Food & Drink

Tortellini Soup with Lemon Peel Broth

A Texas recipe blogger celebrates citrus in this springtime soup from her new cookbook

Photo: Eva Kolenko

“You may have noticed that there are quite a few lemons in the recipes in this book,” Jeanine Donofrio writes in her third and newest cookbook, Love and Lemons: Simple Feel Good Food. This delicate yet flavorful soup lets Donofrio’s appreciation for the fruit shine: Instead of throwing away peels from juiced lemons, she freezes them until she has enough to create a golden broth that’s perfect on its own or paired with simple ingredients, like tortellini and fresh seasonal veggies. 

For more feel-good food, see Donofrio’s recipes for Lemony Strawberry Polenta Cake and Savory Vegetable Pancakes.

Stay in Touch with G&G
Get The Skillet, our weekly food and drink newsletter.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


  • Tortellini Soup with Lemon Peel Broth (Yield: 4 servings)


    • 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


    • 9 oz. store-bought 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 of red pepper flakes (optional)

    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the broth: Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. 

  2. Strain and discard the vegetables, peppercorns, and lemon peels. Season to taste.

  3. To store the 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.

  4. Make the 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.

  5. Warm the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until heated through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Add the cooked tortellini, spinach, peas, lemon juice, and half the basil. Stir until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste.

  7. 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.

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.