The Perfect Spring Soup


Sharing these recipes has shown me that soups tend to be one of my consistent mid-week quick dinners.


If I make a small batch, I love it paired with a salad and a crusty bread.


If it's a big batch, my family has lunches for the rest of the week.


It seems I also like to stick with clear-broth options -- they're lighter, they're less fussy to make, and if I get distracted they won't scorch (a serious win for me).


I started with a basic pinterest recipe for this idea and then modified it for both dietary issues as well as ingredient preference.


Technically this would be described as Lemon Chicken Orzo soup, but I've modified it so many ways that the only way I can reference what we're having for dinner is "that lemon soup thing that you really like."


Plus I get the opportunity to use a pasta shape that I never otherwise have an opportunity to use.


It's vegetarian but not gluten-free. If you need that, I've got a swap for you.


Need it vegan? Eliminate the cheese -- it's just as good without it.


Want to please an omnivore? Toss in some sauteed chicken breast and it's perfect.


I could really use a better name for this soup (other than a vague reference) -- could you shoot me some options after you try it out?




INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks celery chopped finely

  • 2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely

  • 1/2 medium onion chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 6 cups veggie broth

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 cup uncooked orecchiette pasta

  • Several large handfuls of fresh, baby spinach

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or to taste

  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish (*optional)

  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast (*omnivore option)

  • 2 tablespoons rice flower + 1 cup white rice (*gluten free option)


ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

  • Pour in veggie broth and add the Italian seasoning. Bring the soup to a boil.

  • Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Bring back to rolling boil and add in pasta. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the orecchiette is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.

  • Stir in fresh spinach until wilted.

  • Add the lemon juice (you may want to add more than I suggest - I didn't want to make the soup too lemony for some people), season the soup with salt & pepper as needed.

  • Top with parmesan cheese (optional) and serve immediately. A crusty, rustic Italian bread is amazing with this!


GLUTEN FREE INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. If you're going gluten-free, add the rice flour and cook for another minute or so at this time.

  • Pour in veggie broth and stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the Italian seasoning. Bring the soup to a boil.

  • Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Stir in the rice and cook for another 20 minutes (with the lid off) or until the rice is cooked through.

  • Stir in fresh spinach until wilted.

  • Add the lemon juice (you may want to add more than I suggest - I didn't want to make the soup too lemony for some people), season the soup with salt & pepper as needed.

  • Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


OMNIVORE INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and saute chicken in large soup pot. Cook through, remove from pot, cut/shred and set aside.

  • Heat remaining 1 tbsp olive old and sauté the celery, carrots, and onions over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

  • Pour in veggie (or chicken) broth and then add the Italian seasoning. Bring the soup to a boil.

  • Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Bring back to rolling boil and add in pasta. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the orecchiette is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.

  • Add chicken back to pot.

  • Stir in fresh spinach until wilted.

  • Add the lemon juice (you may want to add more than I suggest - I didn't want to make the soup too lemony for some people), and season the soup with salt & pepper as needed.

  • Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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