Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup with Mini Turkey Meatballs
This is one of those soups you just can’t stop eating. The idea first came to me because I wanted to make something reminiscent of those good old Spaghetti-O’s you probably had as a kid.
Except you know, I figured we’d elevate the flavor a bit with plenty of herbs, spices, pesto-infused mini turkey meatballs, orzo (cause we’re grown-ups now) and a creamy sweet coconut milk tomato broth that’s simply OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS.
I first shared this wonderful creamy tomato orzo soup recipe back in January of 2021 — the time of year when all of that annoying hype to “detox” and focus on what to stop doing seems to be everything. Whenever I see those types of messages, whether it’s in the new year or during the holiday season, I like to remind myself what I can add to my life. We can truly “reset” by slowing down, rejuvenating and grounding ourselves, moving more intentionally, finding ways to connect with people, and of course, nourishing our bodies with food that’s just as comforting as it is nutrient-dense. AKA it’s the perfect time to show ourselves some love with a big bowl of nutritious grown-up Spaghetti-O’s — are you down?
Trust your girl, and make this soup. You’ll love it and your kids will love it. The end.
What is orzo?
Orzo is a type of pasta that’s cut short to look like long grain rice. It’s similar in texture to rice but I love the extra delicious chewiness that it gives to soups and traditional pasta dishes. I like to use it similarly to pearl couscous like in my famous chicken soup recipe.
Ingredients in this orzo tomato soup
This super creamy tomato orzo soup uses tons of pantry staples for a wonderful, easy weeknight dinner that’s basically a hug in a bowl. There’s truly nothing better than healthy comfort food when it’s cold outside. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- For the mini turkey meatballs: we’re using lean ground turkey, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. I also added in a bit of basil pesto and it was truly phenomenal! My son loved the meatballs on their own, too! Feel free to try my homemade pesto for the ultimate treat.
- Veggies: you’ll need an onion, carrot & spinach.
- For the broth: the creamy tomato broth is made with garlic, canned crushed tomatoes, light coconut milk (from the can), chicken broth, more Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
- Orzo: you’ll also need some dry orzo to throw in and make the soup extra delicious.
Easy ways to customize this tomato orzo soup
This wonderful soup is easy to customize with different ingredient swaps to make it your own. Here’s what I can recommend:
- Go gluten free. Simply use a gluten free orzo or swap the orzo for rice, and use gluten free breadcrumbs in the meatballs.
- Keep it vegetarian. Feel free to omit the meatballs and add a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas if you’d like extra protein. Then be sure to use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
- Try a new pasta shape. This orzo tomato soup would be delicious with your fav pasta shape like elbows or even spaghetti-o’s.
How to make creamy orzo tomato soup with turkey meatballs
- Make your mini meatballs. You’ll first form the meatballs by mixing the ingredients together in a large bowl and then rolling together ½ inch mini meatballs. Brown these cuties in a skillet and set them aside.
- Saute your veggies. Then you’ll cook down the garlic, onion and carrot a bit so that they soften.
- Put it all together. Stir in the rest of your ingredients besides the spinach, carefully stir in your meatballs, and let it all simmer and cook. Add your spinach right at the end just so that it wilts.
- Serve it up. Serve with extra pesto if you’d like, parmesan, crackers and maybe some homemade garlic bread!
Try it in your slow cooker
Yes, this easy turkey meatball tomato orzo soup can be made in your slow cooker for ease!
- Brown your meatballs as-directed and set aside.
- Add the rest of your ingredients besides the orzo & spinach to your slow cooker. Stir in the meatballs and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
- Once done cooking, add the orzo and spinach, cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes or until the orzo is al dente.
If you’re crunched for time, you can also skip the meatball rolling and simply brown your ground turkey in a skillet completely with the same spices listed, then proceed with the recipe as directed. It will still be delicious!
You could also fully cook your meatballs 1-2 days beforehand and simply stir them into the soup when it’s about done cooking.
Storing & freezing
- In the refrigerator: this creamy tomato orzo soup will stay good in your fridge for about 3-5 days, though I doubt it will last that long! Once your soup is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you’d like to meal prep it). To reheat it, simply do so in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop.
- In the freezer: follow the instructions above, but instead of placing the soup in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw the soup overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
More delicious soup recipe
Get all of my soup recipes here!
I hope you love this wonderful creamy turkey meatball tomato orzo soup! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup with Mini Turkey Meatballs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Deliciously creamy orzo tomato soup with protein-packed mini turkey meatballs simmered in a flavorful coconut milk tomato broth. This satisfying, healthy turkey meatball tomato orzo soup packs in protein & veggies from spinach and carrots and is delicious with a touch of basil pesto!
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Optional (but recommended): 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, for cooking
- For the soup:
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can light coconut milk
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 6 ounces uncooked orzo (or about 1 cup uncooked orzo)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For mix-ins:
- 2-3 cups organic spinach
- For serving:
- Fresh shredded parmesan cheese
- Extra basil pesto
In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, pesto, salt and pepper. Mix together until well combined and roll into approximately 40-45 1/2 inch mini sized meatballs.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add meatballs in batches and brown on all sides. This will take about 5-6 minutes per batch. You don’t need to cook them all the way through, as they will finish cooking in the soup. Once meatballs have browned nicely, transfer them to a large plate and set aside.
In a large pot, add in ½ tablespoon olive oil and place over medium heat. Add in garlic, onion and carrot and saute until onion and carrots slightly soften, about 3-5 minutes. Next add in crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, orzo, salt and pepper and stir well. Add in browned meatballs back into the soup. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally stir in spinach and cook for another minute or until spinach wilts. Taste soup and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more salt and pepper if you’d like.
Serve soup immediately with extra basil pesto swirled in, parmesan, crackers and/or garlic bread. Serves 6.
See the full post for tips, tricks and ways to customize this tomato orzo soup, including how to make it in your slow cooker!
Servings: 6 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 6)
Saturated fat: 5.5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on January 31st, 2021, and republished on October 31st, 2022.