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Healthy, creamy vegetarian soup that is quick to throw together and tastes like it has simmered all day.
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or stock pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add the lemon zest, red pepper flakes and thyme and cook another 3 minutes until the onions are tender and translucent. Turn the heat to medium and add the spinach and orzo. Cook for 1 minute and then add the broth and lemon juice.
Bring to a light simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until the orzo is barely tender. Whisk the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. With the soup at a light boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and stir rapidly. Allow the soup to thicken, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.
This soup is also great with 1-2 cups of cooked chicken added in. Feel free to use chopped frozen spinach—just make sure you thaw, drain and squeeze out the excess water.