Chicken Meatball and Orzo Soup


Melissa Rubel Jacobson cleverly uses chicken sausage here: removing the casings, shaping the meat into balls, browning them and simmering them in chicken broth. If you have leftover cooked rice on hand, feel free to substitute it for the orzo. Fast and Easy Chicken Recipes

Chicken Meatball–and–Orzo Soup
Photo: © Yunhee Kim
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 cup orzo

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 pound fresh chicken sausage, such as sweet Italian, casings discarded and meat rolled into twenty 1-inch meatballs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • One 5-ounce bag baby spinach (5 cups)


  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the orzo until it is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the orzo under cold water until cool.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chicken meatballs and cook over moderately high heat until they are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the garlic to the pot and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the broth and simmer until they are cooked through, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the baby spinach and cooled orzo to the simmering broth and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted and the soup is piping hot, about 1 minute. Ladle the meatball-and-orzo soup into shallow bowls and serve.

Make Ahead

The chicken soup and cooked orzo can be refrigerated separately overnight. Add the cooked orzo and baby spinach just before heating and serving.

Suggested Pairing

Bright, citrusy Pinot Grigio from northern Italy's Alto Adige region.

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