Turkey Orzo Soup with Lemon & Spinach

Here's a soup recipe that's just made for spring! It's light but hearty, substantial but bright. The lemon and spinach really make this soup, so do the tiny bites of orzo pasta.

Turkey Orzo Soup with Lemon & Spinach, a hearty mix of cooked turkey, pasta and vegetables brightened with lemon, perfect for spring ~ Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 ~ KitchenParade.com

I love seeing kids pile into cars, little kids into souped-up race cars with steering wheels and safety belts in specially outfitted shopping carts at the grocery, that is.

First catching the eye of the mother who’s busy with broccoli and beans, I’ll kneel to eye level to ask in a deep, serious voice, “May I see your drivers’ license, please?”

The quick ones recognize the game and grin, “I don’t have a drivers’ license, Silly.” The shy ones check for Mom’s whereabouts, then clench the wheel, determined to remain master of the road, with or without a license.

Sure, kid-friendly grocery carts are all about extracting dollars from parental wallets. But if grocery shopping is just a little bit more fun for parents and kids both, wouldn’t there be just a little bit less fast food and carryout?

If that’s what it takes, let’s hope for aisles full of race-car grocery carts and kid-size drivers licenses.

ALANNA's TIPS While I've made this soup with canned, cartoned, jarred or powdered chicken broth, it's truly worthy of good stock. Besides, No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock is easier than lugging big containers of stock. To save a few calories, substitute a splash of broth for butter or olive oil to sauté the onion, celery and other early flavorings in soups and stews. Your taste buds won’t miss it and your waistline and thighs will be forever grateful! Save aside a used-up parmesan rind to toss into soups. It will add a smoky depth that’s quite lovely. Remove it before serving, however. To speed the cooking time of any homemade soup, bring the cooking liquid (in this soup, chicken stock) to a boil in the microwave before adding it to the pot. I find a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup convenient, just fill it twice. If you make this soup ahead of time, or with enough for leftovers, the pasta will quickly absorb nearly all the chicken stock. For this reason, I often cook the pasta separately, then add in a spoonful per bowl when reheating the soup.


Turkey & vegetables in a lemony broth
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 70 minutes
Makes 10 cups
  • 8 cups (64 ounces) chicken stock
  • Splash chicken broth (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 leftover parmesan rind (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup “little” pasta such as orzo or 1 cup “big” pasta such as bowties
  • 1 pound cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
  • Zest and juice from a lemon
  • 8 ounces leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard or broccoli rabe
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring broth to boil in the microwave, in batches if needed. (See ALANNA’s TIPS.)

Heat the splash of broth in a large, heavy pot over medium high. Meanwhile, chop vegetables and garlic, adding each to the pot as prepped, stirring well with each addition. Add hot broth and parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered about 20 minutes for flavors to meld. (Make ahead to here, if you like. Return to a boil to continue.)

Add pasta and turkey, cook about 8 minutes til pasta is nearly done. Add lemon zest, juice and greens, cook about 3 minutes, until greens are cooked but still bright in color.

Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 179 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 33mg Cholesterol; 18g Carb; 302mg Sodium; 2g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 17g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3.5 & WW Points Plus 4. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 1/2 cup; 50-calorie serving, 1/4 cup.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy soup recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Soup Recipes for Spring: Light But Substantial

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup Homemade Lentil Soup Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup
~ more soup recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Greek Lentil Soup ~
~ Spring Garden Vegetable Soup ~
~ Lasagna Soup with Fresh Spinach ~
~ more soup recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna, I had to come back and leave a comment - we enjoyed this soup SO MUCH! I used turkey stock (made from the rack of the turkey, of course!) and some of last year's kale from the freezer . . . absolutely fantastic! Totally love the bright lemony addition - I mean, it's good without that, but the lemon just takes it from "good" to "here I am leaving a gushing comment!"

    I did have the "brainstorm" to take a bunch of little bits and shards of parmesan rind that I had in the freezer and shove them all in a tea ball for the soup - it worked brilliantly! That is, until it came time to clean the tea ball . . . then it kind of made a goopy, cheesy mess.

    But still - delightful soup, and this recipe is definitely going in my "make again" file! Thanks so much - again.

  2. Kris ~ I do so love gushing comments! Thank you!! PS Glad you loved the lemon, it just really works, doesn’t it?! And makes it a “spring” soup vs another season too. Love your teaball brainstorm!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna