Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick & Hearty Orzo Soup

Happy Thanksgiving, my loyal readers! Sorry for the delay in posting. I didn't make many healthy recipes during the holidays, I have to admit. Thanksgiving was spent at my parents' house in Maine. My parents and sisters don't really cook much, but we had the usual standards for the holiday. They consider me to be a bit of an overly adventurous chef, but I did bring some good stuff to the table. I made homemade gingersnaps to serve with Pumpkin Mousse Dip, the not-really-Thanksgiving-y, but nonetheless always requested Cooking Light Spinach Artichoke Dip, and a big spinach salad with roasted sweet potatoes, feta, and candied pecans. I made some delicious Brown Sugar Rosemary Pecans to add to my salad. Any weight I gain this week is likely due to my inability to keep my hand out of the pecan jar. 

After several days of utter gluttony, I needed to get back on track and cook something healthy. I also organized my overflowing cupboards and realized I had several open boxes of orzo. A little recipe hunting and voila - a healthy, incredibly easy orzo soup for this chilly Sunday night! I'm giving you two topping options below for both the spice lovers and the wusses out there. 

Original Inspiration:  101 Cookbooks
Serving Size: 6 servings
WW: 7 pointsplus (1 1/4 cups of soup, 2 tablespoons of tomato mixture, 1/2 ounce of either feta or parmesan)


7 cups vegetable broth (I used low-sodium Kitchen Essentials chicken stock, as it was all I had on hand)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo
3-4 cups spinach or chard, chopped
3 egg whites
sea salt (to taste)

Topping options:  For either choice - make sure that your olive oil is good quality. In my opinion, the greener, the better. This soup is so simply flavored that you want the best quality ingredients you can find. Also, I recommend the Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I stock up on them when I find them on sale. Great product. 


14 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese


14 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 ounces fresh, grated parmesan cheese


Bring the broth to a boil in a soup pot or medium-sized dutch oven. Stir in the orzo and cook until tender, which should take around 8-10 minutes. Add the raw, chopped spinach. 

In a separate, small saucepan, add your tomatoes, evoo, and red pepper flakes or harissa and cook on low until warm. Taste and add salt, if needed. 

Right before you are ready to eat, whisk the egg whites into the soup quickly. The whites will give the soup almost a creamy consistency. Taste and add salt to the soup, if you need to brighten up the flavors a bit. I added a few turns of fresh ground black pepper as well. 

Serve in individual bowls each topped with the tomato mixture you chose and about a tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of cheese. 

This is such a quick and easy recipe - I had a hearty soup perfect for the cold weather on the table in less than 30 minutes. I served the soup with a heat and serve mini baguette that I had in the freezer. Fresh rolls or bread would be even better. Enjoy!

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