Packed with carrots, spinach, and cheese-filled frozen tortellini, this soup has the satisfying heartiness you crave on those lingering chilly nights, but it also greets you with all the brightness of spring, thanks to a big squeeze of lemon. A soup with all these merits isn't a mirage, and it doesn't require a place on the back burner to simmer all day. Nope, this is a soup for those who like their comfort food fast. With a 30-minute cook time and the majority of the ingredients already hanging out in your fridge, a fast and fresh dinner never looked better.
Lemon Tortellini Soup: Watch the Video
Use a Freezer Staple to Make It a Meal
Some soups are meant to simmer on the stovetop for hours, while others (like this one) rely on freezer staples and require no more than 30 minutes of your time from start to finish.
Frozen tortellini is the MVP of this dinner. It cooks quickly right in the soup, soaking up the brightness of the lemon and richness of the broth.
Fresh vs. Frozen
Frozen tortellini is my go-to because I know I can always count on having a bag in the freezer, plus it tends to be a little cheaper. Fresh tortellini will also certainly work in this recipe — you'll just need to reduce the cook time by a few minutes.
Embrace the "Meanwhile"
My go-to tactic for making dinner prep as efficient and speedy as possible is to embrace the "meanwhile." This means that instead of prepping all the ingredients at the onset (as we're often told to do), you should work as you go. Prep the veggies you'll need to get the soup started, and then as they cook you can use that time to juice and zest the lemon and gather the remaining ingredients.
Lemony Tortellini Spinach Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium lemons
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grate the zest 1 of the lemons and set aside. Juice both lemons until you have 1/4 cup of juice; set aside.
Stir the lemon zest into the soup and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and tortellini and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and simmer until the tortellini is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes (less if using fresh tortellini — check at 3 minutes). Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup lemon juice, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave.