Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup With Baby Kale

Looking for a seasonal soup recipe that won’t take an entire day in the kitchen to prepare and which will light up your senses with fresh flavors? Our one-pot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup makes a perfect meal for busy weeknights, using just a few fresh ingredients to dress up store-bought stock. And for patients struggling with the side effects of some types of treatment, including dry mouth or difficulty swallowing, this soup may provide extra benefits. A fresh, final pop of lemon juice as the soup finishes cooking brightens the broth and may help stimulate salivary glands to help combat dry mouth symptoms.

We’re always looking for ways to incorporate more kale into our diets, and for good reason: This renowned superfood is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens on the planet, providing huge doses of vitamins A, K and C, as well as B6, manganese, calcium and potassium, in a low-calorie, low-fat format. Kale is also a good source of prebiotic carbohydrates and phytochemicals, such as folic acid, riboflavin, carotenes and others that serve as antioxidants, which may capture free radicals and aid in the reduction of inflammation.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup With Baby Kale
Serves 6


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups good quality low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup orzo pasta
  • 4 cups baby kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced


In a large, high-sided skillet or small Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Add chicken, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, as well as dried thyme. Cook, stirring often, until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through; about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In the same pan, add remaining olive oil, onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften and onions begin to turn translucent; about five minutes. Add garlic, and cook for one minute more.

Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add orzo, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until orzo begins to absorb liquid; about five minutes. Add cooked chicken and baby kale, and additional chicken stock as needed. Continue cooking until kale wilts, orzo is tender and chicken is fully cooked through; about five minutes more. If the soup is not brothy enough, add additional stock as needed. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.