If easy, hearty and comforting is what you’re after, this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Mushrooms and Kale just might be the ticket. It’s perfect for weeknights when you’re short on time, especially if the weather is getting cold where you are.
What is Orzo?
Contrary to what my family thinks, orzo is not rice. It’s not even a type grain for that matter. It’s a rice-shaped pasta most often made from semolina flour.
Jovial Foods makes a cassava flour orzo that is great for anyone that is looking for a grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo-friendly pasta option. It’s available on Amazon, Thrive Market and several grocery stores in the US. If you’re in Canada, you can find it on Natura Market. For those in the GTA, check The Simple Kitchen in Roncesvalles or Summerhill Market.
Can I Use a Different Pasta?
You certainly can. You’re the boss, applesauce. Though, you’ll have to start calling it something other than Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.
Do You Cook the Orzo Separately?
Like other gluten-free pastas, cassava flour pasta tends to leave behind a murky and gritty water when boiled. For this reason, I prefer to cook it in a separate saucepan. I then drain it before adding it to the soup. If you cook the pasta directly in the soup, your broth will turn very cloudy and become overly starchy.
If you time it right and make the orzo at the same time as the soup, you don’t need to rinse the pasta before adding it.
Can I Substitute Other Vegetables in Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup?
Feel free to mix up the vegetable combinations in your Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup as you see fit. Zucchini instead of the mushrooms and spinach instead of the kale is an easy swap to make. You could just also sauté some bell peppers along with the carrots and onion.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Mushrooms and Kale
- ½ cup grain-free orzo – such as Jovial Foods brand
- Kosher salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots – diced
- 1 yellow onion – diced
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- ½ cup chopped frozen kale
- 1 cup shredded roasted or poached chicken
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Season the water with 2 teaspoons salt and add the orzo. Cook according to package instructions or until the orzo is barely al dente. Strain, rinse with water to prevent clumping, and set aside.
- Add olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrot and onion and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, around 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until slightly softened, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 60 seconds.
- Add the chicken stock and kale. Raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are soft, around 8 minutes. Add the chicken, lemon zest and juice.
- Add the reserved orzo and stir through to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with fresh dill.