Blending fresh alliums (leeks, ramps, scallions) and herbs into an iconic lemony chicken and rice soup, a.k.a. Avgolemono, turns the already velvety soup into a Green Goddess wonder, full of bright flavor, tang, and body.


bowl of lemony green goddess chicken and rice soup.

I love to incorporate more veggies into my recipes, and when I had some chicken and jasmine rice on hand, I thought to make the iconic Avgolemono soup (read more in the info box below), also known as Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice soup. What I love about Avgolemono soup is the lemony tang and the velvety texture created by whisking a small portion of the rice and egg yolks into the broth. It’s sublime. With a focus on alliums, I incorporated leeks, ramps (wild garlic, but scallions work), and some fresh herbs to create a bright green goddess-inspired soup that delivers on taste and texture.

serving pot of green goddess chicken and rice soup.

Why this recipe works

Traditional Avgolemono soup (a.k.a. Greek lemon chicken soup) has a mellow, comforting, creamy, and tangy flavor as is. The addition of alliums and fresh herbs gives the soup more flavor, without adding any overbearing or strongly spiced overtones, making the melding of the two a perfect match. These green ingredients turn a comforting soup with cool weather vibes into a more flavorful spring-like concoction. Better yet, if you can forage for some wild ramps in a nearby wooded area in March or April, you can officially be someone who cooks with foraged ingredients!

close up of bowl of green lemony chicken and rice soup garnished with fresh dill.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken breast- you have choices here. Use a cooked rotisserie chicken, cut up raw chicken breasts, or for total ease, buy stir fry raw chicken (already cut into small strips). Either option cooks up quickly in the soup.
  • Jasmine rice- I’ve chosen jasmine rice for its wonderful aroma and nutty flavor but you can use any white or brown rice. I highly recommend rinsing the dry rice before cooking, as recommended. I find that step really yields a nice textured cooked rice, with grains that separate and are not overly starchy tasting.
  • Alliums- I’m using 1 large leek (including most of the green parts which are usually recommended to discard) and several wild ramps (a.k.a. wild leeks). These are available in the wild and at the stores in the Spring, but at other times of year, you might need to use a bunch of scallions. The idea is to use a combination of alliums that include green stalks versus using onions.
  • Fresh herbs- parsley and dill are good choices that I’ve specified because they are mellow but flavorful. You can use any other fresh herbs you prefer, based on what is available such as cilantro, basil, tarragon, and thyme.
  • Lemon- squeezing the lemon juice into the blended portion of this soup is crucial to the wonderful flavor. I don’t recommend any other citrus or substitute. You can grate some zest over the soup as a wonderful garnish.
  • Egg yolks- blending two raw egg yolks into the soup adds a wonderful richness and velvety texture. The yolks will cook once they are blended and stirred back into the soup. The soup wouldn’t be nearly the same without them, although the blended rice would add a bit of body, if you cannot eat eggs.
main soup ingredients laid out on counter, chopped and ready to go.
avgolemono ingredients in blender.

Step-by-step instructions

The first thing to do is rinse and put your rice on the burner to cook, while you start the rest of the soup prep.

To the soup pot, add the roughly chopped greens and herbs, and add the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

While the greens/herbs are infusing and cooking in the broth:

  • Add the egg yolks and squeeze the lemon juice into the blender.
  • Prepare the chicken by cubing cooked or raw chicken breast (no prep required if you use stir-fry prepared raw chicken already prepped by the store).

Once the rice is finished, add 1/2 cup of the cooked rice and 1 cup of the broth with greens to the blender and blend these ingredients for 10-20 seconds until smooth and uniformly green. See tips for best way to incorporate the hot liquid into the yolks.

Add the smoothly blended soup ingredients into the pot with the rest of the broth/greens/herbs, store, and taste, adjusting with salt/pepper as needed.

The final step is to add in the rest of the cooked rice and chicken. Stir and cook on a low simmer for about 5 minutes, ensuring any raw chicken is cooked.

Fresh herbs, extra lemon juice, and grated lemon zest make great garnishes.

Tips for making this recipe

  • As mentioned, if you are short on time, this quick-to-prepare soup can be made even faster by buying precut raw chicken breast (or using cooked rotisserie chicken).
  • If you don’t plan on eating all of the soup after making it, I recommend not adding all the rice. You can add warmed rice to the soup portions you do eat, and keep the rest of the rice separate from the leftover soup until you reheat it, so that the rice does not absorb more broth. The soup reheats nicely the next day.
  • When blending the egg yolks, rice, lemon, and broth, add just a couple of tablespoons of the broth to start, to temper the mixture, versus adding all the boiling liquid into the yolks at once, which could cause the yolks to cook (like a hard-boiled egg effect). This said, don’t worry too much, as I have dumped all the broth in at once in error and have not experienced any issues with the yolks cooking into chunks.
spoonful of green goddess chicken and rice soup.

Other Recipes

If you love blending green veggies into recipes, try my original Herby Tahini Sauce with Bright Vietnamese Flavors. Unlike other green tahini sauces, it has Vietnamese (lime, mint, cilantro) overtones. If you love soups, try my Sweet Potato Soup with Broccoli and Gruyere, Purple Sweet Potato Soup with Broccoli and Goat Cheese, or 3-ingredient Vegan Mushroom Soup, all quick and tasty.

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bowl of lemony green goddess chicken and rice soup.

Lemony Green Goddess Chicken and Rice Soup

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooking Rice: 15 minutes
Servings4
Calories267
Blending fresh alliums (leeks, ramps, scallions) and herbs into an iconic lemony chicken and rice soup, a.k.a. Avgolemono, turns the already velvety soup into a Green Goddess wonder full of bright flavor, tang, and body.
Kitchen Tools
  • 2 3 qt soup pot, one to cook rice, one for soup
  • 1 blender

Ingredients
 

Main Soup Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped chicken breast (cooked or raw- see notes)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 leek, sliced (I use most of the green part as well.)
  • 6 ramps (wild garlic) (sub bunch of scallions (4-6))
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (sub curly-leaf parsley)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (see notes)
  • 1.5 cups cooked jasmine rice (sub any rice cooked)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Blended Broth Ingredients
  • 2 egg yolks (use egg whites for something else)
  • 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 1 cup broth with cooked greens/herbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 full medium lemon)

Method:  

Cook rice
  • Cook 1 cup jasmine rice with 1.5 cups water for 15 min, until done. Work on rest of soup while this cooks.
Start making soup
  • Coarsely slice alliums (ramps or scallions and leek) and fresh herbs.
  • Add above to soup pot with 4 cups broth and bring to boil for 5 min to allow greens/herbs to infuse and wilt. Turn heat off once done.
Make the blended portion of the broth
  • Add 1 cup of the broth with greens/herbs to blender with 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup cooked rice, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Blend for 10-20 seconds until pureed.
Finish making soup
  • Add blended ingredients back to rest of broth/greens/herbs and stir to combine. Add chopped chicken and 1.5 cups of rice. Heat and cook at a low simmer (no need to boil hard) for about 5 min. See notes about cooked vs. raw chicken.
  • Serve with extra lemon juice to taste, garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs.

Notes

Chicken breast: use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken or chopped raw chicken breast (2). I have also bought stir fry raw chicken (cut into small strips) for another quick and easy preparation.
Fresh herbs- parsley and dill taste the best to me, allowing the alliums and lemon to coalesce, but feel free to try other fresh herbs you like such as basil, cilantro, tarragon, and thyme.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 976mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3mg | Magnesium: 46mg | Net Carbohydrates: 30g
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