Giouvarlakia (sometimes spelled Yiouvarlakia) is a classic Greek comfort food traditionally prepared with ground meat and rice shaped into little balls, cooked in broth, and mixed with avgolemono, the Greek egg-lemon sauce. It’s both a Greek soup and a Greek meatball recipe in one! But in this version, mushrooms and avocado replace the meat and egg, respectively and the result is a vegan masterpiece! Nikos Gaitanos, a Greek vegan chef who works in Athens, created this “vegan meatball” recipe, which has quickly become a family favorite. I suggest a great wine pairing: Try this with a Greek rosé made from Moscofilero and Agiorghitiko.
For the giouvarlakia
- 1 pound ½ kilo of white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 5-6 Tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil
- ½ tsp fresh or dried thyme
- ¼ cup Arborio rice cooked
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
For the soup
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 medium-sized potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 medium-sized carrots peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 medium-sized zucchini and cut into small cubes
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- 1 small celery finely chopped
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 1/2 cup water
For the Avocado “Avgolemono”
- 2 ripe avocados
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 cups of the soup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the mushrooms with olive oil and thyme. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 360 F (180 C) for about 20 minutes.
Let the mushrooms cool for 10 minutes, then finely chop them. In a bowl, mix mushrooms, cooked rice, flour, salt, and pepper. Knead well until the mixture holds together. Shape into small balls about 1 ½ inch in diameter and bake at 360F (180C) for about 15 minutes or until firm and the exterior is crusty and slightly charred.
Let the mushroom-rice balls cool for 10 minutes, and set aside until ready to incorporate into the rest of the recipe.
Make the broth: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the vegetables for a few minutes. Then pour in the wine and wait until the alcohol has cooked off. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and cook over low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.
When the broth is ready, make the avocado lemon sauce: Place the avocado pulp, lemon juice, and 3 cups of the hot soup In a blender or food processor and process on high speed until creamy. Transfer the avocado-lemon mixture to the soup, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the mushroom-rice balls and the herbs. Leave for 5 minutes before serving, so the flavors meld.
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