Lemon Chickpea Vegan Orzo Soup is creamy and easy to make. If you miss the flavors of Greek Avgolemono, this 30 minute vegan version is for you.
Vegan 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.
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.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
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.
- 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.
- 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 Chickpea Soup with Potatoes.
This recipe makes four cups of soup as a starter or two large meal-size bowls. Vegan Orzo Soup pairs well with vegetable salads such as Mediterranean Cucumber Salad or Green Pepper Salad with Tomatoes.
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 free shipping on your first order.)
The leftovers can be covered and refrigerated 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 creamy soup 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! ★★★★★
Creamy Vegan Orzo Soup with Chickpeas
- 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 can chickpeas, (1 ½ 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.
This post was updated to add an image of the ingredients and variations. The recipe itself was not changed.