Turkish Tomato Orzo Soup Recipe packs a ton of flavor with fewer than 10 ingredients in just 20 minutes. The combination of tomatoes, lemon, parsley and orzo makes the easiest pasta soup ever. You can always customize it with whatever vegetable you have on hand.
If you love to use orzo pasta in your cooking, check out our Mediterranean orzo salad too!
January and February are always the hardest months to get through. It’s dark, cold and summer seems all too far away. On this freezing day, I’d love to share mom’s orzo soup recipe, which used to be my favorite as a child. Like all Turkish moms, she used to make Tomato Chicken Orzo Soup when someone in the family got a cold, but other than that her ultimate soup was this simple version.
Tomato orzo soup is one of the most popular dishes in Turkey. We love it because it brings the flavor of summer tomatoes into our kitchen at any time of year. Plus it’s so quick that you have time to cuddle up on the couch and relax at the end of the day, instead of standing over the stove.
How to Make
This soup is ridiculously easy to make.
First, cook the sun-dried tomato paste in oil for less than a minute over medium low heat, stirring quickly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add finely chopped tomatoes and dried mint.
Next, add in water. Once the water starts to boil, it’s time to add the orzo and parsley. Orzo is a pasta so it doesn’t take long to cook, making this recipe extra fast to make. The soup is then finished with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for balance. Feel free to add more lemon juice for a lemon orzo soup.
- I find grating the tomatoes easier than chopping them finely. That’s something I learnt from mom. So you can do the same if grating is easier for you too. You can do the same even when making homemade tomato soup with fresh tomatoes. Also, if tomatoes aren’t in season or good ones are hard to find, you can use canned tomatoes.
- Another thing I learnt from mom is that adding the parsley with all its stems makes the soup even more flavorful. Don’t chop them if you don’t like it when pieces of stems float on your soup. Put the parsley sprigs in the pot as they are and leave them in the pot or just remove them when serving the soup.
- In Turkish cuisine, when making this soup, we use a combination of pepper paste and tomato paste, but just tomato paste is fine too.
While I was searching whether this Turkish style soup with orzo has a place in other cuisines, I came across with various orzo soup recipes.
To make a Greek lemon orzo soup, saute finely chopped onion in the oil until softened. Then add the tomato paste and continue with the recipe as written. Feta is a great final touch for this Greek variation when serving.
For an Italian wedding soup with orzo recipe, use the vegetables like onion, celery, carrot and spinach besides meatballs.
For a chicken orzo soup, you can add cooked shredded chicken a few minutes before finishing the soup. Beef or turkey meatballs are also a great option for some added protein.
Is It Vegan?
One of my favorite things about this soup is that it doesn’t require beef or chicken stock. All you need is water. It also doesn’t use any dairy, making it 100% vegan. Although orzo is a pasta and most pastas are made with egg, many orzo brands sold in stores are suitable for vegans. Just check the packaging before you buy!The tomatoes and garlic add all the flavor you’ll need. And the mint and parsley give it a fresh twist.
That said, if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, feel free to use chicken or beef stock as a substitute for the water.
Is It Gluten-Free?
Whether or not this orzo soup recipe is gluten-free is dependent on the orzo you use. You can find gluten-free orzo or pasta brands at markets, so if you use one of them instead of regular orzo, your soup will be gluten-free.
How To Reheat
Just like the cooking process, reheating this soup is incredibly easy. You can use a microwave or do it on a stovetop. When reheating, it’s important to note that the orzo absorbs more liquid as it sits over time, so you’ll need to add water before heating again.
How To Freeze
My orzo soup is easy to freeze and reheat (as mentioned above) but I find that there’s really no need since it’s so fast and easy to make. You can halve or double the amounts as needed to serve the right number of people and stir it all together in under 20 minutes.
I hope you enjoy adding my Turkish tomato orzo soup to your weekday dinner rota! Also, you should check out Winter Minestrone and Easy Kale Soup with White Beans and Potatoes.
More Soup Recipes
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
Sign up for the FREE GiveRecipe Newsletter to get the new recipes into your inbox! And stay in touch with us on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram for all the latest updates.
Turkish Tomato Orzo Soup
Orzo soup with tomatoes, garlic, dried mint, parsley and lemon juice. So easy to make yet tastes so good.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 5 cups water
- ⅓ cup orzo
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 sprigs parsley, not chopped
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat olive oil in a pot. Add in tomato paste, tomatoes and dried mint. Cook over medium low heat until tender. You can add a little water if it gets too thick.
- Pour water and bring it to boil.
- Add in orzo and parsley when it boils and cook until orzo gets tender.
- Add in salt and lemon juice.
- Serve hot.
In Turkish cuisine, when making the soup, we sometimes use a combination of pepper paste and tomato paste, but just tomato paste is fine too.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 96
- Sugar: 1.5 g
- Sodium: 373.1 mg
- Fat: 7.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
- Protein: 1.5 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: orzo soup, orzo soup recipe, tomato orzo soup
If I want to use the pepper paste, too, should I halve the tomato or just add pepper paste, and how much? Thank you!
Hi Chris, it's up to your taste. What I would do is to add one teaspoon pepper paste and I wouldn't decrease the amount of tomato paste.
Wow! This is such an easy soup recipe! I added some vegetables like spinach and carrots in mine and my son gobbled it up! Thanks!
Hi Alison! Yours sounds even tastier and more filling. YUM!
Made this today was great will make it again!!
Thank you Stephanie! Great to hear that this is a helpful recipe for you. One of our favorite soups in fall and winter.
what is pepper paste and where can I get it?
It is something like tomato paste, just darker and thicker than it. Maybe you can find it at middle east markets. Use tomato paste or pureed tomato instead if you can't find.
Oops, that was suppose to be Roma tomatoes.
Tomato paste is a special Turkish ingredient. Red bell peppers are pureed and waited under sun for about a week or more. You might find it at Middle East markets.
I peel just a small part of it and start grating from there. It's atomatically peeled as you grate and leave the skin out. As for the type of tomatoes, use the one with a strong red color as we want our soup to be reddish.
What is pepper paste and how do u grate ur tomato....is it with the skin on, do u use Romans or large tomatoes? Sorry, I just have never heard of grating tomatoes before....I must be hanging with the wrong crowd !! 😉
Question, why grating a tomato vs finely chopping it? Grating is SO messy and I would imagine dangerous. Thank you for the answer.
You can chop the tomato finely too, the taste won't change. I just find grating easier than chopping finely.
thank you..i will try again.. in the picture here it looks so tomato red so i thought the measurements were off..but I shall try again adding more paste or decreasing water and using more broth for flavor..i also didnt add the fresh tomato and that might help..thanks again..and love your blog!
this soup looked so delicious and easy ..but when i made it it was not very tomotoey. are you sure the measurements are ok for an american kicthen..it was very watery..please help..how long did you fry the tomotoe paste in the oil at first?
You can fry tomato paste just a few minutes before adding water. This is how hubby makes it, but you can change the measurement. If yours is watery, then you can decrease the amount of water or increase the amount of orzo.
Orzo soup. Sounds just about perfect with the changing weather. Thanks again for sharing with me. You know how to make me smile. I hope you have a blessed weekend!
Hepimiz bu harika çorba ile büyüdük. Hala en sevdiğim çorbadır. Özellikle de taze domates ve bol maydanoz ile. Çok lezzetli görünüyor, ellerine sağlık Zerrin'ciğim.
Roxana GreenGirl says
When I was a kid my grandma used to add lots of pasta to soups. Later I didn't want any soup that had pasta. Now, that I'm a mother I add past to my daughter's soup. Her favorite pasta shapes are orzo and the little wheels.
This looks so good. I don't believe I've ever had orzo. I'll have to look for it and give it a try!
This sounds so lovely and comforting! Orzo is my favorite pasta to add to soups~