Although I just shared a list of 11 One-Pot Mediterranean Recipes, I could not help but add a new favorite here: Mediterranean Shrimp Orzo Soup. Step-by-step tutorial below the recipe.
The best way to describe this simple shrimp orzo soup is this: warming, but not coma-inducing.
This orzo soup is one you can certainly make on cooler fall days or in the deep of winter. But if you choose to make it on warmer days, you will regret absolutely nothing! In my opinion, this is a soup for all seasons.
The choice of whole grain orzo pasta lends this soup more fiber and enough body, but keeps the fat content lower. Seared shrimp and scallops add leaner protein, but also lend a bit of a not-your-average-soup feel! I typically only use shrimp, but since I had a small sample of sea scallops, I threw them in. Feel free to adapt the recipe to what seafood you have on hand!
No surprise to you, I begin the flavoring process by sauteing garlic and onion along with my bell peppers. But the addition of fresh parsley, dill–which I think is the forgotten herb– and lemon juice, add a uniquely Mediterranean finish to this orzo soup. No, you may not skip this part, it wakes everything up!
- 8 oz Sea Scallops, side muscles removed (optional)
- Salt and black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb Prawns Or Large Shrimp of choice
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano, divided
- 7 cup vegetable broth
- 3 large tomatoes, diced (canned diced tomato will work as well)
- 1 cup orzo pasta (whole grain pasta preferred)
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill, stems removed
- 1 lemon, juice of
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gently add the sea scallops. Sear for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Scallops should form a golden brown crust. Sprinkle a large pinch of dried oregano. Transfer to a dish and set aside for now.
- To the same cast iron skillet, add a little more oil if needed. Once oil is heated, add the shrimp. Sear on both sides until pink. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle a generous pinch of dried oregano.
- In a medium heavy cooking pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high. Add the chopped peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, salt and the remaining dried oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook on medium-high for 3-5 more minutes.
- When the liquid returns to a boil, add the orzo pasta. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 8 minutes until the orzo is tender.
- Stir in the baby spinach, parsley, dill, and lemon juice.
- Finally, add in the cooked scallops and shrimp. Cook very briefly until everything is warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, if you like. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.
Step-by-Step photos for Shrimp Orzo Soup:
Clean and pat the scallops so they’re nice and dry.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. Add the sea scallops. Sear the scallops on each side for about 1 1/2 minutes until a nice golden brown crust forms. Finish with a pinch of dried oregano, and transfer the scallops to a different dish until later.
Do the same with the shrimp. Add more oil in you trusted cast iron skillet. When the oil is hot, throw in the shrimp. Cook on both sides until nice and pink. Remove from heat and finish with a generous pinch of dried oregano. Set aside for now.
Begin to make the orzo soup. In a heavy cooking pot (this is the one I use), heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high. Throw in the chopped peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, salt and the rest of the dried oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, and stir to avoid anything sticking to the cooking pot.
Pour in the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil.
Once the liquid is boiling, add the tomatoes (or diced canned tomato if you like). Cook on medium-high for a few minutes, about 3-5 minutes or so. You’ll want the liquid to return to a boil, then add the orzo pasta. Turn the heat down to medium (or medium-low, if your stove is too powerful) and cook for another 8 minutes until the orzo pasta is nice and tender.
Now it’s time to stir in the baby spinach and the delicate parsley and dill. Add the lemon juice as well. Give everything a good stir to combine.
Now stir in the cooked scallops and shrimp. Cook until all is nicely warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking; add more salt or dried oregano if you like. I also like to add a pinch of crushed red pepper for some heat. Serve hot with your favorite crusty bread!
Recommended for this recipe: Cast Iron Skillet
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