One-pot soup warms up chilly winter nights

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Here’s a warm, comforting and easy take on an old favorite, chicken noodle soup. Using cooked chicken, either rotisserie or from the deli, cuts down on the cooking time. Parsnips add a hint of sweetness and fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese add a flavorful touch. This is a one-pot meal that’s perfect for a winter’s evening.

Orzo is rice-shaped pasta, but you can use any small pasta such as small macaroni, pastina or acini di pepe.

Helpful hints:

  • Chopped fresh onion can be used instead of frozen. Saute it a few minutes longer.
  • Any type of cooked chicken or turkey can be used.
  • Look for unsalted chicken broth in the grocery aisle.


– Start vegetables and add broth and orzo.

– While this simmers, cut the chicken into small pieces.

– Finish soup.

Shopping List:

To buy: 10 ounces cooked rotisserie or chicken breast, 1 bag frozen onion, 1 bunch celery, 1 bunch parsnips, 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 1 carton unsalted chicken broth and one box orzo.

Staples: olive oil, salt and black peppercorns.

Make a classic chicken soup with orzo and spinach to warm up on chilly winter nights.

Chicken Orzo Soup

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup peeled thinly sliced parsnips
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 10 ounces cooked boneless chicken breast (skin removed)
  • 2 cups fresh washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and parsnips. Saute 3 minutes.

Add broth and orzo and simmer 8 minutes or until orzo is cooked al dente.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small pieces. When the orzo is cooked, add chicken and spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted and chicken is warmed, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle cheese on top.

Yield: 2 servings.

Per serving: 634 calories (19 percent from fat), 13.1 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 135 cholesterol, 61.7 g protein, 67.9 g carbohydrates, 8.4 g fiber, 470 mg sodium.

— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer, the author of over 30 cookbooks including her newest, The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook, Listen to Linda on & podcasts,