Chicken and Orzo Light Soup

chicken and orzo soup 4

No matter how hard I try to think and dig my brain, there would not be any interesting memories about soup from my childhood! I don’t think Mom ever made a soup from scratch. It was always the instant, packaged soup that was quickly whipped up to keep us warm during the monsoon season. And, we always loved those packaged soups.

Irrespective of the season, a soup can be the most comforting meal to enjoy with some bread on the side.

Chicken and Orzo Light Soup 1

Although, we mostly prefer a creamy vegetable soup for dinner, this light clear soup was a delightful treat for the tummy. Fresh vegetables, flavored with spices and herbs, meatballs for the extra protein and orzo for that starchy creaminess in the broth.

I am sure even noodles or spaghetti will taste great along with the meatballs. I just decided to use orzo as it’s my personal favorite pasta for any soup. And, it fits perfectly fine next to the tiny meatballs. That’s just my silly theory!

Chicken and Orzo Light Soup 2

For my vegetarian friends who don’t eat meat, I am sure that veg balls will taste equally good. Grate some veggies, add dried herbs or spices, mix it properly, bind it with little bit of flour and you are set to make veg balls for the soup.

The meatballs should be made before you start preparing the soup. It’s just pan fried to give a golden crust and later dropped in the soup to cook through.

Chicken and Orzo Light Soup 3

This soup doesn’t have any rules and you can throw whatever vegetables you like in the pot. Just cook the veggies until they’re tender and soup will be ready for supper. Inspiration for this recipe came from the Bon Appetite Magazine

If you are wondering why the bread looks orange? It’s the compound butter, which I am finding really hard to stay away from!

chicken and orzo soup 5

Meat Balls and Orzo Soup


for the meatballs

  • 1 cup minced chicken
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly grated pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil to pan fry the meatballs

for the soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, cut in bite size
  • 1/2 celery stalk, cut in bite size
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried basil leaves
  • 2 cups of water or broth
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt for seasoning
  • grated parmesan for garnishing


Prepare the meat balls

  1. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients (except oil) and mix until everything is properly combined.
  2. Make tiny balls and keep it aside.
  3. In a pan, heat the oil and fry the meatballs rolling it frequently to give it a nice brown crust.

Prepare the soup

  1. In a deep pan, heat the butter.
  2. Drop grated ginger, bay leaves and give it a stir.
  3. Add celery, carrots and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and add basil leaves. Cook for couple more minutes.
  5. Now, add broth or water to the pan.
  6. Once it starts boiling, add the meatballs and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add orzo to it, season with some more salt and let it cook for 8 minutes.
  8. Pour lemon juice and check for salt one last time.
  9. Discard the bay leaves and serve the soup with some grated parmesan on top for garnish.


The cooking time of meatballs will depend on the size of the balls. Orzo takes about 7 to 8 minutes to cook and keep that in mind before you drop orzo in the soup.

Chicken and Orzo Light Soup 4

Did you enjoy this Chicken and Orzo Light Soup? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Simone
    April 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Wow! Love the photos and the styling Kankana! Gorgeous!! And that soup sounds pretty good too. I love soup!

  • Nandita
    April 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Awesome recipe and great styling. I can’t wait to try the veggie version of this recipe Kankana 🙂

  • Rosa
    April 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    What a beautiful soup and gorgeous pictures! Wonderful.



  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    April 13, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Beautiful pictures! I love clear soups as they are lite an filling at the same time 🙂

  • nisha
    April 13, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    superlike the soup bowl n it does look comforting. its still soup weather here, so i might whip some up myself 🙂

  • Spandana
    April 13, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Lovely setup…. and gorgeous pictures!!! Looks very comforting and delicious!

  • Christine
    April 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    As usual beautiful settings and pictures! Bravo! And an additional great recipe. Thanks for sharing,

  • MoonFace
    April 13, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    Lovely pictures. And the soup looks very delicious and comforting. I might do something similar for dinner tonight 🙂

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    April 13, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    I love light soup like this – making me feel that I’m doing great job eating healthy and light food for my dieting and at the same time it’s really delicious that I don’t mind as a main food. Your last picture looks DELICIOUS!!

  • Jeno @ Week Nite Meals
    Jeno @ Week Nite Meals
    April 13, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Goodness I just love your photography! I remember craving light soup while pregnant, could have it everyday and every meal. Yum!

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    April 13, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    I am in love with for photography Kankana…..
    Beautiful Recipe!!!!
    I love the pic of orzo….. Really lovely shades…..

  • Krithi
    April 13, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Simply awesome photography dear… you rock!

  • s
    April 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    really pretty pics, K. and i love how you’ve made the meatballs with chicken instead of the usual red meat. x s

  • Sandra's Easy Cookin
    Sandra's Easy Cookin
    April 13, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Talk about gorgeous!! Loving your pics, recipe and presentation! In all aspects it is perfect bowl of soup!

  • Kiri W.
    Kiri W.
    April 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    This looks wonderfully flavorful and wholesome 🙂 Orzo is such a lovely pasta!

  • Rekha Kakkar
    Rekha Kakkar
    April 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Soups have always been my favvorite comfort food ,sometimes hearty and full bodied and at other times clear and very light, Your version is looking very appetizing…. Going to try this version with paneer balls!

  • Sara{OneTribeGourmet}
    April 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Soups are good for the soul..I can live on soup and yours looks so hearty & delish! My mom always made soup for us growing up in frigid Pennsylvania!

  • Asmita
    April 13, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    What a gorgeous soup. Absolutely love it. This soup reminds me of Italian wedding soup a bit which is my favorite.

  • Sneh | Cook Republic
    Sneh | Cook Republic
    April 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Such a beautiful soup Kankana. I love the opening shot. I love risoni and use it for salads, the boys still need to be older to enjoy highly textured soup I think, they are so fussy, lol.

  • Shumaila
    April 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Lovely photographs, Kankana and the recipe sounds delicious!

  • Yadsia @ShopCookMake
    Yadsia @ShopCookMake
    April 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    This definitely looks like a plate of comfort. Soups are so good!

  • maha
    April 13, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Wow delicious..can just imagine the taste..yummy soup..awesum pics..

  • tigerfish
    April 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    I can have soup any season. I like your chicken meatballs spiced with cumin powder and chili. They are good addition to make the orzo soup complete.

  • Nash at plateful
    Nash at plateful
    April 14, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    My family has a huge thing for clear soups, we love it much more than the creamy ones. The thing is, I’m going through one of those I-don’t-want-to-cook spell, or else I’d have enjoyed making this wonderful one-pot! And oh really love that picture of orzo, also all the photos of your last post. And I must say that I’ve been coveting your prop collection ever since I saw those spoons on pinterest 🙂

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    April 14, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Oh ..I am gonna make it with my veggie balls..looks wonderful!

  • Sandra
    April 14, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    Amazing presentation! I think soup should be enjoyed year round and I’m looking forward to trying this.

  • Poornima
    April 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    Looks so warm and inviting! Love the styling Kankana!

  • Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    [email protected]
    April 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I Love your soup pot.So pretty. Clear Chicken soup is my all time fav – combined with orzo, this looks yum!

  • San
    April 14, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    What a comfort soup on a cold day, liked your version of chicken meat balls n some great hints for veggie lovers too. Loved the pics kankana.

  • Kala
    April 14, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Your photos make this soup look absolutely delicious to try!

  • Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    April 15, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    the soup bowl is so pretty, love all the pics… and that soup looks super hearty and delecious too, must have tasted awesome with crunchy garlic bread im sure

  • easyfoodsmith
    April 15, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    A beautiful and satisfying bowl of soup. The crusty bread with compound butter is a lovely accompanying flavour. Congrats on top 9.

  • Maja
    April 15, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    I love it! Gorgeous photos Kankana!

  • Debs
    April 15, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    My mum never made soup either, always from a tin!

    Oh this looks and sounds so delicious, I never think of putting orzo in soup, have a packet in the cupboard too, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon. Different theme each month.

  • Soma
    April 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Very beautiful! The food the photographs and everything else here. Its raining here and what a perfect meal this would make. (only if you could come over and make it for me :D) xo

  • Fiona
    April 15, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    That looks absolutely amazing. Especially here in San Francisco on a not so warm spring day (while the rest of the country is having some gorgeous sun). Really enjoy your photography as well. How did you light it?

  • sally
    April 15, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I’ll have to try using orzo in soup. It sounds like a nice addition.

  • pavithra
    April 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Mmmmmmmm I am soupy person..this looks so comforting and lovely pictures 🙂

  • torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    April 15, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    delicious looking meal and presentation

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    April 15, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Gorgeous styling — I love a simple, comforting and light soups similar to this recipe 🙂

  • Alyssa
    April 16, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    There is just something about soup, even if it is instant that is just comforting. Your soup certainly looks light, but still hearty enough to be filling. As always, beautiful photos!

  • Kaitlin
    April 16, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    I love how comforting this soup looks! I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to make me chicken pastina soup and called it Kaitlin Soup. I seriously thought it was my very own soup until, oh, college! 🙂

  • Deepa
    April 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I am a soupy person and this bowl of soup with meat balls is screaming my attention. Loved the way you have presented.

  • lisaiscooking
    April 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I’m a fan of orzo in soup too, and it looks great with the chicken meatballs. Sounds like a light but satisfying soup!

  • Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice
    April 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Such a beautiful soup, and as always, amazing photos!

  • Lisa H
    Lisa H
    April 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Wow.. love the styling and the photos… simple gorgeous 😀

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    April 17, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    5 stars on the food styling. 5 stars on the ingredients and flavors and 5 stars on making the absolutely perfect comfort food! i love it!

  • Sukanya
    April 17, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    Love ur soup bowl, so pretty and offcourse the beautiful presentation, thoough I am yet to try orzo, clear chicken soup any day 🙂

  • Ira Rodrigues
    Ira Rodrigues
    April 18, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    so beautiful presentations! If you serve me this soup i would have bring the bowl to my home! lol

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