An easy and delicious tomato orzo soup, with oven roasted cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, orzo, basil and homemade croutons. A perfect dinner soup!
Why you'll love this tomato soup
If you were one of the millions of people that tried the baked cherry tomato and feta pasta from Tik Tok this past year, you'll love that this feta tomato orzo soup channels that dish! If not, think of this one as a bit of a Greek inspired tomato orzo soup, with feta and herbs.
Feta is oven roasted with the cherry tomatoes, bringing out all the best flavours of the tomatoes, then added to the soup pot with a can of diced tomatoes, some basil and a bit of orzo pasta. You'll love that this is a lighter soup made without cream.
Served with quick and easy homemade croutons, this soup is a perfect dinner soup.
Cherry Tomatoes - any small fresh tomato will work here, either cherry or grape.
Feta Cheese - you don't need a lot of feta for this one. I like to use the feta packed in brine. Alternately, a block of feta will work well. Feta crumbles aren't the best option, as you want a solid piece of feta for roasting. If you aren't a feta fan (or you don't happen to have any on hand), you can simply omit and still enjoy a lovely tomato orzo soup.
Canned Diced Tomatoes - diced tomatoes are often sold in the smaller cans that are called for in this recipe, which is handy. If you only have whole tomatoes, you can use them instead of diced, but as they are usually sold in the larger cans, note that you won't need the whole can and you don't need the juice. Simply hand-crush about half the whole tomatoes into the soup pot.
Bread for the homemade croutons - you can use any bread you have on hand for the croutons, sliced or unsliced. Simply cut into cubes and quickly toast off in the skillet with the oil and herbs. Alternately, if you have store-bought croutons on hand, you can certainly use them instead of making your own.
Basil - fresh basil is a lovely addition to this soup if you have some on hand. If not, dried basil is fine for seasoning the soup or even a pinch for garnish.
First Steps: Gather your ingredients. I've weighed out the cherry tomatoes and feta here, so you can see how much it looks like. Arrange in an oven-proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven. (As tempting as it is, avoid salting here, as the feta is salty enough). While the tomatoes and feta roast in the oven, start the soup by softening the onion in olive oil in a large soup pot.
Step 2: Add the garlic to the softened onion, then add the broth, canned tomatoes and herbs. Stir together, bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature to allow the soup to simmer while the cherry tomatoes and feta finish in the oven.
Step 3: Once the cherry tomatoes and feta are roasted, add to the soup pot. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. (You can also use a blender in small batches). Puree as much or as little as you like. I like to leave a few tomato bits, rather than pureeing smooth.
Step 4: Add the orzo and simmer the soup until the orzo is tender, 15-20 minutes more. Add the end of cooking, taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed, then stir in some fresh basil, reserving a bit for garnish, as well.
Step 5: While the soup is finishing, make the croutons. Cut some bread cubes and brown in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Set aside until the soup is finished.
Serve soup warm, topped with croutons and fresh basil.
Can I make this soup ahead? This isn't the best soup for making entirely ahead. Like any soup with pasta or rice, it will tend to thicken to stew-like texture as it sits, as the pasta/rice absorbs more liquid. You can easily roast off the feta and cherry tomatoes ahead and even continue with the soup to the point where you add the orzo. Then refrigerate, re-warm and add the orzo and cook just before serving, for best results.
Can I substitute rice for the orzo? You can, if you prefer. I would use less rice than specified for the orzo. Maybe about 1/2 cup. Cook rice until tender.
Can I substitute another kind of cheese for the feta? I can't think of another cheese that will stand up to roasting in the oven like feta does. If you really aren't a fan, you can simply roast off the cherry tomatoes in the oven and skip the feta altogether. You will still have a lovely tomato orzo soup.
Can I use whole canned tomatoes, instead of diced? You can, but do note that you won't need the full 28-oz can that whole tomatoes are typically packed in. Use about half the can, draining off the juice and hand crushing the whole tomatoes into the soup.
Can I add some cream to this soup? Absolutely! If you are in the mood for a creamy tomato orzo soup, simply add some cream at the end of cooking, as much or as little as you like. A heavy cream will work best, as it is less likely to split with the acidic tomatoes.
Storage and Freezing
As noted above, this soup tends to thicken to stew-like texture when refrigerated. You can reheat leftovers and thin with a little more broth.
As for freezing, I would freeze without the orzo and add the orzo afer thawing and reheating, as it tends to both absorb the broth and get mushy throw the freeze/thaw process.
Feta Tomato Orzo Soup
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, (250g)
- 1 cup feta cheese, (100g)
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
For the soup:
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 13.5 oz canned diced tomatoes, (398ml)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves, or Italian seasoning blend
- Pinch dried oregano leaves
- 3/4 cup orzo pasta, (130g)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
For the homemade croutons:
- 2 cups bread, diced
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pinch dried basil
- Fresh basil, thinly sliced, optional
- Preheat oven to 425F (regular setting/not fan assisted). Place the cherry tomatoes and feta in a baking dish. Season with pepper (no salt needed, as the feta is already quite salty) and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to crack.
- While tomatoes are roasting, start the soup. In a large pot on the stove-top, over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and heat. Sauté the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring regularly until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, then add the broth and diced tomatoes. Add the dried basil and oregano and stir in. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the feta/tomatoes are ready.
- When the cherry tomatoes/feta are done, add all of it to the soup and puree using an immersion blender. You can puree it as much or as little as you like. (Alternately, you can blend in 1 cup portions in a regular blender). Add the orzo to the soup, stir in and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until orzo is tender (taste the orzo, to be sure it is tender). Taste the soup and add additional salt, if needed and some freshly ground pepper. Stir in the fresh basil, if using..
- Meanwhile, while the orzo is cooking in the soup pot, make the croutons. In a skillet over medium high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Add the bread cubes, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a pinch of dried basil and cook, stirring regularly, for 4-5 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Remove from heat and allow to sit until the soup is ready.
- Serve soup warm, with croutons and fresh basil.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.