This no-waste soup makes great use of lemon peels

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.

Lemon Peel Broth

  • 4 celery stalks, including leaves
  • 2 garlic bulbs, sliced in half horizontally
  • Peels from 4 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 10 cups water


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

 Tortellini Soup

  • 9 ounces store-bought tortellini
  • 4 cups Lemon Peel Broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon 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. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Prepare the tortellini according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Warm the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked tortellini, spinach, peas, lemon juice, and half the basil. Stir until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste.
  6. 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.

Serves 4

Vegan version: Use vegan tortellini.

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.


Love and Lemons: Simple Feel Good Food © 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.