Did you know there are over 65 different versions of Chicken Soup for the Soul books in print? Whether you love them or hate them – that’s kind of incredible! What’s also incredible… in my 15+ years of cooking, I’ve probably made over 65 variations of chicken soup for the sou… I mean stomach. 😉 And this Italian Chicken & Orzo Soup with Fresh Spinach is in my top 5 (along with Mom’s Chicken Soup, Summer Chicken Stew, and Southwest Chicken & Rice Chowder and Pioneer Women’s Chicken Tortilla Soup).
One of the reasons I love this particular chicken soup recipe: it’s a fix-it and forget it kind of meal. You start it on the stovetop, but then transfer it to the crockpot to simmer for an hour or two. You could even throw all the ingredients in the crockpot without browning them first, but I like the extra flavor and richness the little bit of sautéing adds to the soup.
I also love the warm Italian flavors of this soup. That’s mostly thanks to Wildtree’s Bruschetta Seasoning. This delicious blend is full of basil, parsley, dried tomato, sea salt and more. I also use Wildtree’s Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil as a flavorful base for the soup.
Note: If you have never heard of Wildtree before and you are interested in learning more about their natural, nutritious and delicious products (that are made in a gluten free and peanut-free facilities and don’t contain any preservatives, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, additives, MSGs, food colorants, and dyes), you are welcome to check out my Wildtree website. And I promise I won’t mention it again – the purpose of this blog is to share delicious recipes, not try to sell Wildtree products 🙂 I am a big fan though, so you will probably see recipes that call for Wildtree ingredients from time to time.
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, cut into half circles
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced (including leafy parts)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon oil (I use Wildtree's Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil, but olive oil will also do)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 teaspoons Italian herb blend (I used Willdtree's Bruschetta Blend)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup orzo (uncooked)
- 3 cups roughly chopped/torn fresh baby spinach
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the pan and cook until brown, but not cooked thru, about 2 minutes, then set aside.
- Add the celery, bell pepper, carrots, red onion, and garlic to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in Italian herbs or Bruschetta blend and bay leaf until fragrant, another 1 minute. Add in chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the chicken thighs, chicken broth and vegetables to the crockpot and for 2 hours on low. Add 1/2 cup of orzo and stir well. Cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes, or until orzo is cooked to your preference. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Immediately before serving, toss in the baby spinach and stir to combine. Serve with crusty bread, fresh parsley or fresh parmesan cheese.
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