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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Kale
“This healthy, easy soup is loaded with vegetables, protein and fiber to keep you full and fueled. Serve this winter soup topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a side of garlic toast.”
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano and/or thyme, divided
1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
⅔ cup orzo pasta, preferably whole-wheat
4 cups chopped kale
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon each oregano (and/or thyme), salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
2Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and the remaining ½ teaspoon oregano (and/or thyme). Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
3Add broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add kale and the chicken, along with any accumulated juices. Continue cooking until the orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes more.
4Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.