This vegan avgolemono soup is a plant-based version of traditional Greek Easter soup. It’s made with lots of lemon, rice or orzo, and dill. It’s bright and hearty, and it tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge!
I grew up with two Easters.
The first was Episcopalian Easter, which I celebrated with many other friends. There were Easter egg hunts and chocolate cream eggs, glazed hams and scalloped potatoes.
A week or two later came Greek Easter. My mother’s family is Greek, and this is the Easter that populates my childhood memories.
On this day I was allowed to try to stay up till midnight. There were bright red eggs that we cracked in a hilarious, tableside game. There was roast lamb, tsoureki bread to snack on during the long stretch till midnight, and, best of all, there was avgolemono soup.
Today, I’m sharing my beloved vegan avgolemono soup.
A frequent fear among new vegans is that veganism will disrupt family holidays. There’s good news, which is that cherished childhood dishes can be prepared with vegan ingredients.
In fact, veganizing traditional favorites has never been easier. The abundance of wonderful plant-based products on the market these days makes this achievable.
However, it’s also possible to create vegan versions of family holiday recipes without any fancy products. I created my vegan avgolemono, which is now a yearly tradition in my home, long before the advent of oat milk, Impossible Burger, or Just Egg.
It was wonderful back then, and it’s still wonderful today.
Avgolemono soup is a traditional, Greek soup that’s made with egg yolk, lemon juice, and broth. As the soup is heated, the egg yolk will help to thicken it.
Many other ingredients can be added to avgolemono. Recipes vary from family to family. Rice or orzo are common additions. My yaya used tapioca, rather than rice or orzo, to thicken the soup and make it more substantial. She also added some cooked lamb, which is common. I’ve seen other recipes that call for chicken.
Our avgolemono was always very heavy on dill, which is an herb that I love. My vegan avgolemono follows suit.
The trick to making an authentic, vegan avgolemono is to replace the traditional egg.
There are a number of ways that you could approach this. One would be to thicken the soup with flour or tapioca starch (which would be reminiscent of the tapioca pearls that yaya used in her soup).
Rice and orzo both help to thicken and enrich avgolemono. I make my vegan avgolemono with both, though over time, rice has become my preference.
As I experimented with various approaches to making vegan avgolemono, I landed on a combination of ingredients that really worked. The trick, I found, was to use nutritional yeast and tahini.
Nutritional yeast, especially in its powdered form, creates some of the same thickness that flour would. However, it also adds umami, which helps to preserve the umami I remember from a soup that included small amounts of meat.
Tahini, meanwhile, replaces some of the richness and the fat that egg yolk would traditionally provide.
Finally miso helps to increase the umami in this soup even further. It also contributes salt, which is a key part of the avgolemono soup’s flavor. It’s important for this soup to have lots of saltiness in order to balance the sourness of all that lemon.
All of these ingredients—nutritional yeast, tahini, and miso—are added to a warm slurry, which is then transferred to the vegan avgolemono soup.
A slurry, by the way, is a semi-liquid mixture, usually containing liquid and some sort of starch, that can be mixed into soups or stews for thickening.
Slurries are useful for adding flour, starch, nutritional yeast, or any other dry ingredients that might clump up or fail to disperse evenly in soups. Whisking them with a small amount of hot liquid first ensures that they can be mixed in thoroughly and smoothly.
You won’t need a lot of ingredients in order to make the vegan avgolemono. However, a few of the ingredients are especially hard-working, and it’s worth taking note of them.
I nearly always use vegetable broth when I make soup. However, this recipe really benefits from the use of a vegan chicken-style broth instead.
Chicken is often added to avgolemono, and so far as I know, the soup is nearly always prepared with chicken stock. This was true in my home, at least.
It isn’t too hard to find vegan chicken-style broth in grocery stores now, including mainstream and online grocers. Alternatively, you could use a vegan, chicken-style bouillon. This one is my favorite.
The type of vegan chicken-style broth that you use will determine how much salt you need to add to the soup.
I call for 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. This, combined with regular, vegan chicken-style broth and white miso, is the right amount of saltiness for me—perfectly in balance with the soup’s tangy, sour notes.
However, preference for salt is personal. You can adjust this amount based on the type of broth (regular or low-sodium) you use, as well as your tastes and needs.
You can also start with 1/4 teaspoon and add additional salt at the end. I’ve been known to do just that!
White miso adds saltiness and umami, along with slight creaminess, to the vegan avgolemono. I think it’s an important ingredient. However, if you don’t have it on hand, you can omit it and use a little extra salt instead.
What about brown or red miso? I find that both are too strongly flavored to work well in this bright, lemony mixture. I don’t recommend substituting either. However, I’ve tried the soup with chickpea miso, and that did work well.
I prefer to use long-grain white rice in this soup, and it’s a more authentic choice for avgolemono. However, I’ve made the soup with long-grain brown rice many times, too. Brown rice creates a soup that’s a little earthier and nuttier than one made with white rice or orzo.
Note that if you use white rice or orzo, the soup will be quicker cooking than soup made with brown rice. The recipe card lists cooking times for both.
Until I wrote cookbooks—and availed myself of the help and guidance of skilled, detail-oriented recipe testers—I didn’t realize that there are meaningful differences between nutritional yeast flakes and powder.
I did know that nutritional yeast comes in two forms. Nutritional yeast flakes are just what they sound like: bigger, uneven flecks that are good for sprinkling, like a cheesy topping. I use them in my favorite cashew parmesan cheese.
Nutritional yeast powder, on the other hand, is very fine. Depending on the brand, it can be even finer in texture than flour. It’s great for whisking into liquids. I use it in the maple mustard dressing from Power Plates.
It’s the powder that works best in this recipe. Because you make a slurry, which is added to the hot soup, it’s good to use a nutritional yeast that will dissolve easily into liquid.
However, if you only have nutritional yeast flakes at home, don’t worry! They work well enough in the recipe. Just be sure to whisk your slurry well before adding it to the pot.
If I’ve learned anything about dill, it’s that there are as many people who hate it as much as I love it.
I grew up with avgolemono that was full of dill, and the flavor of this spring herb has become a big part of what I love about the soup.
However, I would never think to force it on true dill haters! If you hate dill, you can try using chopped parsley leaves in the vegan avgolemono instead.
One of the best things about vegan avgolemono is that it tastes even better after a day or two of sitting in the fridge. Storage time helps to both deepen and mellow out the sourness of all the lemon in the soup. It also helps the dill flavor to settle in.
You can prepare the soup a couple days before any Greek Easter gathering—or simply in advance of when you’ll need it.
The vegan avgolemono soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Absolutely. If you’d like to get an even longer head start on your meal prep, you can make your avgolemono and then freeze it. The soup can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
Thaw the avgolemono in the fridge overnight before enjoying.
Recipes like this one, which evoke the Greek food that I grew up with, are very near and dear to my heart. Here are a few others, good for holidays and every day alike, that I really love.
And there it is: an authentic, vegan avgolemono that’s tangy, creamy, and filling—just like the warm mixture that I remember from childhood. It makes me so happy to carry on a family recipe tradition in my own way.
I hope you’ll give the recipe a try. You certainly don’t have to be Greek in order to enjoy it!
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Made with orzo, and dried dill. Otherwise, to a “t” and this was delicious!
I’m delighted to hear that, Mary!
This is an amazing recipe! I was completely blown away by how much it tastes like the Greek soup I remember having before being vegan. I will be making this again and again. Thank you for your time and work coming up with this excellent recipe.
I have made THREE DIFFERENT VERSIONS of AVGOLEMONO SOUP, depending on the evolution of my family’s taste and life style requirements:
1. SEEKING AUTHENTIC GREEK CUISINE: from a Greek recipe book (with chicken)- Amazing!
2. SEEKING PRACTICALITY: a hack using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken (with chicken)- Amazing!
3. SEEKING A VEGAN RECIPE(found yours)that would maintain the authentic flavor: SUPER AMAZING!
Thank you for allowing us to continue enjoying the Greek flavors even as we turn vegan. Next time I make it, I may add some Gardein chick’n strips.
P.S.: Your seasoning is excellent. Can you please give us some tips on achieving a perfect texture and taste for classic chickpea hummus to accompany this wonderful soup?
Nailed it! This was absolutely divine
I’m delighted to hear that, Jessica!
Wonderful recipe. I made it for the first time years ago, Nad still crave it often! Thank you, Gena.
Thank you!!! I had this soup (non-vegan) recently before we went on a vegan diet and was in love. I was scouting the internet for the right vegan egg replacement when I found this exact recipe for the vegan version of the soup. Thanks for this! Making it tonight
This recipe didn’t work for me. There was no tanginess and then when I added some more lemon it just tasted like vegetable soup with lemon added to it. Not sure what went wrong.
Omg just made this it came out so good!!! Thanks for the recipe i cant wait to make it again at Easter
I love this soup, Chris, and so glad it turned out well for you 🙂
I made this tonight for my family and they loved it! It was so close to my non-vegan recipe with milk and eggs. I see a lot of vegan recipes that have miso. What is that ingredient for? Could you please tell me why it is included in this recipe. Thanks. 🙂
Sure! Miso contributes two main things: first, saltiness. Second, it has umami, which a lot of folks find helpful in replacing the umami that often comes from animal foods in non-vegan recipes. It’s also (depending on the type of miso) mildly sweet. I include it in recipes often, but using extra salt can be a decent replacement.
Oh wow – this is amazing! I was honestly really skeptical about the combination of tahini, miso, and nutritional yeast… but it magically ended up tasting just like Avgolemono! I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious, just the right amount of lemon. I had really been craving Avgolemono so I’m so happy to have this vegan version. Thank you!
After it comes to a boil and we are suppose to simmer it, should I put a lid on or leave it open to simmer?
Hi Rochelle! My favorite method with soups is actually to leave the lid on, but leave it open a crack to let steam escape. Hope that helps.
Thank you so much! I made this today and it turned out like a risotto, but it was still very good. Next time, I think I will just add a little more broth. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Loved, loved, loved this recipe! It’s perfect for a drizzly Florida evening. Thanks for working so hard to pull the flavor combinations together. It’s perfect in every way!
I am so excited for this soup! I am making it tonight for a dinner party with friends. I tried it once at a greek restaurant years ago, and have wished for a vegan version ever since.
Gena, this is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s the best comfort food, and features all my favorite ingredients. What an epic creation.
I’m thoroughly impressed. This soup is not only delicious on it’s own (my partner who has never had Avgolemono loves it), but wow, it really fills the void left by Avgolemono. Growing up as my Greek grandpa’s sidekick, Avgolemono was my FAVORITE food. Period. I haven’t eaten it in over ten years, and never thought I could make a vegan version. Thank you for making my childhood food dreams come back to life!!!
That’s wonderful news, Jaime! Thanks for letting me know.
This is amazing. I too am Greek. I also told my yiayia that I was a vegetarian and could not eat her chicken pitas, she stopped looked at me for a few minutes and in her broken english said, “oh honey its okay its just chicken you can eat, eat!” To her chicken was not meat, the only meat that really mattered to her was lamb, of course. I have made vegetarian versions of her avgolemono soup and am very excited to try this vegan one!
Wow, I just made this recipe and it is fantastic! I am Greek also and a first time reader (I have been searching for vegan recipes since we are fasting during lent) and when I am across this I wanted to try it. First thank you for introducing me to nutritional yeast. This soup is not only easy to make it is yummy. Great job. Thank you for sharing.
Brava Gena! (or Eugenia I think is the original name in Greek), this is by far the best vegan augolemono recipe I have ever tasted.
Oh, I am so, so, so delighted to hear that!!! Thank you, Syntages!
And yes, it’s “Eugenia” by English pronunciation, “Evgenia” to my Yaya.
Thank you for posting this. Just started on the vegetarian journey (one month in) and I honestly started to regret it (almost) because the thought of not eating this soup ever again makes me really sad. My parents live in Greece, while I am in the US, and I just love this soup for the tradition, memories and especially the taste! I can’t wait to try your version! I have high hopes;)
Simply excellent! I didn’t have any dill but didn’t want to wait to try the recipe. The soup was fabulous!!
I don’t know what this traditional egg-based soup is supposed to taste like, but I know this tastes great! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Gena. I liked the hint of tahini with the dill. I swapped quinoa for the rice with great results. 🙂
I’ve tried so many times to veganize avgolemono, to no avail! I can make a pretty good vegetarian version, but without eggs it’s tough. I will definitely try this one. It looks delicious!
Gena, I love your sentiment that holidays are always in flux. This is so true, and I’ve just never thought of it this way before. We all have traditions, but one holiday is never the same as the one previous. Holidays were something that concerned me when I became vegan because my family loves to stick to tradition. I’ve since overcome my fears and survived my first round of vegan family holidays, but thanks for the words of support and encouragement!
Gena, I made this yesterday and it turned out perfectly! I did cut down on the miso and tahini as I don’t like those two together too much. Boy oh boy this soup is good! I will never get to taste my mum’s chicken avgolemono ever again now that I’m vegan but your soup is a mighty fine replacement. I’m so glad it’s autumn where I am now as I envisage this being my cold weather soup of choice!
I started a blog journalling my move to veganism but I anticipate it will end up being a Gena fan blog because so many of your recipes turn out fab!
Sounds so delish! I love that you use shallots, they contain more flavoroids and phenols than regular onions.
Wow, this looks so good! Such a yummy flavor combo… tahini, lemon and dill!
Looks incredible. I can’t wait to try this.
This looks so good. I want to swim in it.
Awesome looking soup Gena! I love the idea that holidays are constantly in flux and changing just like people. Just because something is considered a tradition does not mean it has to be inflexible. Great thought-provoking post!
I love that scene! For Italians, it is similar. Red meat = meat, and chicken = chicken. What a great movie.
Looks like a delicious soup!
This is awesome! I hope I can make it for my Greek in-laws someday. Happy Greek Easter!
Oh, I missed this soup so much. Thank you!
Thank you so much! I have been wanting to attempt to make avgolemono soup for years and now that I am a vegetarian and don’t even have the option to go grab a bowl in Greektown my cravings have gotten worse. I can’t wait to try this out!
sorry to totally ignore your questions! this soup looks very interesting! i have a question and am curious if this is common. i’ve been eating less meat lately and incorporating more veg/fats in my diet and i am dropping weight. is this normal? i did just get off birth control 3 months ago exactly so i’m wondering if that has something to do with it as well?
It sounds to me as though you could use some grains and more carbs. In my experience, any diet in which protein, fat, or complex carbs is lacking/imbalanced can lead to weight loss and other problems. Try adding some grains of choice, and see how it goes?
Long time reader, first time poster, and fellow Greek vegan! Thank you so very much for figuring out how to turn my favorite Greek holiday recipe vegan. Spanakopita, moussaka, melomakarona, pantespani, patates sto fourno- those were all fun to figure out, but I’ve been hesitant to even attempt a vegan avgolemono. I’ll be trying this recipe as soon as I restock my tahini and nooch! Any chance you’d take on galaktoboureko?
I’ll sure try!!
Yesterday I was homesick, super far away from big Greek family. Thank you for this post! Also I can’t say enough how refreshing it is that you talk about BOTH the nutritional benefits of being vegan and the animal rights. I am absolutely a vegan for the animals though the nutrition certainly doesn’t hurt. I am so happy to see all the attention being paid to the nutrition of a vegan diet recently but THANK YOU for talking about the animals!!!
You’re so welcome! Thank YOU for noticing and caring yourself…I became vegan for my health, but it would feel very empty now without animal rights in the picture.
This looks divine….I cannot wait to try this, I am a huge fan of veganized cultural dishes. It was also wonderful to hear about your family and your own culture. It’s just fascinating to hear about other cultures straight from the people who are descended from them. 🙂
Honestly, so far every time I’ve made a dish at a holiday–nobody’s eaten it!!! Or they tried a few bites and maintained “tradition.” Oy… I do have a cousin who makes huge amounts of roasted veggies especially for me though, which is kind and thoughtful and it’s a dish everyone eats. I just feel like if I make roasted veggies A) she already makes them so what’s the point, and B) it’s a cop-out! >.<
I have made pumpkin muffins that didn't turn out right, a chocolate pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream that probably could have been sweeter and nobody ate because every woman at the holiday for some reason seemed to have brought their own pie so everyone was eating their own, a hilarious looking tofurkey (well, I think they're all especially hilarious looking) that relatives tried and were surprised at how it tasted–which I guess was sort of a victory, although they were weirded out by it's small ball-shape…. I always feel rather humiliated bringing in things I make because nobody seems to want to eat them!! 🙁 Oh well.
Christos Anesti! I’ll be making this soon! For “Greek Easter,” my veggie menu included green beans with shallots + orange zest, oven roasted carrots + broccoli with balsamic reduction and some home-made tiropitas. (There was tenderloin for the meat-eaters.) So glad to find your blog from a link from Peas + ThankYou.
Enjoy, and welcome to CR!
Gena, any chance you could whip up some raw soups? I’d love a delicious raw soup recipe!
My family is Russian and our Easter (rather, Pascha) celebrations are among my most treasured traditions! This is the first year I’ve been vegetarian, but I’m finding ways to make it work. I’d love to try this recipe! Anything Mediterranean-inspired gets a huge thumbs-up from me.
I love pressure cooker recipes! I also like how you shared a dish from your culture and a story behind it.
This looks so good and I love that I have almost all of the ingredients on hand right this minute. I may have to whip up a batch this week!
Update: Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious. The hubby went back for more. There are are no leftovers.
Thanks so much for the great recipe! 🙂
Just finished a big bowl of this! It was delicious and tangy…didn’t expect it to come together so well, but it was great, thanks for the yummy recipe!
So glad you liked it!
Wow, why am I not Greek? Easter was often quiches for my big catholic family. And even though I loved meat as a kid, I abhorred eggs, especially in the form of omelettes, quiches, and deviled concoctions. Had this soup been present, I think I would have loved it! I’m definitely going to try this recipe soon, although I might use forbidden rice since I have it on hand. Hope that doesn’t ruin the recipe! Happy Easter!
Looks amazing Gena! I love lemon in soup, and lemon in general, just brings things ‘alive’. This sounds like a classic combination, and that vid clip is classic too, SO funny. And, kind of familiar… “I’m vegetarian, just eat fish”. 😉
Gena! Χριστός ἀνέστη! So nice to meet a fellow Greek focused on a vegan lifestyle. Can’t wait to try this recipe. (PS – loved the clip. my Yiayia reacts the same way).
This looks fabulous, love that it uses tahini and miso – yum! We really have no traditional family recipes that I’ve veganized yet, but I’ve been having fun bringing new vegan recipes to family gatherings.
I was curious about this soup, it sounds delicious and I hope your mom enjoyed your version!
We’re heading into soup season here, so I am really excited about this! I have never heard of Avgolemono, despite many childhood (and adult) visits to Greektown when I used to live in Michigan. Yours sounds better than the original though 🙂
I’m really excited to try this soup! If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t have any carrots in the fridge at the moment, I would’ve already whipped it up.
My Romanian family is pretty much the same. My godfather FLIPPED OUT in a Whole Foods when I told him I was a vegetarian, then asked if my dad knew because he was going to “tell on me” haha. This soup looks amazing!
You’d think the fact that you were in a Whole Foods would have given it away lol. My mother still pretends to forget every single time we get together, and cooks meat AND NOTHING ELSE. Meat and meat sauce. And then acts like I’m causing her some great injustice by not eating it. You’d think that she’d remember for all the emotional distress she appears to go through.
I visited Athens a few years ago and fell in love with avgolemono and other similar dishes, like potatoes served with an egg-lemon sauce. I mastered making my own but then stopped eating eggs and have been yearning for a vegan version ever since. Thank you!
I hope your mom will love it! I’ve been contemplating a tahini/nooch/miso sauce for cauliflower for dinner tonight.
I’m not a rice fan, but your pictures make that soup look so alluring–creamy and comforting.
Ah I love that scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding! I love when you put funny youtube videos on your blog 😀
That soup sounds great, Gena. The rice and the nutritional yeast, carrots, spices…mmm, sounds comforting and hearty!
Good for you for showing your relatives that vegan can be delicious with recipes like this one!