Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Serves 4

Covering the pot when bringing the liquid to a simmer gets this soup ready even faster.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Step 2

While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.

Step 3

Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

StephanieLark's Review

March 13, 2014
I cannot get enough of this soup. I personally like a brothy soup, so I was sure to cook the orzo separately & then added it individually to the soup bowls before ladling in the hot soup. This kept the leftovers brothy still for the next day. If you want a thicker soup add the orzo when you're cooking the vegetables. The spinach/basil/lemon pesto was a MUST - I doubled the pesto ingredients in this recipe - I loved how the citrus in the pesto brightened all of the flavors of the soup.

MindyH's Review

October 02, 2016
I changed this a lot. I used faro instead of orzo, which I cooked first and then added. I used white wine instead of water. I used salted chicken stock, which took care of the needed salt. I did not make the pesto, but instead added all of the ingredients to the soup except the lemon rind and the Parmesan. I served this with grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top and lemon wedges in case anyone wanted to add some extra zing. Everyone loved it. I will make it again.

LauraD318's Review

November 06, 2013
Soup is my favorite thing to make so trust me, this is a delicious soup! Pretty much followed the recipe but cooked the orzo in the soup instead of cooking it separately. I had the time and didn't want to wash an extra pot. Made it a little thicker then the picture but that's how we like our soups. Don't skip the pesto. It gave the dish such a bright flavor. Made it in my mini processor and had to add a little extra oil to get it to blend properly. So good!

MissONeill's Review

October 20, 2013
Wow! This was great even without the pesto. I made it, but didn't add on top as I am fighting a cold and its fragrance just wasn't appealing. This absolutely took more like an hour, and it needs more water added after the orzo addition. I sprinkled salt into the bowl and then it was quite perfect. Much more than 3 servings left over as well, it must be for 6.

LDombeck's Review

October 14, 2013
This soup was a major hit. Even my 5 year old who HATES soups ate this willingly. It was fresh and tasty. I substituted Great Northern Beans for the cannellini which I think made it even better. Cannellini can sometimes be dry and slighly chalky to me. G.N. beans were really creamy and good in this. Also, I think the nutritional info was off. I usually plug in my ingredients into an app, and this one came out almost twice, so I think it was supposed to serve 6 instead of 4. With the orzo and beans, there is no way it is 189 calories pp for 4 people. It was a lot, so maybe it was a typo for 6 servings. There wasn't an estimated serving size listed for this one either.

Hollybubba's Review

October 07, 2013
Very healthy soup, but I agree with others that it lacked salt. I did add sriracha to my servings and it added that little something that was missing. I used leftover roasted green beans and a combo of spinach, kale and swiss chard. The leftovers were very good, but as with soups containing pasta requires adding some water to loosen it up. Will probably make again with a tweak or two.

TerriS2's Review

September 30, 2013
Made this for company last night! Very very good, but definitely took longer than stated. I would allow at least an extra 20-30 minutes.

bjane1's Review

September 24, 2013
Tasty healthy soup, but I have so many outstanding soup recipes that I probably will not make again. Since my hubbie doesn't care for orzo, I substituted brown rice.

Chrispalma46's Review

September 24, 2013
Delicious diner tonight

MsLaurie's Review

September 22, 2013
THis was very tasty and a healthy serviceable soup ?but it took about 20 minutes longer too cook than the recipe states.