A white bowl with tortellini and green vegetable soup
Photography, Eva Kolenko

Easy Tortellini Soup

Leftover lemon peels are the secret to making Jeanine Donofrio's comforting vegetarian soup.

Jeanine Donofrio, founder of food blog Love and Lemons, has an approach to vegetarian food that’s never boring. Her feel-good recipes are always bright and colourful, and are easily put on repeat in menu-planning. For her Tortellini Soup, Donofrio has developed a flavourful Lemon Peel Broth. “Whenever a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice but not lemon zest, I peel the lemon before I juice it. I freeze the peels until I have enough to make this brightly flavoured golden broth. Since the broth is so good on its own, I always pair it with simple ingredients, like the tortellini and fresh veggies here, to highlight its delicate flavour.”

A white bowl with tortellini and green vegetable soup

Tortellini Soup With Lemon Peel Broth

Jeanine Donofrio's easy recipe for lemony soup with tortellini and green vegetables.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4


Lemon Peel Broth

  • 4 celery stalks including leaves
  • 2 garlic bulbs sliced in half horizontally
  • peels from 4 lemons
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 10 cups water

Tortellini Soup

  • 9 oz store-bought tortellini to make the dish vegan, use vegan tortellini
  • 4 cups Lemon Peel Broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Lemon Peel Broth

  • Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Strain and discard the vegetables, peppercorns and lemon peels. Season to taste.

Tortellini Soup

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Prepare the tortellini according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Warm the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked tortellini, spinach, peas, lemon juice and half the basil. Stir until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste.
  • Portion the soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil, the remaining basil, several grinds of pepper, and pinches of red pepper flakes, if desired.


To store broth: Allow it to cool to room temperature after cooking. Transfer it to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

A white and green cookbook cover in a tan frame

© Excerpted from Love and Lemons: Simple Feel Good Food Copyright © 2023 by Jeanine Donofrio. Published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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