Rustic Parsley & Orzo Soup with Walnuts

Rustic Parsley & Orzo Soup with Walnuts

4 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook

This soup recipe is based on a traditional pasta dish that consists of lots of parsley, garlic, chopped walnuts, hot chile and olive oil, all fried up and tossed with pasta. We amped up the greens, made the pasta a nutritious supporting player and turned the recipe into a soup. It's best served immediately, because the orzo will absorb liquid as the soup is held. Thin any leftover soup with more vegetable broth, if desired.

Ingredients 6 servings

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  • 1¼ cups whole-wheat orzo (8 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided, plus a pinch
  • 10 cups gently packed spinach (about 8 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
  • 2 large bunches parsley
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes


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  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just short of tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Return to the pot and toss with 1 teaspoon oil; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring frequently, always covering the pan again, until the onion is translucent and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, coarsely chop spinach. Coarsely chop enough parsley to equal about 4 cups. Set aside 3 cups and finely chop the remaining 1 cup; set aside separately.
  4. Peel and dice potato. Combine the potato, the sauteed onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, broth and water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. (Set the onion pan aside for later.) Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Stir in the spinach and the 3 cups coarsely chopped parsley; return to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the onion pan over medium heat. Add garlic and let it sizzle for about 45 seconds. Add walnuts and cook, stirring and watching carefully to prevent burning, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup parsley and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  6. Stir the cooked orzo into the soup, then stir in the parsley-walnut mixture. Season with lemon juice and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper, if desired. Return the soup to a simmer.
  7. Combine tomatoes with the remaining pinch of salt in a small bowl. Garnish each bowl of soup with a spoonful of the tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1¾ cups
  • Per serving: 393 calories; 19 g fat(2 g sat); 12 g fiber; 47 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 168 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 7,232 IU vitamin A; 74 mg vitamin C; 150 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 491 mg sodium; 793 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (145% daily value), Vitamin C (123% dv), Folate (42% dv), Iron (28% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3
  • Exchanges: 3½ fat, 2 starch, 1 vegetable

Reviews 4

November 19, 2015
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By: Sandy
Astonishingly Good! This soup is astonishingly good, especially right after making it when it looks as wonderful as it tastes. My favorite part is the crunchy, garlicky walnuts, but I also love the fresh tomatoes and lemon juice! With the exception of adding a bit more salt than called for (salting to our tastes) and not bothering to peel the potato, I made as directed. It heats up nicely (putting freshly diced tomatoes on top of the reheated soup), but it doesn't look as appetizing--everything (except the fresh tomatoes) turns a purplish-brown color. Even so...just wonderful! This is now one of our favorite soups, and the ingredients are all just so healthy! Pros: healthy ingredients, wonderful flavor and texture Cons: a bit time consuming, turns an unappetizing color for next day leftovers
April 07, 2015
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By: khotomlyanskaya
LOVE THIS! If you are looking for something new-- you are in for a treat with this recipe! Walnuts, parsley and fresh tomatoes -- what a wonderful combination for soup!!! It seemed dubious to me at first to add so much parsley, so I added half of the amount indicated in the recipe and added green oak leaves instead. It still worked out well, but I think that strong parsley flavor would make it even better (if you are a parsley lover -- which I certainly am), so next time will add the 4 cups!!! I also loved adding the fresh tomatoes at the end. I usually add tomatoes to soups and simmer for a little. But fresh tomatoes are like -- wow!!! Tastes great! PS -- tastes better after it rests for a couple of hours if you keep it warm!! Pros: Unique, fragrant, very nourishing
March 22, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Too much parsley! There was so much parsley in this recipe it was overwhelming! If I ever decide to make this again I don't know if I would use any parsley. It was very disappointing because the other components of the soup were tasty. Pros: The orzo and potato Cons: Parsley
January 11, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Tasty and healthy meal on winter nights Very nutritious and delicious soup that even my picky husband liked! Will definitely make it again....a keeper!
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