A nourishing bowl of vegetarian lemon rice soup overflowing with spring vegetables and an obscene amount of fresh dill. Light, healthy, and easy. Perfect for a light dinner or nourishing lunch.
Before we get crushed by the heat of summer lets celebrate the beauty that is spring soups! It is still quite chilly in the mornings and evenings here in the Catskills, and soup remains the staple food that I crave over and over and over again.
I know you are going to flip for this nourishing lemon rice soup with chickpeas, dill, spring peas, and fennel. The lemon adds just the right amount of brightness to turn this soup into spring sunshine. Serve it with crusty bread or a tender leafy salad.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- One pot baby! One of the bazillion reasons I love soup recipes. Easy clean up! Just let all the spring goodness bubble away on the stovetop, serve it up and then wash one pot. Less washing = more time in my garden!
- Comfort food loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
- Plant powerful recipe with protein. The addition of chickpeas and peas in this recipe provide a well balanced carbohydrate/ protein profile.
- Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a hearty snack. Yes, I said breakfast. I am a card carrying member of the #SoupForBreakfastClub
Let's Get Cooking!
INGREDIENTS and SUBSTITUTIONS:
Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Carrots, onion, fennel – The flavor trifecta! These veggies make up the base of this soup and provide a ton of flavor! You can swap out fennel and use celery instead but I love that hint of anise flavor as the base of this soup.
- Basmati rice – I love the texture and flavor of basmati rice, nutty and fluffy rice perfection. I prefer purchasing organic rice and soaking it for an hour or so before cooking. This step is optional but helps to reduce the anti-nutrients in rice and reduces cooking time.
- Chickpeas – I used organic canned chickpeas in this recipe. If you have tricky digestion always rinse your beans very well to improve digestibility.
- Frozen sweet green peas – Did you know that peas are actually in the legume family and technically not a vegetable? I love that sweet pop that green peas offer in this soup, and the added protein is just a bonus.
- Baby spinach – Wilted into the soup in the last few minutes of cooking. You could easily use kale, but increase cooking time by 3 minutes.
- Stock/Broth – I typically use chicken stock in most soup recipes because I have a stockpile in my pantry. If you are vegetarain use vegetable stock, if you have good quality bone broth, use that. I have tested this recipe using both Pacific organic vegetable stock and Pacific organic chicken stock.
- Lemon – Necessary, don't skip the fresh lemon in this recipe – it is, after all, LEMON rice soup 🙂
- Dill – An obscene amount, becuase that's how I roll when it comes to dill. Stirred into the soup in the last minute of cooking.
TOOLS YOU WILL USE:
Most soup recipes start the same, and this is no exception. Begin by sauteeing your aromatic vegetables, in this case, finely diced carrot, onion, and fennel. Saute for several minutes in your choice of cooking fat (I used a combination of butter and olive oil). Once veggies begin to soften (3-5 minutes), season well with salt and stir.
Add cooking stock, water and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes (partially covered) or until rice is tender. Check the rice at 20 minutes.
Add chickpeas, peas, and spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted and peas are warmed through.
Add fresh dill and lemon juice and adjust seasoning (i.e. add more salt!)
- If the chopping of the vegetables feels daunting take out your handy food processor and pulse the veggies a few times until chopped.
- The big hitting flavors in this soup are lemon and dill, these flavors are only enhanced with the addition of salt. BUT did you know that citrus can be perceived as salt by our taste buds? If you are salt sensitive simply add more lemon juice until your reach your desired salt level.
How do you make lemon rice soup vegetarian?
The flavors in this soup are inspired by greek chicken lemon soup (Avgolemono). Avgolemono soup contains both chicken and a tempered egg. You can easily make lemon rice soup vegetarian, as I have in this recipe, by eliminating the chicken, using vegetable broth, and adding a bunch of veggies!
When do you add lemon to lemon rice soup?
Add lemon juice, or any citrus for that matter, to your soup right before you eat it and not one second sooner! You don't want to cook the citrus, you want the bright acidic juice to stay that way, bright and acidic.
Is lemon rice soup gluten-free?
Yes. Or, more accurately, this version is gluten-free. Rice is naturally gluten-free but there are some versions of lemon rice soup that use flour, this version does not.
- Storage – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
- Reheating – Reheat in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in a microwave safe container.
- Freezing – Freeze for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian, but is not easily modifiable to other dietary preferences.
MORE HEALTHY CHICKPEA RECIPES TO TRY:
I can’t wait for you to try my new favorite soup! Lemon Rice Soup with Chickpeas!! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!
If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Healthy Lemon Rice Soup with Chickpeas
- 1 Large soup pot
- 2 tbsp cooking fat butter or olive oil
- 2 large carrots chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 small fennel bulb chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1 13.5 ounce can chickpeas rinsed
- 1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Heat cooking oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped carrot, fennel and onion. Cook until tender about 4-5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Add bay leaves, stock/broth, water, and rice to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the rice is cooked about 25-30 minutes.
- Stir in chickpeas, green peas, spinach, and dill. Cook until spinach is wilted and peas are tender (about 2-3 minutes)
- Stir in lemon juice and season again with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve immediately with fresh lemon slices if desired.
- Instead of basmati rice – you can use short grain rice or brown rice. If you’re using brown rice, add an extra 25 minutes to the cooking time.