A recipe for Domatosoupa Me Kritharaki (Greek Tomato Soup with Orzo)! This easy soup is packed with vegetables and orzo for a delicious summertime meal.
Domatosoupa Me Kritharaki (ντοματοσουπα με κριθαρακι), or Manestra (Μανέστρα) in the Cyclades Islands, is a flavorful soup with orzo perfect for using up those summer tomatoes. The tomatoes are simmered with onions, celery, garlic, and herbs in broth or water, then pureed until smooth. During the last few minutes, the orzo is mixed in and cooked until tender. Serve hot or cold with yogurt, crumbled/grated cheese, and additional herbs for garnish.
Orzo is a short cut pasta similar in shape to over-sized rice. Common in many cuisines throughout the Mediterranean, it is also called Rosa Marina (slightly thinner than orzo) and Kritharaki. This dense little pasta is especially perfect for pilafs, salads, and soups/stews.
I used fresh tomatoes since they are in season right now, but you can substitute with canned, diced tomatoes during the winter.
Adjust the amount of orzo to taste between 1/2-1 cup. The kids love the soup packed with orzo, so we usually add closer to 1 cup. Remember that the orzo will continue to thicken as the soup sits. As the orzo cooks, stir often- especially on the bottom and sides of the pot, to prevent sticking. If the soup thickens too much, dilute with a little water.
The amount of salt added may vary based on the saltiness of the broth. If using water, you may need to add a little more.
I used an immersion blender to easily puree the soup in the pot. If you are working with a stand blender, be very careful transferring the soup since it will be hot.
I topped the soup with some Kefalotyri that I had on hand and needed to use up. Kefalotyri is a hard cheese originating in Greece and Cyprus. It is made using sheep milk or a combination from sheep and goat. It is available in some import cheese sections of the grocery store, specialty cheese shops, and European food markets. I found it at a nearby Greek deli. If you are unable to find Kefalotyri, substitute with Mizithra, Feta, or simply omit the cheese.
Looking for more recipes featuring Orzo?
Domatosoupa Me Kritharaki (Greek Tomato Soup with Orzo) Recipe
Adapted from Lemon and Olives
Domatosoupa Me Kritharaki (Greek Tomato Soup with Orzo)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 3/4 pounds tomatoes diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil plus more for garnish
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2-1 cup dried Orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Crumbled/grated Kefalotyri Cheese for serving, or Mizithra, Feta, or cheese of choice
- In a large pot, drizzle olive oil over medium heat. Once thoroughly heated, add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, broth or water, basil, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are softened and starting to fall apart, 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, then puree the soup using an immersion or stand blender until smooth. If using a stand blender, carefully transfer the soup back to the pot after blending.
- Return the soup to a simmer, then stir in the orzo. Cook stirring often (especially the bottom and sides) until tender, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve immedately topped with crumbled or grated cheese and additional basil.