Vegetarian Lemon Rice Soup

5 from 377 votes

This vegetarian Lemon Rice Soup recipe is the best soup! Easy to make with basic kitchen staples, it's comforting, quick and loaded with nutrients!

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This Vegetarian Lemon Rice Soup is one of those comforting soup recipes that’s so easy to make, loaded with vegetables, and keeps you feeling full and satiated. There’s something undeniably comforting about a rich, hearty soup, especially when it’s as satisfying as this lemon rice soup. With every simmering pot comes a medley of chopped veggies, from onions and carrots to celery and zucchini, all swimming together in a lemony broth.

Overhead shot of Lemon Rice Soup in two bowls

One of the standout elements of this lemon rice soup recipe is its sheer simplicity. It’s not just about creating a vegetable rice soup; it’s about crafting a dish that’s both nourishing and palate-pleasing. The short-grain rice blends in perfectly with the vegetable broth, creating a creamy texture. Meanwhile, the lemon adds that essential tang, ensuring every bowl is a perfect balance of rich and invigorating. For those seeking a lemon rice soup that’s easy to whip up and even easier to devour, this recipe has you covered.

What does adding lemon to soup do?

  • Not only does the addition of lemon create great flavors but it also adds a brightness overall to the soup. The acidity of the lemon can pair with veggies (and meats if you have soups with meat in them) to create a brighter overall look.
  • It’s a great way to cut down on sodium while giving your recipes a flavorful boost. There are some people who will actually add lemon juice to their recipes and soups over adding salt.
  • It does a great job of breaking down the grease in recipes to make it have an overall lighter texture.
  • It acts as an appetite stimulant, so it will make all the other vegetables in this soup even more enjoyable!

Why You’ll Love This rice Soup

  • Vegetarian Comfort Food: This lemon rice soup is a testament that meatless meals can be hearty and satisfying. Its base of nutrient-rich vegetables makes it a wholesome choice for anyone seeking a comforting bowl without chicken.
  • Zesty Freshness: Unlike your typical rice soup, this one takes a lively twist with its splash of lemon. It brings a refreshing tanginess, turning a classic dish into an invigorating experience.
  • Simple to Prepare: No hours spent simmering or endless ingredient lists. This recipe is straightforward, ensuring you get maximum flavor without the kitchen fuss.
  • Versatile Base: Love experimenting in the kitchen? This lemon rice soup serves as a great foundation. Tweak the tang, toss in your favorite vegetables, or even add a spicy kick—the possibilities are as endless as they are delicious.

Ingredients to make lemon rice soup

  • Olive oil – You’ll use these to saute up the vegetables in the skillet prior to adding in the rest of the soup ingredients.
  • Onion – Chop the fresh onion into bite-sized pieces.
  • Carrot – You can peel carrots and cut them up or chop up baby carrots and use them as well.
  • Celery Stalks – Wash and clean them well and them chop them into bite-sized bits.
  • Garlic Cloves – Fresh garlic cloves add so much flavor to this soup!
  • Zucchini – For a bit of added texture and fiber, leave the outer layer of the zucchini on and chop up.
  • Short-grain rice – Short-grain rice adds a good texture that won’t overtake the soup.
  • Fresh lemon juice – Such a great way to add another level of flavor!
  • Seasonings – Adding in the oregano, Salt, Black Pepper, Bay leaves, Fresh parsley help to enhance and complete the taste.
Ingredients to make the recipe

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

How to make lemon rice soup

  1. Start with 4 simple everyday ingredients: onions, carrots, celery, and fresh or frozen garlic. Then, cook the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper until they slightly soften.
  2. Next, add the seasoning, the zucchini, and short-grain rice, along with a couple of bay leaves. Give them a good toss to add more flavor to the rice.
  3. Now add the vegetable broth and cook covered.
  4. You’ll know it’s done cooking when the rice fluffs and the broth reduces. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top at this point and you’re ready to serve it!
4 image collage to show the vegetables in the pot, then seasoning added, then broth added and then the final product

Tips for making the best lemon soup

  1. Cook it quicker by using leftover rice and reduce the simmer time to only 10 minutes. You will also need to reduce the vegetable broth then to 2 cups instead of 4 cups since the uncooked rice in the original recipe soaks up a lot of that liquid.
  2. Use your own vegetable broth. Making homemade vegetable broth is easier than you might think and can really come in handy for making soup recipes like this vegan rice soup.
  3. Make the lemon rice soup grain-free by using chopped potatoes instead of rice. This is such a versatile base for soup, so there are many variations you can try. If you’re looking for something more low-carb in general, try adding chopped yellow squash and/or riced cauliflower.
  4. Don’t add the lemon juice until you’re done cooking. You might be tempted to just throw everything in a pot at once. But definitely wait on the lemon juice until the soup is cooked to avoid any bitter taste of the lemon juice simmering for too long.

substitutions and additions

  • Change up the vegetables – You can easily add in more or fewer vegetables depending on your preference. I also think that adding mushrooms would be a good idea.
  • Use avocado oil – Olive oil is great, but adding avocado oil can create a nice flavoring, too.
  • Add toppings – Adding some fresh cilantro and chives would be a great topping for this simple vegetarian lemon soup.
  • Instead of short-grain rice – Use long-grain rice or brown rice. If you’re using brown rice, be sure to add an extra 25 minutes to the cooking time, though. You can also use potatoes, riced cauliflower, celery root, or chopped zucchini for some grain-free and/or low-carb options.
  • If you don’t have oregano – Feel free to use thyme, parsley, cilantro or other herbs.

HOW TO STORE leftover rice soup

Now that you know how to make lemon rice soup, the storage part is a breeze! Let the soup come to room temp and add to a container with a lid and keep it nice and cool in the fridge. It should be safe to enjoy for up to 4-5 days after storage.

to Reheat

I recommend reheating low and slow on the stove to avoid overcooking the rice or you can add your serving to a bowl and pop it into the microwave.

Can I freeze the lemon rice soup?

Yes, this soup freezes well. Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove, adding a splash of fresh lemon juice for rejuvenated zest.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best rice to use in soup?

White short-grain rice, often called calrose rice in Middle Eastern countries, or sushi rice, works best in this recipe because it’s quick to cook and creates great texture in the soup. If you use a whole grain or wild rice you will need to increase the cooking time or cook it before adding it to the pot.

I don’t have fresh lemon juice. Can I use bottled lemon juice?

While fresh lemon juice is recommended for its bright and zesty flavor, bottled lemon juice can be used in a pinch. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

Is there a way to make this soup creamy without using dairy?

Absolutely! To make a creamy version without dairy, you can blend a portion of the cooked soup (before adding the lemon juice) and then mix it back in. Alternatively, add a splash of coconut milk for a creamy texture with a twist.

Overhead shot of Lemon Rice Soup in two bowls

This easy rice soup with lemon is the perfect way to balance out a hearty soup recipe with amazingly fresh flavors. Fill your bowl, and get ready to come back for seconds. Your first bowl of this vegetable rice soup isn’t going to be enough!

For more soup recipes, check out:

If you try this healthy-ish feel good Lemon Rice Soup recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Lemon Rice Soup recipe was originally published on January 25, 2018. It has been updated slightly and now includes step-by-step photos.

Lemon Rice Soup

This vegetarian Lemon Rice Soup recipe is the best soup! Easy to make with basic kitchen staples, it's comforting, quick and loaded with nutrients!
5 from 377 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Soup
Calories 120
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 carrot chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • ½ cup short-grain rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice plus lemon slices for garnish
  • chopped parsley for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes..
  • Stir in the zucchini, rice and bay leaves until well incorporated, about 1 more minute. Add the vegetable broth and water and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered until rice is fluffy and vegetables are soft, 30 minutes
  • Remove from heat, and stir in as much of the lemon juice as you’d like and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices, if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of short grain rice, you can use long-grain rice or brown rice. If you’re using brown rice, be sure to add an extra 25 minutes to the cooking time though. You can also use potatoes, riced cauliflower, celery root or chopped zucchini for some grain free and/or low carb options.
  • If you don’t have oregano, feel free to use thyme, parsley, cilantro or other herbs.

Nutrition

Calories: 120kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 426mg, Potassium: 263mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 3559IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Soup

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Comments

  1. So yummy. Will be a go to. Had some left over creamed corn … about 1/2 cup right at the end. Added a luscious creaminess. Will make it as written next … tomorrow!

  2. Super simple and awesome tasting. I have already made this recipe several times and love it. Reheats well when taking as lunch for work the next day.

  3. Today my hubby asked for either soup or rice for dinner so naturally I asked… Why not both? Found this recipe and used what I had available (butter instead of olive oil, beef broth instead of veggie, frozen veggies rather than fresh and bottled lemon juice) and it turned out absolutely delicious!! I will absolutely be making this again, and maybe next time I’ll plan ahead and pick up a zucchini

  4. Hello!
    I know this is a vegetarian recipe, but a few family members like chicken in their soup, so how could I add chicken to this recipe later on?

    1. Hi Samar! Absolutely, adding it at the end is the perfect plan and should keep the rice from overcooking and becoming mushy. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. I loved this. Used jasmine rice, Better Than Bouillon veg broth paste, and fresh spinach at the end instead of parsley. Delicious. Thank you!

  6. Delicious soup.
    I made mine in the instant pot 8qt, and substituted 8 Oz baby Bella mushrooms for the zucchini (because I didn’t have any on hand). Here is the way I did it if anyone else wants to try that method:
    Follow all the steps using the high saute function. After adding the broth/water, (making sure all the rice is under the broth) set to pressure cook high for zero minutes(or as low as your model will go), then natural release for no more than 10 minutes. Release pressure and add the lemon juice before serving.
    I will definitely be making this again. Can’t wait to try it with the zucchini.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear this tasted good with zucchini too. Thank you for sharing and I hope you continue to enjoy!

  7. Omg this soup is so delicious, I can’t believe how it was so easy to make and the taste is incredible! It will definitely become a meal I will make every week 🙂 Everybody will love this soup. Thank you for this recipe you make my day!

  8. After all of the overindulging that is sure to take place over the next week, I was looking for something lighter to make for next Sunday’s dinner. I’m planning on making this, and would love to hear ideas for sides to go with it!

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