This Chickpea Lemon Orzo Soup recipe is part of our new budget friendly dinners series! Nutritious, tasty recipes that won't break the bank.
I'm super (souper?) excited for today's post, and not just because this lemon orzo soup recipe achieves the perfect balance between bright and hearty.
This also marks the start of our 4-week budget friendly dinners series! Every Tuesday, for the next four weeks, I'm bringing you one of my favorite budget friendly meals to help you keep those grocery costs down. I think that's something we can all get behind!
I'm a big believer that investing in high quality food is worthwhile but that doesn't mean I don't like to save my grocery dollars where I can. Each of the recipes in this series will provide a low-cost, protein-packed dinner, without sacrificing nutrition or taste.
Deciding which recipe to bring you first was not a difficult choice. Today's Lemon Orzo Soup w/ Chickpeas has so much flavor from the garlic, lemon & herbs de Provence. If you don't have herbs de Provence and don't want to spend the grocery dollars on it, feel free to substitute Italian seasoning. If you make a lot of soups though, I do recommend getting this blend eventually. It really livens up a vegetable soup, adding a bit of an element of surprise.
Make sure to scroll below the recipe for tips on making this recipe even more budget friendly, how to meal prep this soup and more!
Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 bunch celery
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2.5 oz baby kale
- 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup orzo pasta*
- 15 oz chickpeas
- 3 15-oz cans vegetable broth
- 1 T herbs de Provence
- 1 T olive oil
- Mince 3 cloves garlic.
- Chop ½ yellow onion.
- Chop 2 carrots & 3 celery stalks.
- Heat 1T olive oil in a large pot over med heat. Add ½ chopped onion, chopped carrots & chopped celery and cook, stirring, ~ 5 mins.
- Add 3 minced garlic cloves & cook for 1 min.
- Add 45oz vegetable broth and bring to a light boil. Add 15oz drained & rinsed chickpeas, 3/4c orzo, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp pepper & 1T herbs de Provence.
- Turn heat to low and simmer ~10 mins or until orzo is al dente.
- Stir in juice of 1 lemon + 2.5oz baby kale. Simmer for ~10 mins. Serve.
Can't wait until next week for the next recipe? Here are a few additional resources for frugal meal planning to get you started:
- 10 Tips for Frugal Meal Planning
- How to Reduce Food Waste
- 20 Healthy Budget Dinners ($8-$25 for 4 servings)
- How to Spend Less on Groceries – Healthy Food on a Budget
- Grocery Savings – The 5 Best Cheap Protein Sources
- Roundup of Simple & Delicious Recipes Using Beans
Budget Tips – How to Make This an, Even More, Budget Friendly Dinner!
Part of saving money on groceries without sacrificing flavor and nutrition is strategically sourcing ingredients. Here are a few tips on how to make this soup as budget-friendly as possible:
- Cook the chickpeas yourself: Legumes are quite an inexpensive protein source, even if you just buy the cans. If you cook a lot of beans though, you will save money over time if you make them at home from dried instead. You'll also avoid added salt and won't have to worry about BPA, etc.! Luckily, cooking beans is really easy, especially if you have an Instant Pot. This is a great, simple recipe for how to cook chickpeas in the Instant Pot. 1 can is about 1 3/4 cups of chickpeas, which is what you'll need for this recipe. If you make a big batch, add them to salads throughout the week or freeze the chickpeas in 1.75 cup portions for later!
- Make your own broth: Broth is one of those items where once you start making it, you won't believe how easy it is and how much better it tastes than store-bought. I recorded an episode of my podcast, Meal Prep Monday, all about my weekly broth routine. It's so easy, uses kitchen scraps and adds a ton of flavor to any dish!
- Buy herbs & spices in bulk: If your grocery store has bulk bins, this is a great way to buy herbs and spices. I love buying herbs and spices in bulk and transferring to glass jars. This strategy also allows you to purchase only a small amount if you're just trying a spice or you don't think it's one you'll use often.
Does this lemon orzo soup recipe work for meal prep?
Yes! This lemon orzo soup recipe is straight from our Super Fast meal plans. This means not only does it work for meal prep, but the meal prep will also be quick and easy!
First, mince the garlic and store. Next, chop your onion and store. Finally, chop the carrots and celery and store.
If you're going to use this soup for a weeknight dinner and need it ready FAST when you get home, you can also go ahead and cook the whole soup ahead of time as part of your meal prep. You can even freeze it if you're not planning to serve until the end of the week!
Nutritional Highlights for Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup
As I mentioned above, my goal in this series is to share recipes that are easy on your budget, without ever sacrificing nutrition or flavor. Despite being a budget friendly dinner, this meal packs in quite a lot of nutrition. Here are some of the highlights:
Garlic (Beneficial Sulfur Compounds, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium)
Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer. Eating garlic may also help prevent colds and other minor illnesses.
Scientists believe these substantial health benefits may stem primarily from garlic's sulfur compounds such as allicin, diallyl disulfide and sallyl cysteine.
Carrots (Vitamin A, Vitamin K1, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Antioxidants)
Both budget and kid-friendly, carrots are full of fiber and vitamins. Carrots also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant. As a result, they’re great for eye health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing cancer risk. Both cooking carrots and eating them alongside a source of fat, like the beef in this recipe, can help your body absorb more of the carrots' beta carotene. Beta carotene can then be converted into vitamin A.
Celery (Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C)
It's probably most famous for being a low calorie food, but celery is so much more than that! It offers vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, beta carotene and plenty of antioxidants. Celery also may reduce inflammation and support the digestive tract. Make sure to eat the leaves too, they're full of vitamins!
Onion (Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Folate, Potassium)
Did you know that the humble onion is actually packed with antioxidants? Antioxidants help protect you from free radicals that cause things like cancer and heart disease. Onions also have beneficial sulfides and polysulfides which may help protect against cancer.
Chickpeas (Calcium, Iron, Folate, Phosphorus)
Full of calcium, fiber, iron, folate and phosphorus, chickpeas may help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Try to find BPA-free cans when purchasing canned chickpeas.
Kale (Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate)
Kale is high in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. One caveat – if you have thyroid issues, talk to your doctor about whether it's safe for you to consume kale. It's a type of cruciferous vegetable, which can interfere with thyroid function in those with certain conditions.
Lemon (Vitamin C, Citric Acid)
Just one lemon provides 51% of the daily recommended vitamin C. This is important not only to fight colds but for long term health as studies show consuming produce with vitamin C helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Consuming lemons may also help protect against anemia and kidney stones, likely due to their citric acid content.
I want more hearty vegetarian soup recipes!
Vegetarian soups tend to be quite budget-friendly for two reasons. First of all, vegetarian protein sources, like beans, are always less expensive than meat. Second, soup recipes tend to make a lot and can often stretch to more than one meal. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite hearty vegetarian soup recipes.
Vegetable Chowder w/ Almond Flour Biscuits
Cashew cream gives this vegetarian chowder an irresistible creamy texture, while also making it quite filling and satisfying.
Vegetable Bean Soup
This soup relies on pantry and freezer ingredients, which means you can always keep the ingredients on hand for a backup meal! Having backup meals like this means you don't have to resort to expensive takeout.
Red Pepper Soup w/ Sweet Potatoes
This soup is incredibly easy and uses everyday ingredients. It achieves the perfect balance of sweet and savory and makes an excellent budget friendly dinner or lunch!