Comfort food is not just for fall and winter. I don’t know about you, but sometimes in the summer I need a little comforting. But seriously, most “comfort foods” just don’t work in the summer: mac ‘n’ cheese, meatloaf, heavy soups . . . I’m out. Cold soups are satisfying, but they just don’t hug you like a hot soup can.
This recipe came about because the hubs decided he wanted to try a cleansing fruit and vegetable only diet. He discovered this diet when he was cleaning out some drawers at his mom’s house a couple of weeks ago. For 2 days, he has been eating fruit, smoothies, salads and plain veggies.
Guy: You know, I can have a vegetable soup on my diet.
Me: It’s too hot for soup.
Guy: Well, if you can just whip up a big pot, I can just eat it all week.
Me: *Sigh* We’ll see.
I didn’t mean to be a bitch about it, but really, I’ve been cooking “special” meals for him for 20 years (he’s a pescetarian and my sons and I are meat and potato freaks). I wanted to make something we’d all want to eat. And I wanted it to be tasty. And it had to be meat and dairy free. And that’s how this Vegetarian Mulligatawny was born!
Okay, let’s get the Seinfeld jokes out of the way. Mulligatawny was Elaine’s favorite soup. She couldn’t live without it after the Soup Nazi told her, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” Well, if Elaine had had this recipe, she would not need the Soup Nazi’s Mulligatawny. Actually, in the end Elaine did get the Soup Nazi’s recipe. It’s one of my favorite episodes. Go Elaine!
Mulligatawny is a soup of India, with lots of complex flavors. Sometimes it’s spicy; sometimes it’s not. The traditional version includes chicken, rice and curry powder. I’ve taken out the rice and used lentils and I’ve loaded it with summer vegetables. I use coconut milk and vegetable broth to add depth. It’s delicious.
Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, quartered lengthwise and chopped
- 3 ribs celery, halved lengthwise and chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons good quality curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ cups lentils
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups fresh vegetables in season, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used green beans, zucchini, and asparagus
- 1 bunch kale, tough stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper and cook until onions are soft and translucent, stirring frequently, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, along with the salt, pepper, curry powder, coriander turmeric and cayenne pepper (if using). Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add broth, coconut milk and bay leaves and bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Add vegetables, kale and vinegar and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are cooked but still crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.