This healthy vegan lemon orzo soup with chickpeas, spinach and dill is easy to make in under 30 minutes and perfect for warming up on a chilly day.

Two hands holding a bowl of Greek lemon chickpea orzo soup with spinach in it. A spoon rests in the bowl.

About the Recipe

This recipe is inspired by Greek avgolemono soup. Traditionally the Greek soup features rice and chicken in a lemony broth made with egg and lemon sauce.

This vegetarian version is made with chickpeas, miso, tahini and orzo, a small rice-shaped pasta.

Fresh dill and parsley add another layer of flavor for bright and zesty soup. It’s also healthy and easy to make in under 30 minutes with simple ingredients, making it perfect for a weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy.

Chockfull of veggies and yummy bites of orzo and chickpeas, this soup is pure comfort food, especially when paired with a hearty slice of warm bread!

Orzo always makes comforting meal. You can also try it in this delicious Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

For more soups like this, this Creamy Cauliflower Wild Rice Soup, Easy Lemon Lentil Soup with Turmeric and Easy One Pot Vegan Lasagna Soup are both really good.

What is avgolemono?

Avgolemono is a sauce made from egg yolk and lemon juice in which they are heated together until creamy, thick and silky. You’ll find avgolemono in various cuisines around the world but its most commonly known as a Greek sauce.

In Greek avgolemono soup, avgolemono is added to broth with chicken and rice for an extra rich and creamy finish.

To make this recipe without chicken or egg (vegan avgolemono soup), it features chickpeas instead of chicken, and a sauce made from miso, tahini and lemon juice, instead of egg and lemon.


Visual list of ingredients for making a lemon orzo soup with chickpeas, spinach, onion and carrot.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need onion, garlic and carrot. If you’re missing fresh garlic you can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder. Celery works too if you like!
  • Vegetable Stock: Any vegetable broth or stock works. I like Better Than Bouillon.
  • Chickpeas: You can cook your own from scratch or use 2 15 oz cans or 1 large 28 oz can. If you’re using canned, drain and rinse them before adding to the recipe. If you only have a 19 oz can on hand, that’s ok too, the amount doesn’t have to be exact.
  • Orzo: Any variety works, such as gluten-free, wheat or whole wheat orzo. (check packaging as some contain egg). If you like you can substitute rinsed basmati rice but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time a bit.
  • Tahini: Good tahini is creamy and not overly bitter and will add a delicious finish to this recipe. I like Arz Fine Foods or Soom. It’s commonly found in well-stocked stores or you can find it in a Mediterranean specialty store. Sometimes it’s in a different section than other nut and seed butters, so just ask if you can’t find it. It’s also readily available online.
  • Miso Paste: White or yellow miso paste works. Miso paste is usually found near tofu in a refrigerated section of the grocery store. It’s common in well-stocked grocery stores or any Asian specialty store.
  • Spinach: You’ll need fresh spinach. Finely chopped kale would also work!
  • Fresh Herbs: The recipe calls for fresh dill and parsley. Fresh is best in this recipe but if you don’t have any on hand or can’t find it in stores, you can substitute 1 tsp dried dill and parsley. The dill adds quite a bit of flavour so if you’re not a fan, either omit it or reduce the amount.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.


  • For more intense lemon flavour, add 1-2 tsp lemon zest when you add the fresh herbs at the end.
  • To add an enhanced nutty flavour to the orzo, add it to the veggies before you add the broth, chickpeas and bay leaf and “toast” for about 1 minute.
  • Additional Veggies: You can add celery, peeled and diced potato, finely chopped leek or chopped asparagus to this recipe.
  • White beans work well as a substitute for chickpeas.
  • Serve lemon chickpea soup with toasty warm bread, naan bread or pita.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by sautéing the carrot and onion in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Cook them for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and fragrant.

Step 2: Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring often.

Sautéed onion, garlic and carrot in a large soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Add the stock, chickpeas, orzo and bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil.

Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite. Be sure to give it a good stir every 1-2 minutes to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 4: While the orzo is cooking, mix the tahini, lemon juice, miso and water together in a container until smooth and creamy.

Brothy orzo chickpea lemon soup cooking in a large soup pot.

Step 5: Once the orzo is tender, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the tahini-lemon-miso mixture, spinach, and fresh dill and parsley, reserving some of the fresh herbs for sprinkling on top.

Stir for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted and mixed in.

Large soup of lemon orzo soup with spinach and chickpeas. A wooden spoon rests in the pot.

Serve your lemon orzo soup a sprinkle of the remaining fresh herbs, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and any other additional garnishes you might enjoy.

Hand squeezing a lemon wedge over a bowl of lemon chickpea orzo soup with spinach and carrots.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this gluten-free?

Sure. If you can find gluten-free orzo, go ahead and use that. Otherwise, swap the orzo for rinsed basmati rice and adjust the cooking time as needed. You may need a little extra broth as rice will require a bit more cooking liquid.

Can I use a different pasta?

Yes. You can use any small pasta shape in this recipe. Sub something like bows, rotini, penne or fusili 1:1 for the orzo and cook al dente according to package instructions.

How long does lemon orzo soup keep?

Let cool before storing then store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.

The orzo will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so the soup will thicken considerably the next day. You can enjoy it as is, or stir in a little additional broth to adjust the consistency to your preference.

Reheat the soup in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Cooking Tips

  • I’d recommend gathering and preparing all the ingredients beforehand, so it’s a quick and easy process once you get going.
  • Check the orzo packaging for estimated cooking time then err on the side of al dente (or even slightly underdone). It may only need 7-8 minutes.
Lifting a spoonful of lemon chickpea orzo soup from a bowl.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Use the Saute function to cook the carrot, onion and garlic in the oil for 5-7 minute, stirring often.
  2. Add the broth, chickpeas, orzo and bay leaf. Seal the Instant Pot with the valve turned to Sealing. Cook for 4 minutes on High Pressure.
  3. While the soup is cooking, mix up the vegan avgolemono sauce.
  4. Once the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Release any remaining pressure and carefully open the lid.
  5. Stir in the fresh herbs, avgolemono sauce and spinach until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Enjoy your soup with lemon and more fresh herbs sprinkled over top.

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Large soup pot of lemon orzo soup with spinach and chickpeas. A wooden spoon rests in the pot.

Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 17 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Greek
  • Diet: Vegan
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This vegan lemon orzo soup with chickpeas, spinach and dill is packed with fresh flavor making it a wonderful soup to enjoy any time of year. 


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 mL, use water for oil-free)
  • 1 white onion, diced (approx. 192 g/1¾ cups) 
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces (approx. 175 g/1¼ cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated (15 g)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (1500 mL)
  • 3 cups chickpeas (2 15 oz can or 1 28 oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup orzo (185 g)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (55 g)
  • ¼ cup tahini (60 g)
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste (30 g)
  • ¼ cup warm water (60 mL)
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach (57 g)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (7 g)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped (7 g)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Saute Onion, Carrot & Garlic: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 min, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 min, stirring often, until fragrant.
  2. Simmer: Add the vegetable stock, chickpeas, orzo and bay leaf. Season with another small pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes, so the orzo does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until orzo is tender, but still firm to the bite (al dente).
  3. Prepare Sauce: While the soup cooks, add the tahini, lemon juice, miso and warm water to a container and whisk to combine until completely smooth and creamy.
  4. Stir in Sauce, Spinach and Herbs: When the orzo is tender, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in spinach, lemon-tahini mixture and the parsley and dill, reserving a small amount of fresh herbs for serving. Stir for 1-2 min, until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Serve: Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle remaining parsley and dill over top. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon, if desired.


Let cool before storing. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. The orzo will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so the soup will thicken considerably after storing. You can enjoy it as is, or stir in a little additional broth to adjust the consistency to your preference. Reheat the soup in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition facts are estimated based on a serving size that is 1/5 of the recipe. Sodium content will depend on the broth/stock used and how much salt you add when seasoning.


  • Serving Size: 1/5th of recipe
  • Calories: 364
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 51 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Protein: 14 g