Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme fresh or dried
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden and cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside on a plate.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and add carrots, onion, and celery.  Cook until tender 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the chicken broth, cooked chicken, bay leaf, and rosemary spring.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the carrots are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the orzo and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh parsley and dill along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.   Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig before serving.
  • Serve with rustic homemade bread or crackers.

Mediterranean_lemon_Chicken_orzo_Soup

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