Healthy crockpot tomato soup with basil and orzo. Rich, comforting, and low calorie! Simple slow cooker recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prep. Add half-and-half to make it creamy, or omit to keep the slow cooker tomato soup vegan. Both versions are delicious.
Optional for serving: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh basil or parsley
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium low. Add the onions and sauté for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the sautéed onions and garlic. Top with the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, paprika, and black pepper, then stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until the tomatoes are very soft. With an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and purée in small batches.
Stir in the orzo, then increase the heat to high. Let cook, uncovered, until the orzo is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring two or three times throughout and checking the orzo for doneness. Stir in the half-and-half, if using. Serve hot, topped with Parmesan and basil or parsley as desired.
*Hot Hungarian paprika can be found in the spice section of many grocery stores and online here. It gives the soup a rich, light smokiness and subtle heat. If you can’t find it, try substituting smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can also use only cayenne or omit it from the recipe entirely. It won’t have quite as much flavor but will still be delicious.
If you use regular versus whole wheat orzo in the recipe, please note that your pasta cooking time may vary. I suggest checking it early.
FOR A RICHER SOUP: I do typically make this soup with the half-and-half, but on the day I shot the photos, I forgot to stir it in! It turned out to be a happy accident, as I learned the soup is still delicious without it. For a lighter soup, you can omit it. For a more creamy, comforting soup, go ahead and add it in. (It will add 80 additional calories to the whole batch, or 20 calories per serving.)
Don't rush the onion saute! It's important that they turn golden brown and are very tender. If you add them before they are fully cooked, their raw taste will create an off flavor in the soup.
TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.
TO REHEAT: Rewarm soup gently in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.