salmon orzo pesto soup

Time for a fantastic, original, satisfying, (healthy), new recipe.

The new year, mid-winter, is the perfect time for wholesome, interesting, (healthy) soup.  The word healthy is in parentheses to avoid putting you off the soup – it is only incidentally healthy.  Make it because it is delicious.  We discovered the Salmon, Orzo, Pesto soup recipe in, Simply Classic: A Collection of Recipes to Celebrate the Northwest by the Junior League of Seattle in 2002 and we have been getting rave reviews ever since.  The flavors are fresh and appealing.  You are not likely to have any left-overs, but if you do, it is good the second day.

Here is both the original recipe – and the improvements my daughter, Whitney, has made over hundreds of batches.

The ‘Whitney’ Salmon Orzo Pesto Soup Recipe


2 TBS butter or margarine
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup leeks, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup clam juice
½ cup orzo pasta
1 lb. Salmon fillet
1/3 cup fresh basil, slivered
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 TBS pesto
2 TBS Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté leeks and peppers until tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock, vegetable stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, and clam juice.
  4. Bring to a simmer and add orzo.  Cook until orzo is tender, about 7 minutes.
  5. Skin the salmon and remove the bones.  Cut into ½ inch pieces.  Add salmon and basil to pot and simmer until salmon is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in pesto.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls.  Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

I serve a small portion of the salmon orzo pesto soup as an appetizer for dinner.  I also serve it in a large mug for lunch with some crusty bread.  Finally, I serve it as a one bowl dinner with a green salad and warm bread. It’s a versatile soup!

From:  Simply Classic: A Collection of Recipes to Celebrate the Northwest by the Junior League of Seattle (2002).  Used, from 99 cents.


Thinking about other vegetarian recipes? These may appeal to you;

Plant based recipes

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