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Lemon Rice Soup (No Chicken, Just Chickpeas!)

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There’s nothing better than a hot bowl of lemon rice soup to warm you up on a cold day. This easy vegan recipe for Lemon Rice Soup reminds me of a Greek avgolemono but uses simple pantry ingredients and everything is vegan and gluten-free. It has become a staple in my meal prep rotation because it comes together so quickly!

Lemon rice chickpea soup no chicken

With simple ingredients like rice, vegetables, beans, and lemon, this vegan avgolemono soup is a very budget-friendly recipe. I like to make a batch of this hearty soup on the weekend for grab-and-go lunches or quick dinners all week long.

Greek avgolemono is a classic soup with a rich history in Greek cuisine. Traditionally, it’s made with chicken broth, rice or orzo, and a lemony egg mixture that’s added for a creamy texture. Wanting to make this a vegan recipe, I traded out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and left the egg yolks out. We still get plenty of protein and a creamy texture from the chickpeas! 

I love this Lemon Rice Soup because it has a delightful blend of flavors that always hits the spot, especially on chilly days. The lemony twist adds a burst of fresh flavor that keeps things interesting, and the combination of chickpeas, rice, and veggies ensures that this soup is a satisfying and hearty meal. The cilantro at the end adds a fresh touch, rounding off the flavors perfectly. 

It’s no secret that I love lemon. Have you tried my lemon blueberry cake or my gluten free lemon bars? Yum!

Lemon rice chickpea soup no chicken

The simple ingredients and easy steps make it a go-to recipe when I want something delicious without a lot of fuss. The onions, carrots, and other veggies add a nice mix of sweetness and savory goodness. What I love most is that it’s both comforting and filling, striking that perfect balance between being light and satisfying. It’s a straightforward, tasty dish that never fails to hit the spot!

Recipe highlights:

  • This lemon rice soup recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, making it perfect for those on dietary restrictions. 
  • The protein from the chickpeas and the fiber from the white rice make it a hearty and filling soup.
  • The lemon flavor from fresh lemon juice has a perfect balance. It’s not enough to make the dish tart, but just enough to brighten it up!
  • There are endless ways to customize this lemon rice soup and make it your own! Change up the vegetables or add beans to suit the tastes of you and your family. 
  • It is make-ahead friendly! I love this recipe for meal-prepping healthy lunches all week long or for making a hearty dinner in advance.

Ingredients needed: 

Lemon rice chickpea soup ingredients

The full list of measurements for each ingredient is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

  • Chickpeas – One 15oz can provides protein and texture to the lemon rice soup. You can also use white beans or cannellini beans for a creamy texture. 
  • White rice – I used basmati rice, but arborio rice or brown rice also works perfectly in this recipe. 
  • Yellow onion & celery – These aromatic veggies create a flavorful base for the soup. 
  • Carrots – These are added for extra nutrition and a touch of sweetness.
  • Garlic – Brings an aromatic and savory flavor to the soup. 
  • Vegetable broth – This is used as the liquid base for the Greek lemon rice soup. 
  • Lemon – Use freshly squeezed lemon juice to add brightness to the Greek lemon soup. You can also add a bit of lemon zest if you want lots of lemon flavor. 
  • Zucchini – I used just one thinly sliced zucchini to add extra texture and nutrition. You can also add baby spinach if you want extra veggies!
  • Cilantro – I love to add a bit of fresh chopped cilantro at the end for a burst of freshness and beautiful color. Fresh dill will also work well if you aren’t a fan of cilantro!

How to Make The Best Vegan Lemon Rice Soup

Sauté the aromatics – In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic with olive oil over medium heat until softened. 

Simmer everything together – Add the chickpeas, white rice, and hot vegetable broth. Let it simmer over medium-low heat until the rice cooks and the beans are tender.

Finish with lemon and herbs – Turn off the heat and stir in fresh lemon juice, zucchini, cilantro, and seasonings.

Storage and serving:

I love to make a big batch of this lemony vegetable rice soup for meal prepping or freezing. You can store the leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When reheating, add a bit of vegetable broth as rice tends to absorb liquids over time. This prevents the soup from becoming too thick.

To freeze, let the soup cool completely and then transfer portions to freezer bags or airtight containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating over medium-low heat with extra broth until hot, stirring occasionally.

I like to serve this soup with crusty bread, a Greek salad, or fresh fruit for a tasty plant-based meal. If you like, save a small amount of fresh cilantro for garnish when serving. This adds a burst of color and a hint of fresh aroma to the finished dish.

Lemon rice chickpea soup no chicken

Recipe FAQs and Tips:

  • If using canned chickpeas, thoroughly rinse and drain them to remove excess sodium and the canning liquid. This helps control the salt content in the soup.
  • If you’re planning to reheat the soup, undercook the zucchini slightly initially. This prevents it from becoming too soft when reheating, maintaining a better texture.
  • Taste the soup before serving and adjust the lemon juice and salt as needed. The acidity from the lemon brightens the flavors, and proper salt levels enhance overall taste.

Can I substitute brown rice for white rice?

Yes, you can substitute brown rice, but keep in mind that brown rice usually takes longer to cook. Adjust the cooking time accordingly or partially cook the brown rice before adding it to the soup.

Can I use other vegetables in this soup?

Yes, feel free to customize the vegetable selection. Spinach, kale, or bell peppers could be great additions.

Is there a specific type of vegetable broth recommended?

You can use any vegetable broth you prefer, whether store-bought or homemade. Be sure to check the salt content in the broth and adjust the additional salt accordingly.

Can I make this soup ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the soup in advance. Keep in mind that the rice will continue to absorb the broth as it sits, so you may need to add more liquid when reheating.

I can’t wait for you to try this lemon rice soup, a vegan twist on a traditional Greek recipe. It’s truly the ultimate comforting meal that also happens to be healthy and delicious. This recipe is perfect for plant-based eaters or anyone looking for an easy, wholesome weeknight dinner.

Other soup recipes to try

Lemon Rice Soup (No Chicken, Just Chickpeas!)

Lemon rice chickpea soup no chicken
This fresh and delicious lemon rice soup made with chickpeas instead of chicken is the perfect vegan comfort food.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 6


  • 1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups cooked white rice medium grain
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ – 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini thinly sliced
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves wash, dried, and chopped


  • Peel and dice onion and carrot. Mince garlic. Dice celery.
    Veggies diced for soup
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring regularly, until translucent about 4 minutes.
  • Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and oregano to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until vegetables begin to soften up.
    Carrot celery and onion in pot for soup
  • Add in the chickpeas and broth. Stir well to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Chickpeas and broth in pot
  • Wash, dry and chop the cilantro leaves. Slice the zucchini in 4 lengthwise. Cut the zucchini into thin rounds.
  • To the soup, add the rice, ½ tsp salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes until the rice is plump.
  • Add the zucchini and cilantro and cook for 3-5 minutes until the zucchini is tender.
    Squash added to pot
  • Taste and adjust lemon juice and salt as needed.


This is best the same day. If you are planning to reheat, undercook the zucchini. The rice will absorb the broth as it sits, so the soup will get thicker over the course of a few days.

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