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Curl up with a bowl of this cozy Vegan Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup! Freshly squeezed lemon juice, tender orzo pasta, juicy vegan chicken, and fresh herbs and spinach all combined in a savory vegan chicken soup broth. Ready for the dinner table in 40 minutes or less.
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We have tons of Vegan Soup Recipes on the blog, but there’s something special about a homemade lemon “chicken” orzo soup. It’s just as comforting as a bowl of Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup, but with a refreshing twist that keeps this soup light and bright (aka fresh lemon juice!).
It’s so simple to make– you’re going to want to make this family-favorite soup every week during the colder months!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan butter: Used to sauté the vegan chicken and aromatics. We find vegan butter adds more richness than a standard cooking oil, but feel free to use a cooking oil as needed.
- Vegan chicken: There are tons of vegan chicken options in grocery stores these days, so opt for your favorite brand! If needed, you can also replace the chicken with another plant-based protein such as a can of chickpeas or 8 ounces of rehydrated soy curls (rehydrated weight).
- Aromatics: You’ll need onion, celery, carrots, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes if desired. These basics add depth of flavor and richness to the soup base.
- Flour: Helps to thicken the soup broth just slightly. If you are gluten-free, opt for a gluten-free flour blend.
- Vegan chicken broth: For a more savory flavor, we opted to use Better Than Bouillon Vegan Chicken Base. If preferred or needed, use a standard vegetable broth. If you choose to use low-sodium vegetable broth, you may want to add additional salt or miso paste to taste.
- Orzo: A small rice-shaped pasta that is often confused for actual rice! Look for it in the grocery store next to the other pasta. If you are gluten-free, you can usually find a gluten-free orzo in stores, too!
- White miso paste: Adds a savory umami flavor to the soup that adds depth of flavor.
- Baby spinach: Adds a vibrant pop of color, plus a boost of plant-based nutrition. Another leafy green such as kale works well, too!
- Lemon: Essential for that refreshing, bright flavor you crave in a lemon orzo soup. For the best flavor, you’ll need the juice from about 1/2 a lemon, plus additional lemon zest, if desired.
- Vegan parmesan cheese: We’ve used store-bought vegan parmesan and homemade and both work well. Use your favorite!
- Fresh parsley: Parsley is typically used as a soup garnish, but we like to add parsley directly into the soup because it adds freshness and an additional pop of flavor.
How to Make Vegan Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Brown the vegan chicken. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of vegan butter. Add in the vegan chicken and sauté until browned and crispy on the edges. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Sauté the aromatics. Add the remaining vegan butter to the pan, then add in the celery, carrots, and onions. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, and Italian seasoning, and sauté for 1 additional minute.
- Add flour. Stir in the flour, coating all of the vegetables, and cook for about 1 minute to hydrate.
- Add vegan chicken broth. Pour in the vegan chicken broth, and stir until the flour has dissolved, then bring the soup broth to a boil.
- Stir in the chicken and orzo. Once the soup broth is boiling, stir in the orzo pasta and vegan chicken cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook for 9 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. When the orzo is ready, it should be the same texture as al dente pasta. Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and reduce the pot to low heat.
- Whisk in the miso paste and the remaining ingredients. Remove about 1/4 cup of the chicken soup broth from the pot and add it to a small bowl. Whisk in the miso paste until smooth, then add the miso mixture to the soup along with a handful of fresh spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, a handful of fresh parsley, and vegan parmesan.
- Season and serve. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, then serve immediately with a wedge of lemon and vegan crackers or bread. Enjoy!
A warm bowl of this Vegan Lemon Orzo Soup is hearty enough to enjoy on its own with a side of vegan crackers or crusty bread. We often serve ours with Vegan Garlic Bread or a slice of our 4-ingredient No Knead Bread.
This vegan orzo soup can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and gluten-free pasta. Additionally, make sure to use a gluten-free vegan chicken – some, similar to our Vegan Chicken Nuggets, will contain vital wheat gluten or other gluten-containing ingredients.
Leftover soup will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We don’t recommend freezing this vegan lemon orzo soup as pasta doesn’t tend to freeze well.
Reheat soup in the microwave or in a small pot on the stovetop until warmed through. Avoid over-reheating, as this can overcook the pasta and make it mushy.
30 Minute Meals