Greek Chickpea Soup is a vegetarian version of the traditional Greek Avgolemono using chickpeas in place of chicken. Comforting broth, chickpeas and rice, aromatic leeks and garlic, bright lemon, and fresh dill create a satisfying, lively meal ready in just 30 minutes.
I absolutely love hot soup on a cold night (honestly, even on a hot night). A savory base of vegetable or chicken broth, some aromatics like garlic, celery, and carrots, and a protein are all you need for a satisfying meal.
The addition of fresh herbs and some acid, either in the form of citrus, tomato, mustard, or a bit of Worcestershire or vinegar can truly elevate an everyday soup without making it sour or bitter.
This recipe is a perfect example - the lemon and dill transform the flavor from something relatively bland to something punchy, fresh, and bright.
What You'll Need
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- Chickpeas I use canned chickpeas here because they are easy and inexpensive. You could also cook dry chickpeas ahead of time to use in this dish.
- Vegetable Broth You can use regular boxed vegetable broth, or try Better than Bouillon, which I love. Even better if you have homemade vegetable broth!
- Cooked Rice White rice or brown rice will work well here.
- Fresh Leek If you can't find leeks, substitute a yellow onion. Be sure to clean your leeks very well! They contain a lot of sand and grit which will go straight into your soup if you don't rinse them very thoroughly.
- Fresh Garlic You can use a bit of garlic powder in place of the garlic, but fresh is definitely preferred.
- Lemon You can also use bottled lemon juice.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil Using high-quality extra virgin olive oil is always a treat, but any kind you have on hand will be fine here.
- Kosher Salt I always recommend using kosher salt in recipes. It is easier to control the saltiness and it coats food more evenly.
How to Make Greek Chickpea Soup
Step One: Prep your vegetables: chop to carrots, celery, and leeks (white and light green parts only). Clean the leeks very well under running water to ensure no sand or grit gets into your soup. Mince your garlic.
Step Two Place a medium to large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Sweat the carrot, celery, and leek until they are softened.
Step Three Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Step Four Reserve 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add the remainder to the pot with the chickpeas. Bring up to a boil and down to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste occasionally, seasoning with salt as needed.
Step Five Heat the reserved cup of vegetable broth and one cup of cooked rice in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave-safe dish. Add to the pitcher of a blender or food processor. Add two eggs.
Step Six Blend until thick and smooth.
Step Seven Add the blended mixture and the remainder of the cooked rice to the pot. Add the lemon juice and dill, taste, season with more salt if needed, and serve right away.
Traditional In place of the chickpeas, use chicken and remove the carrots and celery. This is a more traditional version of a Greek Avgolemono soup.
Fresh Herbs You can add other fresh herbs before serving. Soft herbs like parsley and basil are wonderful here.
Cheese Add some grated parmesan or shredded mozzarella to your final soup.
Avgolemono is a Greek soup with chicken, rice, lemon, and dill, thickened with eggs. This recipe is a vegetarian Avgolemono, using chickpeas in place of chicken.
You can. I recommend freezing before you add the blended rice, egg, and broth mixture and reserve the cooked rice as well. Once you defrost and reheat the soup mixture, you can make and add the blended mixture and the rice.
Adding the rice to hot soup will cause it to absorb the broth. This is fine when serving right away, but when storing, will result in more of a porridge than a soup. The eggs can also curdle when reheated.
Fridge Take the soup off of the stove before adding the blended rice, egg, and broth mixture and before adding the remaining rice. Store the soup and rice separately.
Once you are ready to reheat, create the blended rice, egg, and broth mixture using the step-by-step directions above. Reheat the remaining soup in a pan on the stove, being sure to bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer.
Once the soup is warmed through, create the blended mixture and add to the soup with the remaining rice. Add the lemon and dill and then serve.
Freezer Defrost the soup base (before adding the blended rice, egg, and broth mixture and before adding the remaining rice), then follow the directions above.
- To make sure your egg does not cook in the broth, temper it by making the rice, egg, and broth mixture in a blender or food processor. This allows the egg to come up to the soup's temperature before introducing it into the broth.
- Clean your leeks incredibly well! After slicing, you can place in a colander and run cold water over them, using your fingers to separate the layers to ensure every part is rinsed. Otherwise you will have grit and/or sand in your soup.
- Do not add the rice, egg, and broth mixture to the soup if you plan to store it for later. Store the soup base (broth, aromatics, chickpeas) separately and once reheated, make and add the rice, egg, broth mixture, the remaining rice, lemon, and dill.
How to Store
You can store this soup for 2 to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container using the directions specified in the FAQ section (see: "How do I reheat this?")
If freezing, be sure to only freeze the soup base of broth, garlic, leek, carrot, celery, and chickpeas. This will last for about 4 months in the freezer.
Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat by bring up to a boil and down to a simmer. Once reheated, add the rice, egg, and broth mixture and the remaining cooked rice. Finish with the lemon and dill and serve.
How to Make a Meal
This soup is definitely a meal unto itself. Here are some ideas to fill out your table with different sides:
Salad Try with a Greek green salad for more Mediterranean flavor.
Bread Serve with a crusty baguette, or go a step further and make some crispy crostini.
Crackers Have you ever made your own crackers? This soup would go really well with a handful of homemade crackers.
Sandwich Serve a half sandwich with a cup of this soup. Try this grilled cheese with sundried tomatoes and feta!
Recipes You'll Love
Here are some other warming vegetarian dishes for a cold night:
Greek Chickpea Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 leek white and light green parts only, medium, sliced
- 1 carrot medium, sliced
- 1 stalk celery medium, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 15 ounces chickpeas from 1 can, drained
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice from about 1 fresh lemon
- ¼ cup dill fresh, chopped
- kosher salt to taste
Rice, Egg, and Broth Mixture
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
- Slice your carrot, celery, and leeks. Mince your garlic. Clean the leeks very well under cold water to remove the sand and grit, preferably in a colander.
- Place a medium pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Sweat the carrots, celery, and leeks for about 5 minutes, until they are softened. Add a pinch of salt.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the stock or broth and bring up to a boil and back down to a simmer. Season with salt to taste.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Add one cup of the cooked rice.
Rice, Egg, and Broth Mixture
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining rice and stock or broth until warmed through. Add to a food processor or blender.
- Add the eggs and blend until thick and smooth.
- Once the soup has cooked with the chickpeas for about 15 minutes, add the rice, egg, and broth mixture into the soup to thicken it.
- Add the lemon juice and dill to the soup, taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed, and serve.
- You can use white rice or brown rice for this recipe.
- To store leftovers, stop before adding the cooked rice and the rice, egg, and broth mixture. Refrigerate the broth, vegetables, and chickpeas in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer.
- When reheating, bring up to a boil and down to simmer. Then complete the remaining steps of the recipe: add the cooked rice, and make and add the warmed rice, broth, and egg mixture. Finish with the lemon and dill and serve.
- Be sure to clean the leeks very well before adding them to the pot. After slicing, you can place in a colander and run cold water over them, using your fingers to separate the layers to ensure every part is rinsed.