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White Bean, Orzo & Spinach Soup

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Beans ‘n greens- do ya know what I mean? Add some orzo to this classic combo and you get a full trifecta of texture and flavor! I love this Tuscan inspired vegetarian soup- it's healthy, delicious and always a hit with the whole family. I had some Banza brand chickpea rice hanging out in the pantry recently and figured I would try it out as a swap for orzo (more like orzo than rice, IMO). Verdict? It's a perfect substitute if you are attempting to eat gluten free! Otherwise orzo or any mini pasta shape works well here. Also, feel free to use other dark leafy greens! Chard, kale or even escarole would be delicious. I add what appears to be WAYY too much and then am always amazed by how quickly 18+ cups of spinach shrinks down to a teeny portion in no time at all. The pesto and lemon at the end work together to round out and brighten this hearty, savory soup- these are flavors no one can resist! To serve, add a sprinkle of parm, drizzle of lemon juice and/or pesto, and dunk with some crusty bread. How can you say no to that? Enjoy!


prep time: 10 min. cook time: ~40 min. serves: 6-8


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic (2-4 cloves)

1/2 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)

2 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1 cup orzo pasta (or Banza brand rice)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 parmesan rind (optional)

6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1-20 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (about 2-1/2 cups total)

1/4 cup store bought pesto

1 box baby spinach (about 5 oz)

zest of a lemon (~1 tsp)

juice of 1/2 lemon (~1 tbsp)

kosher salt

black pepper


lemon wedges, olive oil, pesto sauce and/or grated parmesan



Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Pour in the orzo and stir to coat. Cook the orzo 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it has lightly toasted. Deglaze with the wine and allow to reduce completely, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, Parmesan rind (if using), 6 cups stock, 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and stir to combine. Bring everything to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes, or until the orzo is al dente. Add the white beans, pesto, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and more salt and pepper to taste and allow the soup to simmer 5-10 minutes more, until the spinach has wilted down. Add more stock if it gets too thick and remove and discard the parmesan rind. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish as desired with olive oil, more lemon, pesto and some grated parmesan!

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