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Spicy Chicken and Orzo Soup

Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

This is a great mid-week meal! So cozy and comforting, while still being packed with nutrients. It's extra easy to make since the soup is made of mostly pantry ingredients and leftover chicken.

Use my Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Cucumber Yogurt in this recipe.

Technique tip: The key is to have a really rich and tasty chicken stock!

Swap option: Swap the orzo out for another type of pasta (macaroni, mini shells, etc.), or a grain such as rice.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
  • 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups shredded leftover chicken (recipe linked above)
  • lemon wedges, for serving



In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Stir in onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent and softened, but not browning, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper and cook for another minute, until tomato paste caramelizes and darkens slightly.


Raise heat to medium-high and add stock. Bring to a boil and add orzo. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered until orzo is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Stir in spinach and chicken and cook for 2 minutes to wilt the greens. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if you'd like. Serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing.