Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is easy to make in 30 minutes. Inspired by Greek Avgolemono, it's ultra creamy thanks to raw cashews. And fresh lemon juice and lemon zest give it incredible flavor.
Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is inspired by the Greek egg and lemon soup called Avgolemono. While I love a good chickpea noodle soup, I wanted to change it up by using lemon and orzo like the classic Mediterranean recipe.
Obviously, adding cashew cream at the end isn't the same thing using eggs. And chickpeas aren't that similar to chicken.
Regardless, I think this "vegan Avgolemono" is satisfying and delicious. Once you give it a try, it may become one of your favorite vegan recipes with orzo.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's easy to make in 30 minutes.
- You can serve it as a starter or enjoy it as a complete meal.
- It's hearty and comforting with a lemony flavor and creamy texture.
If you or someone you cook for follows a gluten-free diet like I do, I recommend DeLallo Gluten-Free Orzo.
- Try whole-wheat orzo in place of white orzo if you can tolerate gluten.
- Stir in fresh baby spinach, baby kale, or baby chard to add some greens to your dish.
- Add some crushed red-pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- Looking for a clear soup with a similar flavor profile? Try my lemon chickpea potato soup.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Saute the onion in olive oil until soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, and saute a couple more minutes.
- Next add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Once the broth comes to a low boil, add in the canned garbanzo beans and orzo. Allow the pasta to cook, stirring occasionally, until it's al dente.
- Lastly, stir in the cashew cream made from blending the raw cashews with water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy.
For extra fresh flavor, you'll need both the zest and the juice from the lemon. Be sure to remove the yellow outside portion of the peel with a lemon zester before squeezing out the juice.
This recipe makes four cups of soup as a starter or two large meal-size bowls. Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup pairs well with vegetable salads such as Mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad or green pepper and tomato salad.
Or for a cozy and comforting dinner, enjoy a large bowl with some warm bread like my favorite vegan gluten-free sourdough from Bread SRSLY. (Use my affiliate code veggiessavetheday for 15% off your first order.)
The leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheated on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl.
However, the soup will thicken up even more overnight, so you may want to add some extra vegetable broth or water and a squeeze of lemon before reheating it. This soup does not freeze well.
If you want to use dried beans, cook them in advance before making this recipe. You will need ½ cup of dried chickpeas which will be approximately 1 ½ cups when cooked.
Yes, they are one in the same. The word chickpea is derived from Latin, while the word garbanzo is derived from Spanish.
Canned full-fat coconut milk, pureed white beans, or pureed silken tofu can all be used in place of the cashew cream. You will need about ½ cup.
More vegan orzo recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup carrots, diced
- ½ cup celery, diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, (1½ cups) rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup orzo, (I use gluten-free)
- ½ cup raw cashews, (See Notes)
- ½ cup water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute for a few minutes until soft and slightly translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for 30 more seconds. Next add the carrots and celery and saute about 2 more minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the pot with the vegetables and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, blend the cashews and water in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Once the soup has come to a boil, add the chickpeas and orzo to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is cooked al dente.
- Stir in the cashew mixture and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- If you do not have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, soak the cashews in hot water for at least an hour before blending to soften.
- Be sure to remove the yellow outside portion of the peel with a lemon zester before squeezing out the juice.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.