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One-pot Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is the best bright and flavorful soup to warm you up in the colder months. All you need is 11 simple plant-based ingredients. Vegan, Oil-free and gluten-free option.
This Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is loaded with veggies, plant protein, and wholesome orzo pasta that’s simmered until tender. Finish with a sprinkle of bright and zesty gremolata and dig in. It’s a 35 minute meal the whole family will crave.
Table of Contents
All About this Bright and Cozy Soup
If my One Pot Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup makes you feel warm and nostalgic, you’ll love this lemon chickpea orzo soup. It’s also made in 1 pot in just over 30 minutes and is filled with comforting pasta and plant-based protein. The first spoonful of this bright and flavorful soup is the best cure for cold, dreary weather.
I’ve made this soup as easy and budget friendly as possible, using just 11 ingredients that are likely stocked in your kitchen right now. It’s another recipe that will make weeknights easier, while nourishing your body and soul at the same time.
Ingredients for Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup
As with most soups here on the blog, we’re sticking to the classic pantry staples here! You’ll need:
- Aromatics: The classic blend of onion, celery, carrots, and garlic creates a flavorful soup base.
- Chickpeas: The plant-based substitution for chicken in the more traditional lemon chicken orzo soup.
- Broth: I recommend vegan chicken broth for a more flavorful broth, but vegetable broth works well too!
- Orzo: A small, thin pasta that looks similar in shape to long-grain rice. It’s a popular addition to soups and salads because it cooks quickly and instantly turns a soup into a filling meal. Try orzo in some of my other favorite recipes such as this Triple Tomato Basil Orzo Salad and this Spring Orzo Salad with Peas and Lemon Vinaigrette.
- Lemon: Of course! As always, freshly squeezed is best. You won’t regret it.
How to Make Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup
- In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the onion, celery, and carrots until golden. Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning.
- Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
- Add chickpeas and broth and stir, dissolving the flour. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, stir in the orzo and simmer until the orzo is tender.
- While simmering, make the gremolata. Combine parsley, lemon zest, and salt in a small bowl.
- Stir in the spinach and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately while warm as desired.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Use the weighted orzo measurement when possible. If you own a baking scale, I highly recommend using the weighted pasta measurement. This will ensure you add the correct amount and thicken the soup to the correct consistency. Too much pasta and the soup will be very thick. Too little and it will be thin.
- Add additional lemon zest. If you can’t get enough of the bright lemon flavor, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest at step 6. This will help the flavor pop even more so and satisfy your taste buds.
- Add additional broth as needed. If you’ve found your soup has thickened more than expected, feel free to add additional broth to thin it out again to your desired texture. This can be especially helpful when reheating as the pasta tends to absorb additional liquid overnight.
This Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup is hearty and filling on its own thanks to the protein-rich chickpeas and wholesome pasta, but you can’t go wrong serving it with a side of crusty bread. This plant-based soup also pairs well with a light salad such as my classic Everyday Kale Salad recipe or this cozy Kale & Cranberry Salad with Tahini Cider Dressing.
If you’re looking for more comforting vegan soup recipes, you’ll also love this Healthy Stuffed Pepper Soup and this Quick Vegan Minestrone Soup. Or, browse my ever-growing collection of Vegan Soups and Stews and find a new favorite today!
How to Store Lemon Orzo Soup
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow the soup to cool completely to room temperature before covering and storing.
Reheat leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan on the stovetop until warmed through. If frozen, allow the lemon orzo soup to thaw completely in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days before reheating and serving as normal.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free option: Swap wheat-based orzo for gluten-free orzo or another short cut pasta and replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Alternatively, skip step 2 and make a cornstarch slurry by dissolving 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the lemon orzo soup in recipe step 6 and continue to simmer until the soup has thickened to your liking.
- Oil-free option: Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots in ¼ cup (60 ml) water instead of oil. Add additional splashes of water to the pot as necessary to prevent sticking.
- Italian seasoning blend substitution: If you do not have a pre-mixed Italian seasoning blend, substitute ¼ teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, parsley, and dried rosemary.
- Chickpea substitute: Another hearty legume such as cannellini beans or even shredded vegan “chicken” strips, soy curls, or seitan.
Adds an acidity and brightness that lightens the soup and makes it taste incredibly fresh and flavorful.
The best way to add depth and flavor to any soup is to sauté the vegetables (mirepoix) really well. Cooking these vegetables for several minutes allows them to brown and develop deep flavor. Next, make sure to season your soup well to create enough umami flavor. If your soup is under seasoned, the flavor will fall flat.
Although this soup broth is not creamy, it is slightly thickened with flour and the starches from the orzo pasta. This adds a richness and comforting flavor to the soup. No watery broth here!
While most store-bought chicken broths are neither vegetarian or vegan friendly, there are a few vegan “no chicken” broths you can purchase. Better than Bouillon, Orrington Farms, and Edward & Sons make versions that are easy to find in both grocery stores and online.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan butter
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 3 sticks celery finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 3-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 6 cups reduced sodium vegan “chicken” broth or sub vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 4 ounces Baby spinach
- Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Gremolata: (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- Zest of 1/2–1 lemon start with less
- Pinch of salt
- Aromatics: Warm the oil or butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions are golden. Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Thicken the Soup: Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for another minute or so, stirring frequently. (Note: see recipe notes for a gluten-free option)
- Bring to a Boil: Add the chickpeas and broth and stir well, until the flour has dissolved. Cover and bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
- Simmer: Uncover, add the orzo and stir well; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. Stir frequently to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Make the Gremolata: While the soup is simmering, combine the parsley, lemon zest, and salt together in a small bowl to make the gremolata. Set aside.
- Final Touches: Turn the heat to low once the orzo is cooked and stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
- Serve: Divide the soup into serving bowls and garnish with gremolata and a drizzle of olive oil, or as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or the soup can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Gluten-Free: use gluten-free orzo (or pasta) in place of regular orzo and refer to the package instructions for simmer time. Use a gf flour blend instead of all-purpose flour, or skip step 2 and dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water; add this to the soup and add with the spinach in step 6.
- Oil-Free: Sauté the vegetables in 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in step 1, adding more water as necessary. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.