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Winter is in full force in Toronto (and in many parts of the world) so I thought I’d share a warm, hearty, nourishing Lemon Chickpea Vegetable Orzo Soup recipe for my blog that my amazing student, Julia, developed. I’ve been craving hot soups and one-pot meals since the winter weather made its debut.
Soups are a wonderful dish to meal prep because they are easy, made in one pot, and you can easily freeze them. Soups are also a great way to form a complete meal loaded with vegetables, protein, and high-fibre carbohydrates. Many people create a New Year goal to start meal prepping more so be sure to add this one to your list!
If you are ever looking to modify a soup recipe to turn it into a complete meal, try adding in more vegetables (spinach, kale, frozen broccoli, mixed frozen vegetables, and chopped carrots, parsnips or celery are great options). You can also add whole grain pasta, brown rice, or barley to add a high-fibre grain as well as chickpeas, lentils, beans, or chicken for extra protein to keep you satiated.
Recipe and photos by Julia Hop Hing BSc
Why Lemon Chickpea Vegetable Orzo Soup?
This Lemon Chickpea Vegetable Orzo Soup recipe is super simple. It is loaded with vegetables (carrots, celery, kale, and spinach), protein from chickpeas, and fibre from the whole wheat orzo and corn. The incredible flavouring comes from the fresh dill, lemon, and of course the tahini which also gives it a smooth texture.
You can store this soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. Better yet, you can freeze it for about 1-2 months to keep on hand for those hectic days when you need a delicious meal in a pinch and don’t have time to cook. Try storing it in fridge/freezer-safe containers like this one! If you want to take it on the go, bring it with you in an insulated food jar like this one! As I said earlier, this is an awesome budget-friendly, simple, quick meal prep recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Lemon Chickpea Vegetable Orzo Soup:
- Olive oil
- Garlic, onion
- Carrots, celery, spinach, kale – these make up the vegetable part of the soup
- Vegetable stock and water – instead of using only vegetable stock, to reduce the sodium this recipe calls for part stock and part water.
- Chickpeas – plant-based protein high in fibre. Chickpeas are great for heart health and bowel health. Aim to use no-sodium added canned chickpeas. If you use canned chickpeas with added sodium then rinse them in water to get rid of the excess salt.
- Whole wheat orzo – Orzo is also known as “risoni”. It is a short-cut pasta (shaped like a large grain of rice) typically made from white flour but you can get a whole wheat version as well. Feel free to sub with brown rice or whole grain pasta (or gluten free pasta for a gluten free version) if you don’t like orzo.
- Corn – use frozen or canned (you can use fresh too if you wish). If using canned, make sure to get a no-sodium added version or rinse the corn under water to remove the excess sodium.
- Fresh dill – who doesn’t love the taste and smell of fresh dill? It adds a beautiful flavour to this soup. Feel free to use frozen or dried dill if you do not have fresh.
- Lemon juice – This dish tastes best with juice from freshly squeezed lemons as they give it a lovely bright, enhanced flavour. Sub store bought lemon juice if you don’t have whole lemons.
- Tahini – this makes the soup creamy and adds a bit of protein, calcium, and healthy fats. Feel free to omit if you do not have any.
- Large pot
Lemon Chickpea Vegetable Orzo Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and minced
- 6 medium carrots, diced
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 6 cups water
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo (can sub rice if you don’t have orzo)
- 1 cup corn (frozen or canned)
- 1 1/2 cups kale (frozen or fresh)
- 2-3 large handfuls fresh (or frozen) spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnishing
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice from about 1-2 large lemons)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup tahini
- Pepper to taste
- Mince the onion and garlic and cut the carrots and celery into bite sized pieces.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil before adding in the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Sauté on low heat until the onions are translucent.
- Pour in 4 cups of vegetable stock and 6 cups of water into the pot. Turn the heat to high and allow the soup to come to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium then add in the chickpeas and orzo. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the soup to boil for 5 minutes.
- Stir the soup before adding the corn and kale into the pot. Also add ¼ cup of dill. Continue to boil until the orzo is al dente and the carrots have softened, about 2-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in the lemon juice and tahini. Use 1/4 cup tahini for a less intense flavour and 1/3 cup if you love the taste of tahini. Season with pepper and spices to taste.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
- Garnish with extra dill or tahini if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
Jackie is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Health Science (MHSc) in Nutrition Communications, whose mission is to empower and support people with disabilities to manage their condition, prevent complications, and live active lifestyles through nutrition. Jackie runs a virtual private practice and consulting business and runs her blog which has simple recipes and health information for the disability community.