This vegan version of a Greek “avgolemono” lemon rice soup is a hearty and flavorful meal. But what makes this version plant-based? This soup combines all of the cozy goodness of Mediterranean flavors— lemon, garlic, parsley, and spinach —without the chicken and egg as in the classic Greek recipe. Also, puréed white beans make for a creamy base texture mingled with arborio rice.
Soup and stews are some of my favorite recipes to make. Especially when the cooler temperatures of fall and winter arrive, a big comforting bowl of soup hits the spot. I made this recipe in my InstantPot, but you can just as easily make this in your own soup pot as well. My favorite? Le Creuset!
This Vegan Lemon Rice Avgolemono Soup is a new family favorite. It has all of the flavors I love together: citrusy lemon, savory garlic, fresh cracked pepper, herby parsley, enhanced by the creaminess of blended cannellini beans and arborio rice. As the soup thickens, the rice soaks up all flavor and becomes more like risotto than a soup.
the magic of white beans = creamy soup
White beans. They’re a great base for creamy soups in place of the other plant-based options, like cashews. The beans blend into a purée, et voila! Creamy without the cream. You can use cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, navy beans, chickpeas, etc. And now that I’m thinking about this, chickpeas would make a marvelous choice.
arborio rice is nice
I’ve used arborio rice for this recipe, but feel free to try other types of rice. My second (experimental) choice would be wild rice or short grain brown rice. The thing is about this rice soup is that the arborio rice makes the perfect creamy soupy rice without getting gloppy. Therefore, I highly recommend arborio rice. Arborio is used for risotto (also try Bomba paella rice) and withstands soaking in the broth without getting gelatinous.
fresh serving options
I like to top off this lemon rice soup with handfuls of chopped spinach, parsley, and dill, a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of fruity olive oil, and lots of fresh black pepper. Save the greens and herbs for garnish rather than stirring into the pot— otherwise the spinach may turn dark and slimy, and wilted parsley looks sad. Add all greens as garnish instead. The freshness of the herby flavors will combine well with the hearty soup.
Lemon Rice Avgolemono Soup
serves 4 people
1-2 tbl plant-based butter (or olive oil)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped, about 2 stalks
4 large carrots, sliced into half rounds
1 15oz. can of white beans, drained & rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
½ cup arborio rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, more to taste
2 bay leaves
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbl fresh dill, chopped
lemon slices, to serve
fruity olive oil, to serve
In a large soup pot, add butter, garlic, leek, onion, and shallot and sauté for 7-10 minutes until soft.
Add celery and carrots to pot. Continue to sauté for 10 minutes.
In a food processor or blender, add white beans and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Blend until creamy smooth. Set aside.
Add broth, puréed beans, arborio rice, spoonful of lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and bay leaves into the pot.
Bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low flame.
Allow to simmer for approximately 25 minutes until arborio rice is al dente (toothsome, aka not too soft).
Season soup with remaining lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and a dash of olive oil, to taste.
To serve: Garnish with heaps of parsley, spinach and herbs. A squeeze of lemon. Drizzle with fruity olive oil. Add fresh black pepper.
Serving/Storage Notes: Remove bay leaves from pot or avoid serving them in individual bowls. Store the chopped greens and parsley garnish in separate container rather than adding to soup during storage. Remember, the rice soaks up the broth and becomes thick, like risotto. Add extra broth to reheat. Store in a sealed container.