30 Minute Orzo Minestrone Soup is hearty, nutritious and packed with your favorite Italian flavors. The beans provide protein, the vegetables provide vitamins and the cheese provides calcium. This is a 30 minute meal the whole family will love.
I have always loved minestrone soup.
When we took our trip to Italy a year ago I fully expected to eat a few bowls of my favorite Italian soup. To my surprise I did not eat one bowl of it over the six days we were there. It was no where to be found.
Does that ever happen to you when you travel to a new country? You have perceptions of the dishes and foods you will find and that is not always the case. I assume a lot of that has to do with the region of the country you are in but I still find it surprising.
This also happened to me the first time I went to Mexico. I walked into a restaurant thinking I would be eating the traditional taco and chips and salsa I ate at home. This was not the case and again the food was different (and by different I do not mean bad but even better then we make it in America ). The flavors and ingredients were the same but the way some of their dishes were prepared was different then the American way of making Mexican food.
30 Minute Orzo Minestrone Soup is similar to the traditional minestrone soup you probably eat but with orzo pasta instead of the larger pastas. This is one of my favorite hearty yet light and nutritious soups.
To give the soup some extra flavor and creaminess I add 1/2 of a cup of parmesan cheese. Another option would be to add a parmesan rind to the soup, letting it simmer, and removing the rind before serving. Adding parmesan cheese to this soup is optional and not necessary. The soup will still have a lot of flavor without it.
For the soup lovers you can easily double this recipe. This soup lasts a few days in the refrigerator and makes great leftovers.
30 Minute Orzo Minestrone Soup
30 Minute Orzo Minestrone Soup is hearty, nutritious and packed with your favorite Italian flavors. The beans provide protein, the vegetables provide vitamins and the cheese provides calcium, This is a 30 minute meal the whole family will love.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped into rounds
- 1-15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-16oz can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (more if you want to garnish with additional cheese)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta, cooked
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: fresh Italian parsley
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and continue to sauté for 5 more minutes.
- Add the beans, fresh basil, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, vegetable broth and diced tomatoes. Partially cover the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering cook the orzo pasta according to the package and set aside when done.
- When you are done simmering the soup turn the heat down to low and stir in the spinach and parmesan cheese. Allow the spinach to wilt and the cheese to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In soup bowls serve a scoop of orzo pasta and pour the soup over the orzo. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
For more delicious soups check out my Soups Pinterest board!