Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup israeli (pearl) couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/3 cup chopped chive
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the olive oil in a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium-low heat. Peel the onion. Then quarter it and slice into thin strips. Once the oil is hot, saute the onion and minced garlic for 3-4 minutes to soften.
  2. Add the chicken stock, chicken breasts, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the couscous, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
  4. Using tongs, remove the two chicken breasts from the pot. Use a fork and the tongs to shred the chicken. Then place it back in the pot. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese and chopped chive. Taste and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

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138 Responses to “Greek Lemon Chicken Soup”

  1. Julie @ Table for Twoposted September 18, 2015 at 7:19 am

    This looks so comforting and I love that it’s a spin on the classic chicken soup! It looks so good!!

    Reply

    • Pamela — November 7th, 2016 @ 10:03 am

      I made this soup this weekend and it was fantastic and very simple to make. It was the perfect comfort food. I also made eggplant sandwiches with a tapenade. My say the family loved the food.

      Reply

  2. Michelleposted September 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I actually have all the ingredients (for once), so this is definitely on my weekend list!

    Reply

  3. Mariaposted September 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

    The addition of lemon and feta sounds perfect!

    Reply

  4. Liz @ The Lemon Bowposted September 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Such a great post Sommer and I can relate to it in a lot of ways. Ironically, as a child, I prayed to be average. I was over weight, under athletic, unpopular – you name it. I was the ugly duckling that couldn’t rely on her looks and had no friends but I know now that God had a plan and my childhood helped shape the adult I am today. Love this and Love this lemony soup!! We always order avgolemono in Greek restaurants!

    Reply

  5. Lizposted September 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    This soup reminds me of my childhood—my mom would bring home recipes from our Greek neighbors down the street. I remember thinking that lemon soup sounded just horrible. Now I’m dying to make it! Love your parenting style—it’s certain to help lift your children to be the best they can be!

    Reply

  6. Shawn @ I Wash You Dryposted September 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Yum! I made a spring vegetable soup kind of like this once, it was lemon and chicken. Which is an awesome combo! The feta over the top sounds awesome!

    Reply

  7. cupcakesposted September 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

    these yellow and green made my week-end, this chicken with lemon soup seems delicious

    Reply

  8. Megan {Country Cleaver}posted September 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I love hearing about the kids – and with you and your perseverance to teach them everything in your repertoire, I have no doubt they will be stellar individuals. And this soup – I’m loving soup season!! 

    Reply

  9. NanaScrivposted September 20, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    So healthy and tasty.   Love this soup!

    Reply

  10. Luceroposted September 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I did this today, its delicious and suprisingly fullfilling 

    Reply

    • Sommer — September 22nd, 2015 @ 11:36 pm

      Hi Lucero, So glad to hear it!!

      Reply

  11. Dannoposted September 25, 2015 at 8:55 am

    I love soup!  I have a poster in my office that says, “National Soup Month – January,”  but every month is soup month in our house.  We have a Greek restaurant in town and it’s not a complete meal  unless I get the chicken lemon soup, so I was very excited to see this recipe.  It was so delicious, my wife said it must be added to the regular rotation!

    Reply

  12. Megposted October 4, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Sorry to be dense, but should the chicken be cooked prior to going in the dish?

    Reply

    • Courtney — October 4th, 2015 @ 10:10 am

      I was wondering this too… Was planning on making this today

      Reply

      • Heidi — October 5th, 2015 @ 9:59 am

        My first thought was the chicken cooks in the broth, but then when I read it the directions again,  it looks like its only in there for 10 minutes.  I’m not sure now.  I’m making it tonight also.

      • Maria — October 30th, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

        I’ve never tried this recipe, but I’m Greek and I love chicken soup: don’t get boneless, skinless breasts. If a whole chicken is too much, get chicken thighs, complete with fat, bones and skin. Boil them and then boil the couscous (or rice, which is what we use in Greece) in the same water. And skip the chicken stock.

        There’s absolutely no reason to use artificial chicken stock in a recipe like this one.

    • Jess — October 5th, 2015 @ 7:28 pm

      I cooked this tonight! The chicken goes in the dish while the broth is heating up to a boil as well, so that 10 minutes gets extended quite a bit! Chicken was wonderful!

      Reply

      • Julie — February 10th, 2016 @ 10:06 pm

        I used rotisserie chicken and it was delicious.  The feta  and pepper flakes were wonderful.

    • Sommer — October 8th, 2015 @ 6:39 pm

      Hi Ladies! Sorry for the confusion. The chicken is in the hot broth while it comes to a boil (usually several minutes) plus at least another 10 minutes of simmering following, so it will cook through in the broth. No need to cook before hand. :)

      Reply

    • Tricia Haddox — November 15th, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

      I was wondering the same thing

      Reply

  13. Rubyposted October 9, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Wonderful recipe! I tried it out and shared with my sister and her husband and they loved it! It’s light and refreshing yet the heat from the pepper flakes gives it enough heat to warm you up on a cold evening. And it’s so easy! I even used rotisserie chicken breast and it turned out great! I’ll make this again! Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  14. Lilyposted October 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious and comforting. Kind of like chicken noodle with a twist!

    Reply

  15. Tammyposted October 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    This was AMAZING…incredibly tasty and filling. I was pressed for time so I used pre-cooked Rotisserie chicken and it came out great!

    Reply

  16. Jenposted October 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Can you substitute anything for the couscous?

    Reply

    • April — October 20th, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

      Orzo can be subbed. It’s a rice shaped pasta noodle.

      Reply

    • Sommer — October 26th, 2015 @ 8:59 am

      Hi Jen, You can add any pasta you like!

      Reply

      • Jan — January 7th, 2016 @ 4:32 pm

        What about quinoa–if one doesn’t do wheat/gluten/pasta?

  17. Lindaposted October 21, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Ok….do you just use the zest…not the juice from lemon??

    Reply

    • Sommer — October 28th, 2015 @ 11:46 am

      Yes, use the zest!

      Reply

  18. Jenniferposted October 23, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I was wondering about that too. About if you use the lemon juice as well as the zest?

    Reply

  19. Janice Morganposted October 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Looks delicious from when I would go to Greek town in Detroit and have all kinds of food thanks for the memories

    Reply

  20. Nicoleposted October 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Sounds delightful! Do you use lemon juice as well? I’m thinking it was accidentally omitted from the ingredients. Can’t wait to try it !

    Reply

  21. Maryposted October 27, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Can you do this in a crockpot on low? I realize the soup doesn’t take long to prepare (so crockpot seems unnecessary) but I love use mine and the smell in the house when something has been slow cooking in it all day. Just wondering if doing so may overcook the cous cous.

    Thanks! 

    Reply

    • Sommer — November 11th, 2015 @ 9:36 pm

      Hi Mary, I haven’t tried it in the crockpot, but I bet you could. I would throw the cous cous in the last hour of cooking. :)

      Reply

  22. Stephanieposted October 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Just made this for dinner and I love it! I’m picky with how broths taste and this one is amazingly!

    Reply

  23. Cynthia Mposted November 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    This was so delicious, I made it to bring to a church potluck and it was a big hit. I used fresh tortellini as my pasta to make it a little heartier. My only small changes were: used dried parsley instead of chives, as I didn’t have any… doubled the feta, because, why not? :) and in the end decided to add the juice of the lemon as well. So good. Definitely will go in my list of favorites, and pulled together so quickly. Delicious and easy. Win-win.

    Reply

  24. julieposted November 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I clicked on this for the recipe but I am so moved by your post about feeling average as a teen. This is a realistic wonderful message that is so needed in today’s hyper competitive atmosphere. Thank you and I plan on making the soup!

    Reply

    • Sommer — November 11th, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

      Thanks so much Julie. XOXO!

      Reply

  25. Valerieposted November 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    How many calories is this soup?

    Reply

  26. Annieposted November 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Could this recipe be frozen?  I would love to make a big batch for winter :)

    Reply

    • Sommer — November 17th, 2015 @ 11:18 am

      Hi Annie! I’ve never put it in the freezer, but there’s nothing in it that should cause an issue. :)

      Reply

  27. Ericaposted November 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I just made a pot of this and the house smells great! I love lemon so I added the juice of the lemon as well and it really made a difference. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply

  28. Mollyposted November 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    If I know I’ll have leftovers (I live alone) should I go ahead and add the feta immediately, or add it just before eating each time?

    Reply

    • Sommer — December 2nd, 2015 @ 7:36 am

      Hi Molly! It’s ok the add the feta at the beginning, even if you plan to have leftovers. :)

      Reply

  29. Paula Billas Parksposted November 23, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Sommer, I’m Greek and grew up on Avgolemeno (official name for Greek Lemon Chicken soup!) I am very interested to try your version of our soup…we make it boiling a whole chicken, then using that broth combining eggs and lemon juice, blending that into the broth which makes for a thicker texture. We cut the chicken up, add it to the broth and then of course salt and pepper. I have LOVED that soup since I was little (I’m 60 now) and make it for my family often. Thanks for a new way to make Avgolemeno!!!!! Can’t wait to try it:)

    Reply

  30. Paula Billas Parksposted November 23, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Ooops Sommer….forgot to say that we add rice to ours:)

    Reply

  31. jillposted November 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Just made this. I forgot to buy a lemon though, so I actually used a lime I had on hand! Whoops. It was still delicious. And very easy :)

    Reply

  32. Tracey Kposted December 5, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    I made this and it is AmAzInG!! My husband is not a soup man, in fact he actually never eats soup….However, he raved about this soup, like over and over again….I was like “I don’t even know you anymore!” So that made me super excited and made this recipe a definite keeper! The flavor profile is so perfect and with just the right amount of spiciness. Make this soup!!

    Reply

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  34. Barbara Bposted December 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I just made this.  I always half a recipe since I cook for only one.  That was a definite mistake on this soup.  This is spot on delish,

    Reply

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  37. Sheri Kposted December 27, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    This is wonderfly amazing and so easy to put together.  Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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  39. Fewd For Daysposted January 2, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Ok, I’m going to be “one of those” people lol. I’m reviewing a recipe I didn’t follow 100%. I lost count but I used anywhere from 9 to 11 cups of chicken broth; half low sodium, half regular. Couldn’t find pearl couscous at the grocery store so I used Ditalini pasta. I don’t like chives so I threw in some parsley. Everything else was followed as written. It was a tad spicier than I prefer, so I’ll probably half the crushed red pepper next time. Overall, it’s really tasty. Definitely moving to the top of my homemade soup list. I love the hint of lemon the zest gives. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply

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  41. Rita Davisposted January 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    has anyone made this and frozen the leftovers? I’m looking for a good soup that freezes well for easy meals when busy.

    Reply

    • Fewd For Days — January 6th, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

      Yes. Froze mine and it was fine when defrosted and reheated. The chicken texture changed slightly but not bad. Still good in my opinion.

      Reply

  42. Randiposted January 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I made this tonight it looks identical and I used all the same ingredients except I think I made a mistake with the feta. I added it at the end,but now the soup has this awful lingering smell. My husband can’t stand the stench and I’m wondering how you add it?

    Reply

    • Deuce — January 17th, 2016 @ 11:10 pm

      Randi, feta has a distinct smell. My mom can’t stand it but I love it. Perhaps your husband isn’t a fan like my mom.

      Reply

  43. Robin Baranposted January 14, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Recipe looks delicious however the amount of ads made getting to the recipe a challenge. Will take a screen shot of recipe to avoid this hassle in the future. Sadly, won’t revisit the blog for this reason.

    Reply

  44. Jayneposted January 14, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Anyone try it with quinoa?  thinking it might change the flavor…hmmmmm

    Reply

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  47. Cindy Clemposted January 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I love this post. So glad I actually read it before getting to the recipe. You’ve inspired me today, so thank you for that! Can’t wait to try this soup, too. :) 

    Reply

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  49. Cindy Gposted January 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Awesome soup! Made mine today. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

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  51. Deuceposted January 17, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    My husband has requested this be part of our weekly meals. I had to mod for our low carb lifestyle (no couscous, add 1/2 bag of spinach). Although the recipe says zest of lemon, I added the juice also. This mix of flavors is outstanding! Thank you so much for sharing and your pictures are awesome.

    Reply

  52. Anneliseposted January 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Thank you for your story. As an only child I didn’t have competition in my home, only the rest of the world! My feelings growing up were quite similar and I love to cook, especially Avgolemono. A slightly different version for a cold and dreary day. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply

  53. Jennyposted January 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    This was delicious!!  Any idea about calories per cup?

    Reply

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  55. Saraposted January 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    This soup exceeded all of my expectations! We used rice in place of couscous simply because we always have rice on hand but this soup was incredible! I am not a big soup fan usually, but I couldn’t get enough of this one. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    Reply

  56. Taraposted January 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I made this because it contained all the ingriedients I knew my son was willing to consume (except the couscous- that we hadn’t had before). I absolutely cannot sing the praises of this soup loud enough! First, it comes together so fast – I didn’t even need to thaw the chicken first. Second, the flavor is so fresh and amazing! I will make this all the time! This is the first time here. I saw your soup on a Country Living list of healthy soups. I consider this clean and healthy eating at its best. On a scale of 1-10 this is a 12!

    Reply

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  59. Cathy Lawdanskiposted January 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Made it tonight. Delicious!

    Reply

  60. Jan Daftposted February 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Could cilantro replace the chives or parsley?  

    Reply

    • Sommer — February 3rd, 2016 @ 9:45 pm

      Hi Jan, Sure! Whichever you prefer. :)

      Reply

  61. Morganposted February 3, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    This was SO AWESOME!  Full of flavor, healthy and easy to make!!!  WIN WIN!!

    Reply

  62. Cathy Lawdanskiposted February 9, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Delicious. Just shared the link to the recipe with those who follow the mysideof50 Facebook page!

    Reply

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  66. pamela hallfrischposted February 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    This soup is awesome and so easy to pull together.  I made it for my husband and I and just halved everything. I too used  rotissere chicken. I used orzo as well.  I made a whole recipe for a work potluck and everyone had compliments.  My son is home for two weeks and he raved about it. The first day it is very good and brothy.  The second day it has thickened and a little better than the first day. If for some reason you still have leftovers it’s almost like chicken and noodles. So rich and delicous. 

    Reply

  67. Maureen Delaneyposted March 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I saw the quinoa question but I didnt see an answer?  was going to make this for a girls night but one of my friends is gluten free.  Would quinoa work?  Or should I stick with the spinach someone else suggested? 

    Reply

    • Sommer — March 8th, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

      Hi Maureen! Yes, quinoa would work. Let me know how it turns out. :)

      Reply

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  70. Keriposted April 10, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Just made this soup for my hubby who has the flu…we both loved it! Quite possibly the best soup I have ever made. I did add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl when serving. Will be making this again and again!

    Reply

  71. Kristinposted April 14, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    This soup was amazing! Made it tonight and it came out perfect :)

    Reply

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  73. Annaposted April 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    This recipe is absolutely delicious! One thing to take it over the top is to juice fresh lemon over it right before serving. It really takes it to another level and brings out the lemon flavor! Try it!

    Reply

  74. Monicaposted April 21, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I can’t wait to try this!  I’m just curious as to why no juice from the lemon only zest? 

    Reply

  75. Jenniferposted April 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    This soup is the bomb!  I had to pick up my son early from school last week because he was sick. I made this for dinner and he loved it!  We gave your dish a spin by adding lemon juice and feta with Mediterranean herbs.  It was absolutely delicious!  I actually made it again today because it’s so easy to prepare and I’m always short on time on my days off.  Hats off to this soup 😊😊😊

    Reply

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  77. Mica @ Let's Taco Bout It Blogposted May 30, 2016 at 2:09 am

    My OH and I made this soup this past Wednesday. We ate ALL of the soup in the pot. Not a spoonful leftover. We had to make more the next night for dinner! :P

    You could taste the lemon, but it wasn’t overpowering the soup and the couscous was such a nice addition. Our house smelled so stinking good for the rest of the night and then the next night when we made it again. Great recipe!!!

    Reply

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  82. Karenposted June 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Love this soup. Such bright flavours! I also add the juice of the lemon, as well as the lemon zest. I could eat this everyday. Does anyone know what the calorie count would be for it?

    Reply

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  84. Kerriposted July 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I just wanted to say that I can really relate to u and what u said in ur story. What u said hit me and means a lot, motivated me! And I absolutely can’t wait to make this scrumptious looking soup! Thanks so much for the recipe and inspiration!

    Reply

  85. Sandy Mposted July 25, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I made this tonight and my family gave it a unanimous two thumbs up! Simple and so delicious. I left out the feta as we are watching our sodium but otherwise made it exactly as directed. This recipe is a keeper!

    Reply

  86. Carolynposted August 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This came out great! I forgot the feta by accident but it was still good, and used orzo per other comments (my store did not have the right cous cous in stock). I’ll remember the feta next time, and will chop the onions a bit more as well. Thank you!

    Reply

  87. Banketu Rīkošanaposted August 21, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Love chicken soup and yours look almost the same as my. I think I will have to make one tonight. Thanks

    Reply

  88. Reganposted August 22, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Okay, I feel compelled to comment on this soup… and I rarely comment!  This soup is SO tasty and simple.  I’ve made it at least 5 or 6 times because my family keeps asking for it!  I follow the directions exactly except I only use half of the red pepper flakes (I have a toddler).  Perfect every time.  Still has a nice little zip. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

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  90. Piperposted September 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I love Lemon Chicken soup! I’ve never made it but I thin I might try it. I’ve only ever had it with rice in it though.

    Reply

  91. Jonnaposted September 27, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Just made this, and it’s realllly good! Super easy, fast, and light, and the lemon zest is amazing! A nice amount of heat too. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  92. Sandra S.posted October 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    This looks wonderful! Have you tried using other parts of the chicken (skin and bones intact) and browning with the garlic and onion and cook as normal? Could then remove skin and bones at the point where you have remove breasts and shred.

    Reply

  93. Lindsayposted October 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    For those of you who subbed orzo, did you precook it or add it earlier to make sure it had enough time to boil?

    Reply

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  96. Christineposted October 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I made this fabulous soup last Monday night and it was just delicious. I didn’t change the recipe at all and after tasting it, there was nothing to adjust. I’ll keep this one in my archive to be made again.

    Reply

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  107. Shelleyposted December 15, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I know this is a crazy question but that pot in the video is amazing. What type of pot is that? Is it cast iron?

    Thanks in advance! Making this recipe tonight… can’t wait!

    Reply

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  110. Cristalposted January 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I never ever leave comments or reviews but for this I need to! Since making this for the first time about two months ago, I’ve probably made it weekly. It’s become a staple for us. So easy, light, healthy, and delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t recommend it enough.

    Reply

    • Sommer — January 9th, 2017 @ 9:23 am

      Hi Cristal,

      YAY! I’m so glad you like it. You just made my day! :)

      Reply

  111. JPsarianosposted January 5, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Great recipe!

    Love the substitution and taste of couscous in place of rice, or orzo (the Greek ingredients as couscous is actually a North African semolina product). I used chicken pieces with the bone in and omitted the chicken stock, which adds unnecessary sodium. I found that using chicken pieces with the bone added a rich flavor.

    Have you tried the authentic Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup? Delicious too.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful chicken soup recipe, which I would call a Mediterranean Chicken Soup.

    Reply

  112. Kim Mposted January 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    So this looks delish!  However I’m so NOT a fan of feta.  I know that’s mostly what makes it Greek.  But could I possibly use Parmesan or some other cheese?  Sorry to want to change your creation!!

    Reply

  113. Hollyposted January 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Can you use yellow onion instead of sweet onion?

    Reply

    • Sommer — January 9th, 2017 @ 9:01 am

      Hi Holly, Absolutely! Happy Cooking!! :)

      Reply

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