Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

81 comments on “Lemony Orzo Chickpea Soup”

  1. I NEVER Post reviews on food blogs. But this soup was creamy and lemony and comforting during this rain. I added more lemon juice. Dried oregano bc no dill. I had no problems tempering the eggs.

  2. I rarely comment on recipes but this was amazing!! Perfect comfort food to cook up while we’re “social distancing” I followed the recipe very closely.. but halved it since it was only for two of us….

  3. If I didn’t want add eggs how much cream would I add?

  4. This was disgusting. Followed the recipe exactly. The whole pot ended up in the trash.

  5. My New York Coronavirus PAUSE fave!!!

  6. I’ve got some heavy cream to use up and eggs are a little harder to come by these days…could I swap them and use 1/2 – 3/4 cup of cream instead?

  7. Really, really good soup. I’m from cajun country though, and I can’t help wanting to kick this stuff in the teeth a little bit. Maybe next time I’ll add a bit of my spices and throw some crab legs in there…….but it’s damn fine the way that it is too! Thanks for sharing your passions with us!

  8. Amazing! This was something outside of my normal and I am so glad I tried it!!

  9. Really yummy, creamy soup. It does take a little over an hour to complete but worth it. I think it gets better as it sits in the fridge for a couple of days. I will be making again!

  10. OMG!! Quite possibly the best soup U have ever made!
    Left overs tonight with homemade bread. Thanks for all the tips. Very helpful.

  11. I was really scared of the whole egg process, but it was surprisingly simple with your directions! No problems at all. I added in some fresh chopped asparagus with the chickpeas and only used about 6 or 7 cups of broth (all I had). Delicious! Thank you!

  12. Hi! I love this soup. I have made it a few times now for lots of people and it is always a huge hit. It makes a ton though, can I freeze some do you think?

  13. Ok, I’ve just THREE huge bowls of this…
    Now I have to lay down on the couch ‘cause I’m unable to move, and yet I find myself longing for the leftovers in the pan…
    It’s that good.

  14. SO easy and delicious! Even our toddler gobbled it down! Only changes made were using half broth and half stock (because it looked like if I used all stock the soup would be much darker than pictured) and salting all throughout the cooking process, rather than just at the end. We also used a little more orzo than it called for just because I knew our toddler would like the pasta. Will definitely make again!

  15. Excellent soup!!!!!! This will be my new comfort soup….thank you👏

  16. I’ve made this soup several times and it’s always worked out great. 10/10 would recommend. It’s a lovely dinner and is quite filling.

  17. So easy & yummy! Great pantry staple kind of recipe.

  18. This soup is beyond delicious. I have tried to make Avglemon soup before but always have issues with eggs curdling… not thanks to your thoughtful directions. The chickpeas make it delicious and it is just the best. Even worth making a hot pot of soup on a 90 degree day like today!

  19. This soup was delicious, and I will definitely be making it again. The directions were very clear and informative. I replaced the orzo with brown rice to make it even healthier. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  20. My husband and. Loved this!!!

  21. Does this soup keep well as leftovers? Or does the egg-y broth get weird if you try to reheat this?

  22. A delicious soup—thank you for sharing the recipe! I made it just as written, except I added sliced mushrooms at the same time I added the garlic. My family enjoyed the soup—I will be making it again.

  23. I followed the recipe, and the soup came together very well. I have to admit I don’t appreciate the flavor; I think that’s my failure, not the recipe’s. It looks fantastic, though. Tempering eggs was a great way to make the soup creamy without cream!

  24. I’ve never commented on a recipe but I just had to. This soup is SO GOOD, possibly my favourite soup I’ve ever had and definitely the most unique in terms of flavours. It’s comforting and bright and I’m not trying to be dramatic here but the aroma and taste really lifted my spirits. I used a vegetarian “chicken” stock, and cut the recipe in half since it’s just for me but I will be enjoying this all week! Beautiful combination of flavours and a welcome change to the usual basics soups I’m used to making. Thank you for this recipe!

  25. Very good recipe. For our tastes I would make it again with a bit less lemon juice – somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 cup. I would also add maybe a 1/4 tsp of chili flake with the onion for a little kick.