Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup

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This Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup recipe is a vegetarian spin on Greek avgolemono soup.  It’s cozy yet light, brightened up with lots of lemon juice and fresh herbs, and made extra creamy by folding a few eggs into the broth (instead of cream).

Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup

We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of our trip to Greece, and nostalgia levels have been running high in our house lately for those crystal blue caldera views, warm sea breezes, relaxing afternoons curled up with our books, breathtaking sunsets and, of course, all of that dreamy Greek food.

Good grief, that was one of the most delicious trips of my life.

From the classic souvlakis to the gyros, the roasted sea bass to the sun-dried octopus, authentic Greek salads (galore) and Skioufiktas, irresistible spicy feta dips and roasted eggplant dips, baklava and gelato, and some of the freshest olives, capers, pita and fetas that I have ever tasted — that trip was a food lover’s absolute dream come true.  I savored and was grateful for every last bite.  And ever since, I’ve been majorly inspired to up my Greek cooking game here at home.  My latest new favorite addition to my Greek recipe repertoire?

This cozy, creamy, comforting Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup recipe. ♡

It’s basically a vegetarian version of the avgolemono soup that I fell in love with in Greece — a lemony soup that is traditionally made with chicken, orzo and veggies.  In lieu of heavy cream, though, the broth is magically thickened with eggs instead, making it ultra luxurious and silky and delicious.  And — bonus — considerably healthier than heavy cream as well!  The addition of lots of fresh lemon juice and herbs also make the soup taste refreshingly light.  And when made with chickpeas instead of chicken, this soup is a total vegetarian winner.

It’s the perfect spring soup recipe to serve up with a big Greek (or green) salad this time of year.  And hey, if we can’t all be soaking up that sunshine on a beach in Greece right now, I suppose this is the next best thing. ;)

Let’s make some lemony soup!

Reminiscing on our time in Santorini. It was even more breathtaking in person than I had imagined. ♡

What Is Avgolemono Soup?

First though, a quick culinary vocab lesson, in case you would like to casually drop some pentasyllabic Greek words to impress your friends. ;)

Avgolemono is actually a traditional sauce used in Greek cooking, made from a mixture of eggs and lemon juice which are heated or tempered with broth until they become ultra-creamy, thick and silky.  When added to a traditional Greek chicken and orzo (or rice) soup, avgolemono sauce makes the broth extra rich and creamy, without having to add in any actual dairy.  It’s creamy comfort food magic…and so easy!

While traditional avgolemono soup is usually made with chicken and chicken stock, this vegetarian version is made instead with chickpeas and veggie stock.  I also opted to use orzo and fresh dill, but rice and fresh (or dried) oregano are also traditional options as well.  And in my opinion, the more lemon the merrier!

Chickpeas to make Vegetarian Avgolemono Soup

Lemony Chickpea Orzo Soup Ingredients:

To make this vegetarian avgolemono soup recipe, you will need:

  • Veggies: Onion, carrots, garlic — sautéed in a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Stock: I used veggie stock, to keep this soup vegetarian.  But if you eat meat, chicken stock would be delicious too.
  • Chickpeas: 2 cans, rinsed and drained.  Or white beans (such as Great Northerns) would also work here too.
  • Orzo: I love chewy orzo in avgolemono.  But it’s also traditional to make it with rice too, if you prefer.
  • Eggs: We will temper these with hot broth so that they are extra-smooth and creamy.
  • Lemons: Lots of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus a few extra slices for serving.
  • Fresh Spinach: This is optional, but I really love adding in a few generous handfuls of fresh spinach (or your desired greens) to give this soup extra freshness and color.
  • Herbs: Our avgolemono in Greece was served with lots of dill.  But if you’re not into dill, fresh (or dried) oregano would be a great substitute.
  • Salt and Pepper: Always. ;)

How To Make Avgolemono Soup (Vegetarian)

How To Make This Soup:

I think that this soup is so much fun to make!  Be sure and follow the directions carefully though — especially the egg step — to make sure that your eggs are silky and creamy (and not accidentally scrambled into egg drop soup).

To make this soup, simply…

  1. Cook the veggies.  Sauté the onion, followed by the addition of carrots and garlic, in oil until softened.
  2. Add the broth, chickpeas and orzo.  Stir in the broth and chickpeas.  Bring the soup to a simmer.  Then add the orzo and cook until it reaches a nice chewy al dente, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  Meanwhile…
  3. Temper the eggs. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until combined.  Then ladle out 1 cup of the hot soup broth, and while whisking the egg mixture with one hand continuously, very very slowly drizzle the broth into the eggs until combined.  This will help to very slowly cook the eggs without scrambling them.  (<– They should look creamy, no chunks.)  Repeat with one more cup of the hot broth.
  4. Add the eggs to the soup.  Then do the reverse!  Once the orzo is ready to go, remove the stockpot from the heat.  Then while whisking the soup with one hand continuously, very very slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the soup until combined.  The eggs should look smooth and creamy as they are added to the soup.  (<– Not scrambled or ribbon-y, like in egg drop soup.  If this is the case, stop drizzling and wait 5 minutes for the soup to cool a bit, then continue.)
  5. Finish the soup.  Add in the spinach and herbs, and stir until the spinach is wilted.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve.  Then ladle the soup into your serving bowls, garnish with lemon and extra dill, and enjoy!

Greek Lemon Orzo Soup (Vegetarian)

Possible Variations:

Want to mix things up with this recipe?  Feel free to:

  • Add extra veggies: Celery, potatoes, leeks, asparagus, and/or mushrooms would also be delicious in this soup.
  • Add chicken: If you are not making this soup vegetarian, feel free to add in shredded chicken either in place of or in addition to the chickpeas.
  • Use rice: If you would like to make this soup gluten-free, use rice in place of orzo.
  • Use different herbs: As mentioned above, if you’re not a fan of dill, feel free to use fresh oregano and/or basil instead, to taste.

Greek Lemon Egg Soup with Orzo, Chickpeas and Spinach

What To Serve With This Soup:

Looking for some delicious sides to serve with this soup?  I would recommend:

Enjoy, everyone! ♡

Print
Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup

Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x

Description

This Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup recipe is a vegetarian spin on Greek avgolemono soup.  It’s cozy yet light, brightened up with lots of lemon juice and fresh herbs, and made extra creamy by folding a few eggs into the broth (instead of cream).


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup orzo*
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus extra lemon slices for serving
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 13 tablespoons chopped fresh dill*
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrots and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add stock and chickpeas, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium (or medium-low), whatever works to maintain a steady low simmer.
  3. Add orzo and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the orzo is al dente, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, as the orzo is cooking, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice in a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup until combined.  Ladle out 1 cup of the hot soup broth, and while whisking the egg mixture with one hand continuously, very very slowly drizzle the broth into the eggs until combined.  Repeat with 1 more cup of hot broth.
  5. Once the orzo is ready to go, remove the stockpot from the heat.  Then while stirring the entire soup with one hand continuously, very very slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the soup until combined.  The egg mixture should make the soup nice and creamy.  (But if the eggs look like they are scrambling when you add them in — kind of like in egg drop soup — stop and let the soup cool down for a few minutes before adding the rest of the eggs.)
  6. Return the soup to low heat.  Stir in the spinach and dill and stir for 1-2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.  Then taste and season the soup with a few pinches of salt and black pepper, as needed.
  7. Serve warm, garnished with extra dill and lemon wedges.

Notes

*Or you’re welcome to sub in 3/4 cup rice in place of orzo.

*Just add however much dill you would like, to taste.  Or if you’re not a big fan of dill, feel free to add in some fresh (or dried) oregano instead, to taste.  Or fresh basil!

Recipe adapted from My Recipes.

Lemony Chickpea Orzo Soup Recipe

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45 comments on “Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup”

  1. Ahhhhh, your photos make me want to make everything you post!!!!
    Soup is my favourite lunch. So making this today. Thank you.

  2. what happens to the eggs when you reheat for future meals?

  3. You are going to turn me into a soup eater if you keep posting recipes like this one. I would consider adding chicken (or perhaps something very un-Greek like tofu) to up the level of protein. I like the idea of adding spinach, because that makes the soup into a whole meal.

  4. How does this keep? Only in refrigerator? Could I freeze it?

  5. 5 stars
    This soup is absolutely divine! I ended up using basil instead of dill and added leeks and celery. Wow! So satisfying! Love that lemony flavour with the creaminess the eggs create.

  6. I have the frozen garlic from Trader Joe’s (in squares that equal a minced clove) would those work or should I grab the real thing?

  7. 5 stars
    So happy I stumbled on this recipe. It’s so light and tasty! I was really nervous about the egg tempering step so I left the eggs out to take the chill off while prepping the rest of the soup and it turned out wonderfully. Will definitely make again.

  8. Do you think I could omit eggs entirely and/or substitute something for them to make this vegan-friendly and still have it turn out OK?

  9. Made this today. Lovely flavor! Will be a keeper!

  10. Refreshing and Filling

    • Wow, oh wow – that is some tasty soup for a coolish June day in the Pacific Northwest – bright and sunny! I used chicken broth and added some shredded chicken, threw in some mushrooms and used fresh oregano and basil from my garden instead of dill. The egg/lemon/broth combo worked to a tee, leaving a silky mouth feel. Perfect spring dinner with a slice of crusty bread and arugula salad. Thanks – so good!

  11. 5 stars
    I was looking for a soup recipe for the whole family and I stumbled on this article. I read and followed the instructions carefully and I made it deliciously! Every member of my family is so happy! Thanks for this!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner and thought it was the best soup I’ve ever tasted! I did leave out the onions as one of my family members can not tolerate them. This will now be made on a regular basis in our house!

  13. 5 stars
    This rainy April day, this soup was everything!!! Great recipe!

  14. this looks amazing! I have a question. I get that the egg and lemon makes it special but if you cannot eat eggs do you have any suggestions on how to recreate the texture and taste? coconut cream maybe?

  15. 5 stars
    Made this last night and we loved it! Love the dill!
    Do you think this could freeze and reheat ok with the eggs?

  16. 5 stars
    Love this soup so much!!!
    Tempering the eggs is tricky , )you have to pay attention)
    But it is worth it!!
    I added sweet potato ribbons from Trader Joe’s, which also made it look pretty and taste great!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Hi. I am from the UK and would like to convert to grams. Could you tell me how many grams in 1 cup in your recipes, please? Also, does this equate to the same in ml for liquids? Many thanks – can’t wait to make this, it looks absolutely delicious!

  18. 5 stars
    This soup may be the best I have ever eaten. It’s hard to believe there’s no cream in it with how creamy it turns out. Thank you so much for this excellent recipe!

  19. 5 stars
    This soup was soooooo good!

  20. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe!! I halved it and used chicken broth. Turned out amazing! Will make again!
    What’s the best way to reheat this soup? Will the egg separate out?

    • I simply microwaved with no issue. The egg doesn’t separate or coagulate. 1-2:30 min for an individual bowl.

  21. 5 stars
    Nice recipe!
    Thanks for sharing!

  22. This looks sooo good!! I’m gonna make this for hubby for dinner tonite. He’s not the most adventurous, but this looks good enough where he’ll take the plunge. :)

  23. 5 stars
    This soup is incredible- so bright and flavorful. It’s easy to make as well. My only caveat is that the suggested recipe cook time is 45 minutes and so far (3 or more other Gimme recipes included) these times are very off. They always take much longer and I know how to work quickly, set up everything etc. This soup took around 1 hour 15min from start to finish. I hope the recipe times become a little more accurate- I know it’s variable but it means I look to budgetbytes recipes when I need to cook quickly and these for when I have a lot of open time.

    • I definitely agree with this! Maybe I am super slow but this recipe took me about an hour and 15 min start to finish (because you have to focus a lot when adding the eggs).

      It truly is amazing though and worth every second! Will be eating this soup all winter!

  24. 5 stars
    We made this last week and paired it with your everyday kale salad – so yum! My husband was a bit sceptical about the soup, but agreed it was delicious when it was all done. It never would have occurred to me to use eggs to make a soup creamy! Thanks so much.

  25. 5 stars
    Oh wow this soup is gorgeous, like hug in a mug :)

  26. 5 stars
    Hi there! I was wandering through your web site and your recipe for Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup caught my eye. We’re blessed here in Hawaii to have fresh veggies year around, so I used Maui onions, baby carrots and baby spinach, along with the orzo, eggs & chicken stock. I had a can of garbanzo beans and a can of Great Northern beans on hand and our herb garden outside below our condo provided fresh oregano. It turned out really yummy. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I’ll be back!

  27. 5 stars
    This soup was fantastic and fresh! Another delicious recipe! Thank you!

  28. This sounds so delicious. The perfect lighter soup for this time of year. Lemon, chickpeas, and orzo sound like the perfect combo. Pinning to try soon!

  29. 5 stars
    This soup is amazing!!! I don’t like chickpeas, so I subbed navy beans, but did everything else exactly as the recipe states. So good! My husband said it was one of the best things I’ve ever made! I had halved the recipe because it seemed like so much, but next time, I’m making the full amount so we have lots of leftovers!

  30. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight and it’s wonderful. Will be a soup staple going forward. I very much enjoy your recipes.

  31. 5 stars
    Amazing! So fresh, yet filling. Love all of the substitute options!

  32. 5 stars
    This is sooooo good. During step 2, I added some diced raw chicken to the broth and let it cook in the soup, and as I couldn’t find orzo I used risotto rice instead. I followed the rest of the recipe as written. So flavorful!
    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  33. 5 stars
    I grew up on traditional avgolemono soup, and wanted to make a vegetarian version for work. This soup is delicious and reminds me of the one my grandma used to make, but with a twist!

    I’m wondering, do you think it would simmer fine in a crock pot for a few hours to reheat for my work lunch?

  34. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this with salmon, spinach water crest

  35. This is a keeper recipe! Approved by adults and kids for its bright and comforting flavor… and simplicity in the method! Thank you so very much!

  36. Delicious soup! The directions were very clear and the result was a delight of the senses! Love your blog and recipes! Can it be frozen and reheated?

  37. This soup was great! Since I was only cooking for myself I halved the batch. I also made some changes to use what I had on hand.
    I added 1 tomato before adding the veg broth, and I used dried dill. I also added a hint of dried oregano and basil, and served with some Parmesan on top. Also, I wish I had fresh lemon, but I used one of those lemon squeezy bottles because that’s all I had, and it still turned out delicious!
    Since I didn’t have Orzo, I separately cooked whole wheat pasta noodles broken up and added them to the soup, and added some of the pasta water too.
    Only took about 50 minutes: an easy, yummy, healthy meal! And this is from someone who eats Greek food very frequently (my boyfriend of 6 years comes from a Greek immigrant family!)
    Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be making it again! I would love to try it with fresh herbs/lemon next time!

  38. Hahahahaha! I made this soup for dinner last night. I’m so bad at following recipes because I just do what I do. So I read over it once and when I was making the soup, I remembered seeing 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice, instead of the 1/2 cup it calls for. The soup didn’t get that creamy and tasted VERY lemony lol. My kids said, why is this soup so sour?! They filled up on salad and not much soup. I thought it still tasted good, but I’m going to try it again, with the real measurements!

  39. Kaitlin…i agree with you as far as prep/cook time on this recipe.. I am a seasoned cook but unless you’ve got three other people helping you, this time is not accurate! Fortunately I had the time to prepare this soup, which by the way was delicious, but there are times when I do not and look for a recipe that is quick. Having a more accurate prep/cook time would be greatly appreciated, I only give it four stars because of the time factor.

  40. My family loooved this soup! I was very hesitant with the egg part but the instructions were very simple and clear to follow. Thank you for sharing it!!

  41. Outstanding! Love that it is meat and dairy free too!

  42. I love all the recipes you make, and find them so delicious! This looked like such a creative recipe so I decided to give it a try as I have never used eggs to make a soup creamy before. I did it all right, the soup had absolutely no egg chunks at the end it was creamy and beautiful. But it tasted of eggs and didn’t have substantial flavor.