Soup weather is kind of almost sort of here! The nights here in NY are cooling off and sometimes the days are too. I eagerly anticipate Fall every year and have caught myself wearing long-sleeved shirts hoping it will stay as cool as it is when I wake up. This usually results in me sweating a lot and cursing and admitting that it’s not *quite* Autumn but the leaves are changing so it’s close!
I do not like minestrone soup. I’m not sure why. This led me to the misapprehension that I don’t love tomato based soups — not true! Because I love this soup. I was slightly intimidated by roasting my own garlic (who has the bloody time to roast garlic?! Oh! It takes 15 minutes? And I can put it on a baking sheet next to my son’s chicken nuggets? Hmmm…I guess I have time to roast garlic.) It’s not a big deal.
This soup I put together while making a separate dinner for my toddler so that should tell you that it’s not too hard. I also bought pre-chopped onions from the market. Sue me.
This feels healthy and filling which can be a fine line to walk. Or eat. My husband, who loves tomato-based soups, really liked this too. I didn’t have pesto and therefore didn’t use it. Still good! Didn’t have dried oregano or thyme but used fresh thyme from the garden. Still good! Definitely a good one for company.
For me, it is essential to garnish with healthy (read: obscene) amounts of grated or shaved Parmesan cheese. It gives it that tangy, salty contrasting taste that really made this for me. Cheesy toast might also work well although the orzo makes this quite a filling meal and you might not want more carbs.
Italian Orzo Tomato Spinach Soup from Little Spice Jar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1//2 cups chopped onions
- 1¼ cup carrots, sliced into ½ inch rounds
- 1 cup celery
- 6 cloves of roasted garlic (see notes)
- 6½ cups of vegetable stock (or chicken)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1½ tablespoons pesto
- 1½ cups orzo (whole wheat or regular)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 3 cups baby spinach, packed
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them for 4-5 minutes until they get soft. Add the carrots, celery, and roasted garlic and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add the stock, along with the tomatoes, pesto, orzo, thyme, Italian seasoning, and oregano, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and let the orzo pasta cook to al-dente, about 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
- Just before serving, add the baby spinach and continue to cook for 1 minutes or until the spinach gets nice and bright green and wilts down. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
To roast your own garlic: Heat an oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Peel off most of the paper from the garlic, leaving the head intact with the cloves attached. Trim the top off the head of garlic by ¼ inch. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and bake for 40 minutes. Check the garlic, it is done when the center clove is completely soft with pierced with a paring knife. Continue roasting for an additional 5 -10 minutes to help deepen the golden color and caramelize further. Exact roasting time may vary due to size. Garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and frozen for up to 3 months.