This Vegan Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup is ridiculously cozy, comforting, & filling! It's packed with protein and fresh veggies for a vegan lemon soup you will crave on a chilly day.
Here at SGTO we are lemon addicts and if you've never had a vegan lemon soup before, let me tell you it is BEYOND delicious! While I'm a huge fan of lemon desserts, I truly love them just as much in savory food. About a year ago I made this delicious Vegan Lemon Butter Pasta and this year I knew I wanted to tackle another savory lemon dish.
Originally I tested this as a vegan lemon rice soup, but after trying orzo in The First Mess Creamy Butternut Squash Orzo a few weeks ago, I knew I had to swap out rice for orzo in this recipe. The orzo makes this dish SO creamy and flavorful.
This recipe is actually meant to be a vegan version of the classic Chicken Lemon Soup I had when I was younger. With orzo and chickpeas added in, I would even go so far as to say it's better than the version I grew up eating!
How make vegan lemon orzo soup
This soup is SO easy to make. It takes about 30 minutes, can be made in one pot, and stores great for leftovers too!
First, sauté onions in vegan butter
Since the onions need a little more cooking time the first step is to cook them in the vegan butter until translucent. This takes about 3-5 minutes. If you're not a fan of vegan butter, it can also be subbed 1:1 for any cooking oil like avocado oil or olive oil.
P.S- I used my Le Creuset Dutch Oven to cook this soup. It's amazing for cooking soups & I couldn't recommend it more!
Then add carrots, garlic, & spices
Once the onions are translucent, add in the chopped carrots, minced garlic, dried parsley, and some salt & pepper to taste. I usually use about ½ tsp salt, but you can add more or less depending on your preference. Honestly, if your veggie broth is really salty you may even be able to skip adding salt at this step.
Add in orzo to "toast"
Why toast orzo before cooking? Well, it actually helps to give the orzo a nice nutty flavorful bite! You really only need to toast for around 1 minute, so don't overdo it.
Mix in veggie broth, lemon juice, & chickpeas
Once the veggies have been partially cooked & the orzo is toasted, add in the veggie broth, lemon juice, chickpeas, and fresh dill. While I like adding the dill at this point so it helps to flavor the soup, I always set a little aside to use as a fresh garnish for later.
Then, stir everything together and cook over high heat until the soup reaches a boil.
Bring to a boil & simmer until cooked through
Once the soup is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook JUST until the orzo is al dente.
With orzo, it's especially important not to overcook the grain or it can become mushy and clumpy. I find that once a boil is reached, it really only needs about 7-8 minutes of cooking time. However, your orzo may need up to 10 minutes to cook through so I recommend tasting it as you go so the orzo gets cooked correctly.
P.S- the most important part of this step is to stir the soup while it is simmering about every 1-2 minutes. The orzo will want to stick to the bottom of the pan, so consistently stirring the soup helps to prevent this. If any orzo does stick to the bottom of the pan, just scrape it off the bottom while stirring to mix it back in.
Serve & garnish
Finally, serve the soup warm and garnish with additional fresh dill, dried parsley, or even a lemon wedge. I personally love serving it alongside my favorite Vegan Garlic Bread. YUM!
FAQ & Expert Tips:
Yes-I actually originally tested this recipe with white rice and it tastes amazing. However, I will admit I prefer the texture and consistency orzo gives this soup much better than rice. However, using white rice has the bonus of making this soup gluten-free.
If using rice in place of pasta, just keep in mind the cooking time will need to be increased by about 5-10 minutes as white rice usually takes about 20 minutes to cook through. Also, you may need an extra cup of veggie broth for the best consistency as rice tends to absorb more liquid than orzo.
If using a different pasta shape, just sub 1:1 and cook as directed.
Definitely! I'm not a huge fan of celery, but if you are you can add it when you add in the carrots and garlic.
Another addition that could be great in this soup would be spinach or kale. Just add it in the last 3-5 minutes of cooking so it wilts a bit but does not get overcooked and completely lose its texture.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Keep in mind, the longer this soup is left to sit, the more liquid the orzo will absorb. In fact, when eating as leftovers it almost tastes like a risotto the next day!
If you want a brothy soup as leftovers, just add extra veggie broth when reheating. It always does the trick and is a super easy kitchen hack!
I truly hope you love this Vegan Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup! It's the perfect cozy soup for a cold winter day and full of fresh lemon flavor to celebrate citrus season. Enjoy!
More vegan soup recipes you will love:
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Vegan Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup
- 2 tablespoon vegan butter
- ½ onion diced, about 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup chopped carrot about 2-3 carrots
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt can add more if needed
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz canned chickpeas drained and rinsed, about 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- ⅓ cup lemon juice about 2 large lemons, juiced
- 3 tablespoon fresh dill large stem removed
- Add the vegan butter to a soup pot or dutch oven and heat until melted.
- Once melted, add in the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
- Then, add in the chopped carrot, minced garlic, dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Sauté everything together an additional 5 minutes.
- Next, add in the orzo and "toast" it by mixing it with the veggies for about 1 minute.
- Once the orzo is toasted, add in the veggie broth, chickpeas, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Bring the pot of soup to a boil and cook an additional 7-10 minutes until the orzo has cooked through and is al dente.
- Remove the pot of soup from the heat and serve immediately. If desired, season with additional salt & pepper to taste and garnish with additional fresh Dill. Enjoy!
- Leftovers can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. The orzo will soak up the broth as it is left to sit, so additional broth can be added when reheating for a soupier consistency.
- There is not a great substitute for fresh Dill as it has a very specific flavor. However, if you can't find any you can try using thyme or parsley instead.
- Recipe adapted from Simple Veganista Lemon Orzo Soup