This recipe is a total winner when it comes to comforting and filling soups for the winter.
As much as I want spring to come around, there are a few winter-like things that I am trying to hold onto for as long as possible – homemade soups being one of them.
Homemade soups were a weekly thing growing up. If you’ve been around for a while, you already know that my dad is in the catering business so we regularly ate his delicious homemade creations versus dining out or prepackaged meals. Winter was and still is soup season. He would pull out his giant 24 quart stock pot and fill it with the most comforting and hearty soups and we would all be fed for the entire week and then some. Now that my parents are empty nesters, he still makes enough soup to feed a small army in that giant stock pot of his. I am positive that will never change!
Dad’s homemade soups are a happy memory from my childhood and something that I still look forward to every winter, but I wanted to try my own homemade soup.
I dissected some of his most popular soup recipes and techniques and then took a gander at the ingredients and spices that I already had in my kitchen. That is when I came up with this super filling and healthy Italian Spinach & Orzo Soup!
It’s Low Sodium & Dairy Free (contingent on your choice of toppings).
One of my favorite things about cooking in bulk, is that seasoning measurements are often suggested and that anyone can season a recipe to their taste and liking. My doctor recently encouraged me to cook with low sodium or sodium free stocks and broths so that I could have control over the amount of sodium that I add to the recipe. I have to admit, I was convinced that the unsalted chicken broth would be awful and that I would have to add an outrageous amount of seasoning to make up for taste. However, I only had to add minimal amounts for such a large recipe. (Those amounts are measured out for you in the ingredients below).
I swapped table salt for pink Himalayan salt (PHS) to help lower my blood pressure and reduce chest pain from acid reflux. PHS contains less sodium per serving and is packed with dozens of minerals and other elements. Because of these minerals, PHS can also:
- Help balance electrolytes
- Help your intestines absorb other nutrients
- Prevent muscle cramps
- Improve circulation
- & much more!
I buy my Pink Himalayan Salt in bulk on Amazon, but I’ll link the smaller size of the brand I use for you here:
Speaking of pink, here is the baby pink dutch oven that I mentioned in my instragram post and used to make this recipe:
Here is the other dutch oven that I use and highly recommend:
Now let’s jump into this yummy pot of soup!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 7 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cups Barilla orzo (pasta)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pink Himalayan salt
- 5 cups loosely-packed spinach
- Optional topping: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (no longer a dairy free recipe if added)
- In dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then add diced onion. Saute for 4 minutes, Then add chopped carrots and celery. Saute for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add unsalted chicken broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, pink Himalayan salt thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer and stir occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- While soup is simmering, cook orzo in a separate pot. Cook until pasta is al dente. (Since broth is unsalted, boil the water for the orzo in 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt for added flavor)
- Add orzo to the vegetable and broth mixture in the dutch oven. Continue to simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is wilted. Taste, and season with salt and black pepper as needed.
- Serve warm, garnished with your desired toppings.
Enjoy this recipe!