Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

8 ounces orzo

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 carrots, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

3 (32-ounce) cartons chicken broth

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

8 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped

1 (8 ounce) package baby spinach leaves

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook orzo in boiling water until partially cooked, 5 minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir carrots, celery and onion until the vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season with thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper and bay leaf. Pour chicken broth into the pot and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir orzo, lemon juice and lemon zest into the broth; add chicken. Cook until the chicken and orzo are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add baby spinach; cook until the spinach wilts into the broth. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

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