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Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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A perfect take on the popular Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo soup! A healthy and fresh soup bursting with bright lemony flavors and tender orzo pasta!

A perfect take on the popular Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo soup!

I can have soup always and forever. Love the stuff. From an ailing heart, a cruddy day at the office or when Chiberia refuses to let the warm weather come in…

It’s only January and already I am aching for the spring weather to roll on in. I find myself wondering in the midst of all this depressing cold if the actual spring will ever make its appearance. My bright, cheery clothes are aching to be shown off and to replace the bulky sweaters and Northface jackets I have been sporting to keep my warm in the winter. But this is Chicago…so I am betting spring may eventually roll around in May…possibly June.

And so on one such frigid day last week, I decided to stop by and get the munchkin and me some soup for a quick lunch. Panera is always my go-to for a quick lunch. Their soup varieties are always a great pick me up for the munchkin and me…who just so happens to love soup as much as I do.

I do love their broccoli cheddar soup, but the fat content is just too high for this girl, who is trying to get Robo hot for her the summer…

SIDE NOTE: This was a term coined by a co-worker at work…I guess it means UBER hot…Not sure when robots became super hot…except in Austin Powers…Elizabeth Hurley was a hot robot…

SIDE NOTE 2: I created the Broccoli Cheddar Soup and it’s awesome…for those days when you are not getting Robo hot.

ANNNNNNNYWAY… I usually get the French onion soup for myself and the chicken noodle for munchkin. But this time, I saw a nice and healthy lemon orzo soup and I knew I must instantly have it!

Both the munchkin and I gobbled up all our soup and she ended up chewing on the bread from my bread bowl when I was done.

After practically licking our plates clean, I set out to replicate my fave restaurant find at home…one of my favorite feats. And I have to say, it is a pretty spot on duplicate. The flavor is super bright and it almost has a velvety finish because some of the starch that escapes the orzo thickens up the soup perfectly. It came together super quickly as well because I used some leftover rotisserie chicken breast in the fridge.

We start simply enough with a large pot and 1 tbsp of butter in it over medium heat.

And dice up an onion. By the way, this nifty little dough cutter is also used as a chop and scoop in my house 🙂

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

And add all the veggies to the pot with 3 cloves of garlic minced on a microplaner. You want them to sweat: Medium heat, covered with lid, no caremalization. Let that happen for about 15 minutes until fragrant.

Add 8 cups or 2 quarts of chicken BROTH. Notice I say broth not stock. Why? Because the broth is a much lighter and more delicate flavor. I tried this with stock and I was not as happy with the deep flavor. It would be better with homemade broth but if your only option is store bought stick to the broth.

Go ahead and add the juice and zest of 1.5 lemons. I like mine super lemony so I added in the juice and zest of 2.

Let the soup come up to a simmer. In the meantime, measure out 1/4 a cup of orzo and chop up a handful of Italian parsley.

Once the soup has reached a simmer, add the orzo and your shredded chicken to the soup. If you are using raw chicken, you can just roast off the chicken for 20 minutes on 450-degrees in the oven with the skin on and bone in sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then remove the skin and shred with your fingers or two forks. You can also cut into cubes. You can also just add raw chicken breast to the soup when you pour in broth and shred or dice before you add in the spinach. Whatever floats your soup boat 🙂

And then add my magic ingredient. Better Than Bouillion. I talk about it a whole load here. I put in 2 tablespoons. Just whatever you do remember, it reaches its ultimate flavor when it boils. So add, stir, allow to boil and taste. Otherwise you can end up with a pot of salt.

Once the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes, turn the heat off. Add a cup of baby spinach and the chopped parsley.

Mix well to combine.

Don’t forget to taste for seasoning and lemon.

Slurp away and kill those winter blues.

And stop going to Panera and make your own at home! Your wallet and belly will thank you 🙂

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Panera CopyCat…Lemon Orzo Soup



  • Author:
    Mila Furman


Print Recipe

Description

A perfect take on the popular Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo soup! A healthy and fresh soup bursting with bright lemony flavors and tender orzo pasta!


Ingredients


Scale

  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (cut into rounds or dice)
  • 2 stalks of celery (cut into half moons)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • juice and zest of 1.5 lemons
  • 1 large chicken breast shredded or diced into bit size pieces
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta or any other small pasta like ditalini or stars
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • Better Than Bouillion (as necessary)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Instructions

  1. We start simply enough with a large pot and 1 tbsp of butter in it over medium heat.
  2. And dice up an onion. By the way, this nifty little dough cutter is also used as a chop and scoop in my house 🙂 Chop up 2 carrots into half moons or dice and 2 celery stalks.
  3. And add all the veggies to the pot with 3 cloves of garlic minced on a microplaner. You want them to sweat: Medium heat, covered with lid, no caremalization. Let that happen for about 15 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add 8 cups or 2 quarts of chicken BROTH. Notice I say broth not stock. Why? Because the broth is a much lighter and more delicate flavor. I tried this with stock and I was not as happy with the deep flavor. It would be better with homemade stock but if your only option is store bought stick to the broth.
  5. Go ahead and add the juice and zest of 1.5 lemons. I like mine super lemony so I added in the juice and zest of 2.
  6. Let the soup come up to a simmer. In the meantime, measure out 1/4 a cup of orzo and chop up a handful of Italian parsley.
  7. Once the soup has reached a simmer, add the orzo and your shredded chicken to the soup. If you are using raw chicken, you can just roast off the chicken for 20 minutes on 450-degrees in the oven with the skin on and bone in sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then remove the skin and shred with your fingers or two forks. You can also cut into cubes. You can also just add raw chicken breast to the soup when you pour in broth. Whatever floats your soup boat 🙂
  8. And then add my magic ingredient. Better Than Bouillion. I talk about it a whole load here. I put in 2 tablespoons. Just whatever you do remember, it reaches its ultimate flavor when it boils. So add, stir, allow to boil and taste. Otherwise you can end up with a pot of salt.
  9. Once the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes, turn the heat off. Add a cup of baby spinach and the chopped parsley.
  10. Mix well to combine.
  11. Don’t forget to taste for seasoning and lemon.
  12. Slurp away and kill those winter….errrr spring blues.

  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American

Want more soupy goodness? Check out this delicious Rustic Turkey Sausage and Kale soup:

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