I love making this Turkey Orzo Soup not only because it’s a comforting, delicious soup but also because it’s pretty budget friendly. You can make the soup with leftover roasted chicken or turkey meat, so it’s pretty versatile.
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Mediterranean Orzo Soup
Orzo is a widely used rice-shaped pasta in the Mediterranean region. I grew up in a multi-generational home and my grandparents made orzo from scratch at home. We used to dry it up and keep it in a dry place for home cooking mostly during winter.
In my native country of Albania, we called orzo ‘kritharaqe’ while in Italy they call Orzo ‘risoni’. Orzo is famous in Greek Cuisine as well as other Mediterranean countries.
Orzo is mainly used in soups but also served as a side dish when cooked similarly to rice.
Recipes Notes & Tips
- You can cook this soup same way using leftover roasted turkey or roasted chicken. Just shred the leftovers and you’re good to go.
- You will need chicken stock or the juices from cooking the turkey in a bag etc or a combination of the two.
- Soup refrigerates well but it gets thicker since orzo will keep absorbing liquids. I have never frozen leftovers from this soup. However, if you plan to have enough leftovers to freeze, don’t add orzo to the soup and refrigerate the soup with no orzo. Then as you cook in the stovetop, add orzo and let it cook.
- Feel free to eyeball some ingredients or substitute some of them to taste. This is supposed to be a soup that uses a lot of leftovers or vegetables before they go bad.
- You can replace the yellow/red sweet peppers with a green bell pepper. You can use a white onion instead of yellow. Also, you can add celery if you have some on hand. I prefer using oregano and paprika but you can add any spice or herb to your liking.
Orzo Soup With Turkey And Spinach
- Regular pot and lid
- 2 cups shredded roasted turkey (or chicken) any amount of leftovers will do, don't stress if you don't have exactly 2 cups
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1.5 cups orzo
- 1 red pepper (small)
- 1 yellow pepper (small) you can replace the 2 small peppers with a bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tbsps olive oil extra virgin
- 2-3 cups spinach
- 1 lemon half will be juiced and added to the soup and the other half sliced for garnish
- 2 cups water
- pinch black pepper (optional) for garnish
- Cut tomatoes in large chunks and blend them in a small food processor.
- Wash spinach (if it doesn't come already washed), peppers and tomatoes. Dice carrots, onion and peppers. (I used carrot sticks for this recipe but you can use whole carrots too).
- Heat a large pot with olive oil. Add onions and peppers and sautee until onion becomes transluscent.
- Add orzo to the pot, stir everything well so veggies don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Also, you want all the orzos to get coated and become kind of shiny.
- Add carrots and mix well again.
- Add tomato blend and mix so you can create a homogeneous mix.
- Add shredded turkey and mix to incorporate all the ingredients together.
- Add bay leaves and oregano, paprika and salt and stir again to combine everything.
- Add chicken stock to the soup and 2 cups of water. Mix and set temperature to medium. Cover with a lid. Make sure the pot is not too small or it will overflow as the soup cooks.
- After 20 minutes or so, remover lid. Fish for the bay leaves and remove them from the pot. Add lemon juice from half the lemon.
- Add spinach to the soup in the final moments. Chop spinach if leaves are too big. No need to chop baby spinach. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach welts.
- Serve warm and enjoy:). Garnish with lemon slices and black pepper in individual plates is optional.
- You can use shredded chicken or turkey.
- Buying triple-washed spinach can save some time, but that might not be available everywhere. My grocery store offers it and it is something I splurge on to save myself time.
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