Sunday, December 30, 2012

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup: A Vegan Take on a Classic for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

One of my favorite comfort-soups is Greek Avgolemono--thick chicken-based soup with lemon, dill and egg. Since taking meat and poultry out of my diet, I have craved avgolemono, especially when I am feeling stuffy. Finding a good recipe for a vegan version in Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet by Terry Hope Romero, I knew I had to try it. 

Terry Hope Romero co-authored Veganomicon, one of my very favorite vegan cookbooks for recipes and inspiration. Vegan Eats World is equally inspiring. The 300 recipes feature global flavors and a wide variety of recipes. A friend gifted it to me for Christmas and it is already studded with tabs of things I want to make--starting with her "No" golemono.

Terry Hope Romero says, "The zesty classic egg-lemon chicken soup gets a vegan makeover with the help of white beans and a touch of aborio rice. Aborio is usually reserved for risottos, but in soups it expands and softens to create a creamy base. This will thicken considerably as it cools, so for a thinner soup, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of hot vegetable broth; a high quality vegetarian chicken-flavored broth is especially suited here"

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup ("No" govlemono)
From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
(Serves 4 to 6)

1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced very small
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 oz) can or 2 cups cooked white beans such as cannelini, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable or vegetarian-chicken flavored broth
3 Tbsp aborio rice
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 cup lemon juice
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
additional dried oregano or a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish

In a 3-quart soup pot, fry the onion and carrot in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and fry for another 45 seconds, then pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

In a mixing bowl, puree the beans with 1 cup of the vegetable broth, then add to pot along with the remaining broth, aborio rice, bay leave, oregano, dill, and orzo pasta. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir a few times, and cover the pot. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovering the pot occasionally to stir and check to see if the rice is sticking. The soup is ready when the orzo is tender and the rice is meltingly soft.

When done, turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and keep covered for 10 minute. Remove the bay leaves and season soup to taste with ground pepper, salt, and additional lemon juice if desired. Sprinkle each serving with a little dried oregano or chopped parsley. 

Notes/Results: A thick and creamy bowl of comfort that tastes pretty close to the original--especially with the vegetarian chicken broth. I pureed the beans in the blender and they nicely subbed for the usual egg--without the hassle of tempering them and having to gradually whisk them into the soup. The lemon and dill stand out in the soup and I didn't find any need for extra salt. As Terry Hope Romero mentions, this soup does become extremely thick--I like it that way, but if you don't, have plenty of the stock on hand to add to it. I served mine with some dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). This soup satisfies a craving in a healthier way--I would make this again.

We have a few friends in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week--let's take a look.

Stash of Simple Kitchen Seasons is back with a pretty bowl of Minestrone Invernale and says, "One seasonal favorite that makes a regular appearance at my table is minestrone. Its content depends on what’s good at the market, and almost always contains a bounty of fresh vegetables, packed with flavor. You can make it from ingredients that literally cost pennies. It pays for itself after the first meal, as the flavors develop marvelously on the second and succeeding days thereafter. It’s a substantial soup that’s nearly a meal in itself. Pair with a green salad, a crusty loaf of bread and a glass of crisp, dry white wine, and you have the makings of a perfect lunch or dinner."

Please join me in welcoming Deanna from Yummy Good Soups and Salads!, joining us for the first time at Souper Sundays with this decadent Buttery Onion Soup. She says, "A perfect soup for a special dinner. I would suggest serving a cup of this soup rather than a bowl, its rich and very filling. Taste is delicious, smooth, creamy, velvety & buttery. I have served it with both oyster cracker and croutons and prefer the croutons, especially if they are home made croutons. Yummy good!" Welcome Deanna! 

Finally one salad this week, a kasha masterpiece from Janet at The Taste Space, this Kasha with Sauteed Mushrooms and Dill. Janet says, "To flavour this dish, I adapted the recipe in Appetite for Reduction for Sauteed Kasha and Mushrooms with Dill, a pasta-less version of Kasha Varnishkes. The fluffy kasha is combined with sauteed mushrooms and onions. Lots of black pepper and dill make this dish flavourful, despite it looking so bland on paper."

Thanks to Stash, Deanna and Janet for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share just click on the souper sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week and a Happy New Year!


  1. VEW is a treasure trove of great recipes. I can't wait to see what else you make... most of what I have made so far (30+ recipes!) have been great! :) Thank you for another great round-up, Deb. :)

  2. I've always wanted to try this soup but have been holding out for a good vegetarian version...and now you've brought it to me! Healthy and oh-so satisfying.

  3. pam @ sidewalk shoesDecember 31, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Happy New Year Deb!!

  4. Thanks for posting the vegan in-chicken lemon rice soup. I made it last night and it was delicious! Perfect for a chilly, fall day here in NYC. Will be checking out more recipes from you.


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