Lemony Chickpea Soup

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This bright and fresh yet indulgent Lemon Chickpea Soup is like chicken noodle soup’s fun, hip cousin! With fresh lemon juice and dill plus a creamy chickpea puree, it’s comforting and rich yet also packed with plant protein and fiber to keep you full!
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Total 55 minutes
5 from 53 votes

Y’all know I love my chickpeas, and y’all have probably figured out by now that a squeeze of lemon takes pretty much any dish up a notch. Enter my Lemony Chickpea Soup! It’s especially perfect for cool, sunny spring days, but honestly, you’ll catch me enjoying it all year round. (Yes, even during the summer when warm soups make me sweat a bit. It’s that good!).

The secret to this soup’s delights is pretty simple. Instead of tossing in whole chickpeas right from the can, I puree them. I promise the puree tastes amazing even though it looks a bit like baby food (sorry, babies).  

The creamy puree is stirred into the soup, making every spoonful that much more hearty and rich. Long-grain white rice cooked to tender perfection adds comfort, with umami and cheesy notes from miso and nutritional yeast making this soup a real winner!

Table of Contents:
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe 
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recipe card with notes

overhead photo of chickpea soup in a bowl on a table.

Why this recipe works

Tastes like spring!

Any recipe that calls for a generous (read: absurd) amount of dill and a whole bunch of lemons is absolutely perfect for springtime. This is also why I love baking my Incredible Vegan Lemon Cake this time of year (don’t worry, there’s no dill in that cake, just lots and lots of lemon). 

Seriously—this lemon chickpea soup is spring’s best friend. It’s bright and herby, with rice and that superstar chickpea puree making it feel hearty enough to be a main meal. 

Wholesome comfort food you can make ahead of time

Let’s be honest—we’ve all been burned by the words “wholesome” and “comfort” used together (like when your bestie promised you healthy mac ‘n cheese and it tasted 100% healthy and 0% cheesy). But I promise you, this soup is truly both. 

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Creamy and rich from the puree and olive oil, nutrient-packed from the vitamin and mineral-rich spinach, protein- and fiber-rich from the chickpeas—it really is wholesome and comforting (15g of fiber per serving!).

It’s also a meal prep game-changer. The leftovers last for about 5 days, it’s freezer-friendly, and the nutrients keep you energized throughout the day. 

Easy to customize

If you’ve got a few folks in your everyday orbit who are picky eaters or just skeptical that fully vegan meals can be delicious, please feed them this Lemony Chickpea Soup. 

And there are so many ways to put your own spin on its flavors, consistency, and textures

  • Stir in my Baked Tofu—it’s chewy, a bit meaty,  and a winner among mixed vegan-omnivore crowds.
  • Top every bowl with something crunchy, like croutons or the crispy lentils from my Butternut Squash Soup
  • Add even more vegetables for a boost of nutrition and flavor, like celery or fennel along with the carrots and onions (okay, maybe this idea is mostly for the vegans in the room.)
  • Replace the chickpeas with white beans for extra creaminess.
  • Use a mix of fresh herbs instead of just dill (think parsley and dill, or dill and basil).
person holding bowl and dipping spoon into chickpea soup on a table.

Ingredient notes 

ingredients for chickpea soup laid out in bowls on a table.

Chickpeas

My pantry is always stocked with canned chickpeas because they’re one of the fastest starting points for an emergency meal, like my 20-Minute Chickpeas Tacos. (Yes, even I sometimes have to toss together the quickest meal possible, but I never skimp on flavor.) 

Pro tip: You can also cook your beans from scratch if you have time. It’ll make your soup even more delicious! I loved loved loved how this soup tasted when I used freshly cooked chickpeas, but canned chickpeas are definitely more convenient and still taste fantastic here. 

This soup uses two cans’ worth of chickpeas in two different ways: (1) one can is simmered in the soup, and (2) the other is pureed with lemon zest and juice, nutritional yeast, miso, and plant milk to make the creamy chickpea puree. This puree is how you get that cheesy creaminess that makes this soup positively divine and still wholesome.

Substitute: Replace the chickpeas with canned cannellini beans. They’re a little creamier and softer compared to chickpeas.

Long-grain white rice

Cooked rice thickens the soup (are you sensing a pattern here? Clearly, I love a creamy soup), further transforming it into a rich and hearty meal. Any long-grain white rice works well, but I’m partial to jasmine.

Substitute: Swap the white rice for long-grain brown rice instead, but not if time is of the essence (and let’s be honest—we’re all way too busy). Brown rice takes much longer to cook, so you’ll need to pre-boil it in a separate pot. Head to the recipe card for instructions.

Lemon

An obscene amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice and grated lemon zest (don’t skip the zest!) add a pop of refreshing tartness. For the quickest prep work, you’ll need a microplane for zesting and a citrus juicer for juicing (i.e., essential kitchen equipment in my book).

Dill

Lemon + dill = the perfect pairing for a fresh, springy soup! The dill is citrusy and grassy, while the lemon is tart and zingy. It’s a flavor bomb of a combo.

If you end up with leftover dill,  whip up a batch of my Vegan Ranch Dressing for the best salads ever, or make this Asparagus Galette that’s also perfect for spring.

Substitute: If you can’t find good-quality fresh dill, substitute with fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley. Or, to mix up the flavors, use a blend of all three!

Miso + nutritional yeast

This umami-packed duo makes the soup feel savory and cheesy, giving it that lovely comforting edge that truly sets it apart. Plus, there’s no such thing as extra miso—the stuff lasts in your fridge for at least a year. And nutritional yeast is your best friend whenever you need cheesy plant-based notes in the kitchen, especially for my Easy Vegan Pesto.

Tip: Make sure you use white or mellow miso paste, not red or brown miso. While these other miso varieties are lovely, only white miso is appropriately mild in flavor for this soup.

overhead photo of chickpea soup in a bowl on a table.

Step-by-step instructions

Start by rinsing the rice in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the carrot and onion and cook until they’ve softened.

Next, add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, coriander, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. If needed, deglaze the pot with a splash of vegetable broth.

Add the rinsed rice to the pot and toss to coat. Next, add one can of chickpeas, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Pour vegetable broth and chopped dill into the pot and heat to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. 

Let the soup simmer until the rice is soft and the beans are creamy.

Meanwhile, chop the spinach and make the chickpea puree by blending one can of chickpeas, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. I love taking these steps while the soup is simmering since doing two things at once in the kitchen is a major way that I get time back in my daily life. 

Stir the chickpea puree and chopped spinach into the soup. Continue simmering until the soup is heated through and thickened slightly and the spinach is wilted.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve the soup in bowls with crusty bread on the side for dunking. Enjoy!

Tips for making this recipe 

Adjust the flavors to your liking

Once the soup is finished simmering, give it a taste and adjust the flavors however you want. Absolutely love big lemony flavor? Add more fresh lemon juice or zest. Or if you’re like me and you want some spice in just about everything, add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes. There’s always room to sprinkle in more fresh herbs or a dollop of vegan pesto. Or keep it simple, and drizzle every bowl with good-quality olive oil for richness.

Want to add more vegetables? Go ahead! 

Looking for more nutrients? Add some sliced celery, fennel, or cabbage after sautéing the onions and carrots! 

To make the soup especially hearty, add one or two diced Yukon Gold potatoes or a small head of cauliflower (broken up into florets). For even more silky goodness and thorough nutrition, use the larger amount of spinach called for in the recipe (5 ounces/140g or 1 standard-sized bag).

Make it more weeknight-friendly 

I love how fast this meal goes from the pantry to my Dutch oven to my favorite dinner bowl (we all have the one), but technically, it could be a minute or two quicker to make. This soup is actually part of a May 2024 Meal Plan by Rainbow Plant Life, and you’ll spend some time ahead of cooking night getting it ready.

Spending an hour or two on Sunday to meal prep has completely changed my life, and with my meal plans, it’ll change yours too! Every plan tells you which components to prep in 60 to 90 minutes on Sundays so you can get three different dinners and a nourishing side salad, all with less weeknight effort and tons of flavor.

You’ll also get a full grocery list (and a sister list broken down by recipe) with handy substitutions in each meal plan. Every plan comes with everything you need to get your weekly menu in order, prep your ingredients, and reclaim your weeknights as the fun after-work celebrations they should always be. And I’m obviously biased, but this lemony chickpea soup is an absolute highlight of the May plans.

Try it out with a 7-day free trial!

hand dipping crusty bread into chickpea soup on a table.

Frequently Asked Questions

What goes well with lemon chickpea soup?

Although I find this lemon chickpea soup plenty hearty and filling on its own, I never say no to crusty bread for dunking. Gluten-free? Opt for simple roasted potatoes, or go the fancy (but easy) route with my Crispy Smashed Potatoes!

How long does this soup last? How do I store it?

Once you’ve let the soup cool to room temp, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for about 5 days. Reheat your leftovers on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking together.

To brighten up the leftovers, top the reheated soup with a pinch of lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil for richness. A little extra dill on top is always a good idea too!

Does this soup freeze well?

Absolutely! Freeze the soup in a few airtight containers for 3 to 4 months. We love to freeze soup in these handy Souper Cubes (affiliate link) for single-serve portions that are quick to defrost. Let the leftovers thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stove the next day.

close up overhead photo of chickpea soup in a bowl on a table.

If you love this Lemony Chickpea Soup, please be sure to leave a rating and review below! And tag me on Instagram – I love seeing your photos!

Lemony Chickpea Soup

5 from 53 votes
This bright and fresh yet indulgent Lemon Chickpea Soup is like chicken noodle soup’s fun, hip cousin! With fresh lemon juice and dill plus a creamy chickpea puree, it’s comforting and rich yet also packed with plant protein and fiber to keep you full!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: New American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • cup (65 to 70g) long-grain white rice (see Note 1)
  • ¼ cup (56g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, scrubbed and finely diced
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce / 425g) cans chickpeas, divided
  • ¾ cup (12g) fresh dill (no thick stems), chopped and divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (½ for a kick)
  • 4 cups (960 mL) vegetable broth
  • 3 ounces (85g) baby spinach or baby kale (can add more, see Note 2)
  • ½ cup (120 mL) creamy unsweetened plant-based milk, such as full-fat oat milk or canned “lite” coconut milk
  • 1 large lemon zested + 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • ¼ cup (20g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white miso

Instructions

  • Add the rice to a fine-mesh sieve and rinse a few times until almost clear, then drain.
  • Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas and put it aside for step 5. Drain and rinse the other can of chickpeas and transfer to a food processor or small-capacity blender for step 8.
  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the carrots and onion. Season with a few pinches of salt. Stir occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes, deglazing the pot with a splash of broth if a lot of food sticks.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste plus spices (oregano, coriander, turmeric, and red pepper flakes). Stir almost constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until the tomato paste is a darker red brick color.
  • Add the rinsed rice and toss to coat for 1 minute, deglazing with a splash of broth as needed. Add one can of drained chickpeas, plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Pour in the broth, followed by half of the chopped dill. Bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the rice is soft.
  • While the soup simmers, roughly chop the spinach and make the chickpea puree.
  • Chickpea Puree: To the chickpeas in the food processor or blender, add the milk, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Blend until pureed and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed.
  • Stir the Chickpea Puree into the soup, then add the chopped spinach. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the soup thickens and greens slightly wilt.
  • Off the heat, stir in the remaining dill and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste, adding salt/pepper or more lemon juice as desired. Transfer to bowls and drizzle each bowl with a bit of good-quality olive oil for richness.

Notes

  1. If using brown rice, you’ll need to quick-boil it first. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and season with a pinch of salt. Stir in the brown rice and gently boil without stirring for 10 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
  2. For a nutrition boost, feel free to go up to 5 ounces (140g) of baby spinach (1 standard-sized bag).

Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 1137mg | Potassium: 919mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2092IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 5mg

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103 comments on Lemony Chickpea Soup

  1. Nancy

    5 stars
    So delicious. I love the bright lemony taste! Will make this again!!

  2. AB

    5 stars
    Phenomenal! Loved by all, great flavor, made a ton. Added a lot more greens than was called for so it was definitely more stew like. I also used 2 T cashew butter + 1/2 cup of water in place of the milk. This will go into regular rotation!

  3. Ruthie

    5 stars
    Ooops!! Forgot the stars!

  4. Ruthie

    This Lemony Chickpea Soup is DA BOMB!!! I made it last night for dinner and didn’t want to stop eating it, so I had it this morning for breakfast!! I used a can of navy white beans for the puree since I only had one can of chickpeas, it turned out creamy-dreamy. Thank you for another wonderful, flavorful recipe!! You be DA BOMB!!

  5. Tabitha

    5 stars
    Delicious! It seems more appropriate for fall to me, but I enjoyed squeezing it in on a cooler spring day.

  6. Saskia Bolscher

    5 stars
    Such a good soup for spring! I love the lemony flavour, very moorish. Another great recipe Nisha!

  7. Shannon

    5 stars
    So so good! Hit every note and comes together pretty quickly. Adding to my recipe rotation for sure! Thank you!!!

  8. Christine

    5 stars
    Absolute delicious. I think next time I’ll cut the amount of dill in half.

  9. Hayley S

    5 stars
    WOW!! I just made this for dinner. My husband absolutely loved it, and so did I. It’s hearty, yet not too filling, and the flavors are bright and reflective of spring. We paired the soup with garlic naan bread. Absolutely delicious. This is going in my rotation. You’ve done it again, Nisha! I can’t WAIT for your next cookbook in September! :-)

  10. Shawna

    5 stars
    This was absolutely unique and excellent! I made this for my husband and parents tonight. Even my dad, a very picky eater loved it! This will be a recipe I make over and over. Thank you!

  11. V

    5 stars
    Yum! Thank you. My family really enjoyed this. I had to make some variations based on what I had available, but this was really good. So obviously the recipe is pretty flexible.
    I left out the dill (sorry! I thought I had some, but I didn’t), used canned coconut milk, added broccoli and cabbage, didn’t add any of the salt or pepper, left out the spinach (didn’t have any), and used ½ cup medium-grain rice rather than long-grain.

  12. Kristine

    4 stars
    This is going to become one of our staple meals, especially for summer. I’m not that fan of very acidic food, but I just reduced the amount of lemon jucie to around 1/2-1 TBS and it’s perfect for my taste buds 😋

  13. Hannah

    5 stars
    This soup has such a unique flavor, delicious! I made it exactly like the recipebut added lots of spinach. I didn’t have tomato paste so used organic ketchup. It’s perfect for a rainy, cloudy Spring day. Thanks for a fantastic recipe!

  14. maddie

    5 stars
    This recipe was so good! I’m so grateful for this website! The flavor was remarkable – my partner and I couldn’t get over how delicious it was! I didn’t have enough carrots or fresh dill, so I added half of a sweet potato and 2tbsp of dried dill instead – still soooo tasty! I’m adding this to my personal recipe notebook to have on hand for future reference. Thank you so much Nisha + Rainbow Plant Life!

  15. Tyler

    5 stars
    WOW. So zingy and perfectly springy. Took quite a bit of time to prep everything (about two hours from start to finish) but it is SO worth it.

    1. Hannah

      I use the Fullstar vegetable chopper from Amazon. It makes chopping so quick and easy.

  16. Cristi

    5 stars
    I made this for first time tonight and it is soooooo delicious. My husband is making yummy noises as he eats. Your recipes are converting him to being vegan. Thank you for not just this recipe but for all your yummy recipes!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Cristi, thanks for the kind words! :) We’re thrilled you and your husband are loving the recipes!

  17. Lea

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious!! It put me in the mind of a Greek Lemon and Rice Soup! Absolutely delicious!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Ooh, yes! Thanks for taking the time to try the recipe, Lea!

  18. Maureen

    5 stars
    I just started receiving the meal plans and my bf has loved the meals so far! So he found this recipe and made it and OMG it is sooooooo good, I can’t get enough of it. It’s just so flavorful and filling, I’m in love!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Maureen, that’s amazing to hear! Thank you for signing up for the meal plan subscription :)

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