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Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, Kale and Mushrooms

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Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, Kale and Mushrooms | Something New For Dinner I think of this Lemon Chicken Soup as Flu Soup or Cold Soup, because it is just what I want to eat when I have a cold or the flu. We know now that eating chicken soup when you are sick is more than an old wives' tale. Lemon chicken soup is easy to digest, the vegetables in the soup help boost the immune system, the broth hydrates you and the hot soup helps relieve congestion. There is a study in the medical Journal Chest that suggests chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory properties that help you get over a cold or flu. Another study shows that chicken soup may boost the performance of cilia, the fine hairs in our nostrils that repel bacteria. Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, Kale and Mushrooms | Something New For Dinner At any rate, lemon chicken soup is just what my body craves when I am achy, congested and feeling like poop. During the fall and winter I like to make a triple batch and freeze it  so I have a nourishing meal on hand in the event that I or a friend or family member gets sick. This soup, some couch time, a box of kleenex and a good TV series to binge watch is all I need to recover.  

A Riff on Greek Avgolemono Soup

This lemon chicken soup is similar to a Greek avgolemono soup, but doesn't call for eggs. In traditional avegolemono soup eggs are whisked into the stock to form a creamy broth. Lemon, rice or orzo and spinach are also used in many versions of avegolemono soup.   This soup includes chicken, plenty of lemon for extra vitamin C, orzo pasta which is easy to digest, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and baby kale for extra nutrition. It is a citrusy chicken noodle soup with extra veggies.

Prep Suggestions

This is one of those recipes where I don't prep all the ingredients in advance. It is faster to prep as you go. Chop the onions first and then save time by chopping the carrots, celery and mushrooms while the onions are cooking.

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What is Orzo?

Orzo is a small rice-like pasta made out of wheat. It can be made with either white or whole wheat flour. Orzo cooks in about 10 minutes, but will vary slightly by brand and whether it is white or whole wheat orzo. Orzo is a great addition to soups and makes a fantastic pasta salad.

More Soups We Like When We are Ill

Clear broth-based soups, loaded with vegetables and a little protein are our go-to soups when we are ill. Here are two more favorite soups we love when we are sick: Print

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, Kale and Mushrooms

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I think of this Lemon Chicken Soup as flu soup or cold soup, because it is just what I want to eat when I have a cold or the flu. This soup is hydrating, easy to digest, full of nourishing chicken and vegetables and is brightened with lemon juice for extra vitamin C.

  • Cook Time: 1 hours
  • Total Time: 1 hours
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner or lunch
  • Cuisine: New American


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/3 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2/3 cup of orzo
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 t dried dill
  • 3 ounces baby kale
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. When oil is hot add onions and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and chicken thighs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken thighs are done. Remove the thighs from the pot with tongs and set them on a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, chop chicken thighs into 1/2″ pieces.
  3. Add orzo to the pot, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes on medium low. Add chicken pieces, kale, lemon zest, lemon juice and dill to the pot, cook another 2 – 3 minutes to wilt kale.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Serve with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.


  1. When chicken is cooking a foam will appear on the top of the pot. Skim the bulk of the foam off with a spoon and discard. Don’t worry about removing all of the foam. 


  1. Anne Ima says:

    One of the best soups I’ve ever made (and I’ve made a LOT!). Family loved it. I’m going to make a double-batch next time to freeze for when the inevitable cold/flu hits our house. I wouldn’t change a thing in the recipe – it is PERFECT! Thank you, Kim!! 🙂

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      That’s quite a recommendation Anne! Thank you! If you like this recipe I think you might like my Easy Chicken Noodle Soup (it is all about the spices in the broth) and my Chicken Tortilla Soup (a family favorite for nearly 30 years.)

  2. Ohioren says:

    I just tried this 2 days ago. It was taste bud tinglingly delicious. I can’t describe it. Thanks for helping out with these recipes. Sometimes I run out of ideas on what to cook but your blog is helpful.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      I am so happy to be of help. Remember in these times of challenging shopping you can substitute many ingredients. Use this soup recipe as a guideline and then add/substitute whatever ingredients are in your fridge and pantry.

  3. Ohioren says:

    Oh, thank you for your support. This is so reassuring.

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