Monday, January 9, 2012

Kale Orzo Chickpea Soup

It's cold and flu season.


This is according to my own very scientific polling, which consists of having just gotten sick myself and knowing a number of people who are also sniffling and hacking away. Like I said, very scientific.

I'm recovering from some kind of death flu situation. My husband now appears to be succumbing to my killer germs (though he tends to handle illness better than me—less complaining and feeling sorry for himself/more sucking it up).

On Saturday, I helped to throw a baby shower for a friend who is pregnant with twin girls (what an adventure that's going to be!). Almost everybody, including two of the other hosts, were sick or getting over something. It's going around people—so wash your hands, sanitize yourself, consider hunkering down in a bomb shelter until the season passes. You get the idea—whatever floats your boat.

Whenever I get sick, I go on a soup only diet. It is my own personal penicillin (and thank god, since I'm deathly allergic to real penicillin). Soup is the best medicine for anything sniffly, fevery, coughy. In my book, the saltier and the heartier, the better. It's warm and comforting.

In short, it makes me feel less hellish.

So in honor of cold and flu season (or just if you're feeling chilled by the januaryness), this recipe for Kale Orzo Chickpea Soup is the perfect antidote. It has a nice seasonal vibe with the addition of kale (not to mention vitamins and nutrients). The chickpeas provide protein and a Mediterranen feel, as does the orzo. I use a whole wheat variety that I found at Whole Foods, but regular works, too. Rounding out the soup and imbuing it with more heartiness are a few baby potatoes that I tossed in.

And frankly, doesn't everything taste better with potatoes?

I prefer a chicken stock for this soup, but vegetable would taste great too (and veganize the recipe). If you're not sniffling, then shave a little Parmesan Reggiano on top at the end. It's fabulous.

Kale Orzo Chickpea Soup
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Print Recipe


  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orzo (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock may be subbed)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • optional: parmesan reggiano for serving

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the kale, chickpeas, potatoes, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the orzo and bring to a simmer. Cook until the orzo is tender (about 10 minutes for my whole wheat variety, but check package instructions).
  4. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. For serving, ladle into bowls and top with a little grated parmesan reggiano if desired. Serve with warm, crusty bread. Enjoy!


  1. We had this for dinner a couple of nights ago and it was good. I just used regular russet potatoes and some turkey bone broth I'd just made, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. It's almost too thick to be considered soup and the leftover noodles definitely soak up any remaining broth, creating a hearty pasta dish that's not soup at all, but I liked it. Filling, inexpensive, simple. :)

    1. Thanks Bethany! Glad you enjoyed it. You can always add more broth to make it more "soupy" if you want. If you keep it in the fridge, the noodles will absorb the liquid. Homemade turkey broth sounds delicious! xx

    2. Oh, I liked it not-so-soupy and the leftovers were even better. :)