Easy vegetarian Tom Yum soup

Tom Yumis one of the most popular Thai soups , revered both for its health benefits from its potent herbs and spices and the lightness of the simple flavorful broth .I use a Tom yum paste available from Asian stores , makingquick work of this delicious soup . If you prefer you could add some seafood such as fresh shrimp , but mine is vegetarian .

Serves 2 to 3

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 -4 cups water or vegetable stock

2 stalks lemongrass , tender parts only

4 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves shredded

2 small red chillies  sliced

Comercially prepared Tom Yum paste ( use as directed )

Choice of fresh vegteables , such as fresh thin sliced mushrooms , baby corn cut bite sized , fresh baby spinach

Fresh coriander

1 tsp palm sugar

squeeze of fresh lime juice

2 scallions , sliced

Place kaffir lime leaves , lemongrass and chilis in a pot and cover with water or stock . Turn to medium high.

Stir in Tom yum paste and boil 2 minutes more .

Stir in  palm sugar and mushrooms. Cook for 2 more minutes . Stir in baby corn , cook till done. Off heat .

squeeze in lime juice .

Serve , garnished with cilantro and scallions.


Vegan curry Laksa soup

I cannot express why the colder it gets the spicier I want my food . Laksa is a spicy coconut based with noodles . It is found in Malaysia and Indonesia , so it has Indian traits too . It is surprisingly light despite the addition of coconut milk . Generally this soup is made with seafood and chicken , but I have modified it to be vegan for all to enjoy .

Serves 2 to 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Spice paste

1 medium yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

zest of 1 lime

2 to 3 stalks lemongrass ( white part only )

1 inch piece fresh ginger grated ( use galangal , if you have it )

8 macadamia nuts ( Candlenuts , if you have them)

1 tsp each turmeric powder and coriander powder

a few coriander roots

1/4 tsp or to taste red chili powder

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth adding some canola or vegetable oil to help with blending ( up to 2 tbs ).


1 quart home made vegetable stock ( or store bought , I use Swanson organic )

1 can coconut milk ,shaken

2 green chilis , cut down the center

4 kaffir lime leaves

juice of 1 or 2 limes

1 pack of egg free noodles , cooked

a few coriander leaves and a few mint leaves

1 tsp palm sugar

1 can mock duck rinced and cut into bite sized pieces

5 to 6 mushrooms , cleaned and very thinly sliced

Soy sauce , to taste

Optional , fried bean curd , bean sprouts , bok choy , crisp shallots , baby corn .

Heat 2 tbs canola oil in a sauce pan and fry paste , just until fragrant . Add coconut milk and simmer 5 to 10 minutes . Add vegetable stock , sliced chilis , lime leaves and sugar , simmer 5 more minutes .

Add vegetables of choice and simmer another 3 minutes. Check seasoning . Add soy sauce and lime juice .

Place heated noodles into serving bowls . Pour soup over noodles . Garnish with herbs and green onions . Serve.

Pasta e Fagioli

I know there are several similar versions of this timeless classic out there , but , of all , this is my favorite . When its cold outside , soup’s on on the inside . I simply cannot imagine anything more comforting than a hot bowl of soup , drizzled with a flavored olive oil ( I use Monini truffle oil , but a good garlic or herb olive oil is great too ) . I top the soup off with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese or sometimes with pecorino romano . This recipe can be vegan if the butter is substitued for olive oil and a vegan cheese is grated over the top to finish .

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

A few sprigs fresh thyme , 1 sprig rosemary and 1 bay leaf , tied together with twine .

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs butter

1 small yellow onion , chopped

4 cloves garlic , minced

1 small carrot , peeled and chopped

1 stick celery , chopped

6 cups vegetable broth ( home made or I like Swanson organic vegetable broth )

1 can red kidney beans , drained and rinsed

1 can cannelini beans , drained and rinsed

1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes

pinch red pepper flakes , optional

Freshly ground black pepper and salt , to taste

1/4 lb small pasta

Freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese for topping

Flavored oil of your choice , for topping

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat . Add onion , carrot , celery and garlic , saute till tender , 3 to 4 minutes . Add stock , beans, tomatoes, and herb bundle . Cover and bring to a boil . Reduce heat and allow to simmer about 15 minutes . Off heat .

Remove herbs . Place half the soup and beans in a blender and return the rest of the soup to the boil . Add pasta and cook in the soup until just done .

Puree soup in blender and add to soup in pot with cooked pasta . Season with salt and pepper .

Drizzle with olive oil and top with parmigiano reggiano cheese to serve.

Creamless creamy Tomato soup

As the weather has turned colder I love to snuggle up with a cup of hot creamy soup , especially cream of tomato , a childhood favorite ( those days canned soup was the flavor of the day ) . After trying this soup , believe me your days of soup out of a can will be forgotten . This soup is so silky and creamy , I sometimes forget it has none . All the creaminess comes from pureeing sandwich bread into the soup. I love to serve this soup with oven baked crutons , which I finish with finely grated pecorino romano cheese .

Serves 6

Americas test kitchen

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1/4 cup extra virgin oil , plus extra for drizzling

1 medium onion , chopped medium

3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press

pinch red pepper flakes , optional

1 bay leaf

2 ( 28 oz cans )who;le tomatoes , ( I really prefer using San Marzano tomatoes ,they are less acidic and sweeter)

3 slices high quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, torn into 1 inch pieces

2 cups vegetable stock ( or chicken stock )

1 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs brandy , optional

table salt and ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic , red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Cook , stirring frequently until the onion is translucent , 3 to 5 minutes .Stir in the tomatoes with their juice. Using a potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than2 inches remain. Stir in the bread and the sugar and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally , until the bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes . Remove and discard Bay leaf .

Transfer half of the soup to a blender. Add 1 tbs more oil and process until the soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes .Repeat .

Rinse and dry the Dutch oven and return the soup to the pot. Stir in the stock and brandy. Return the soup to a boil and season with salt and pepper , to taste .. Ladle the soup into bowls , sprinkle with chopped chives and drizzle with olive oil.

Corn Soup with scallions and Roasted Corn sauteed in Brown Butter

Corn is an especially favorite in our household and so is this soup with a double dose of corn , pureed and as a topping , just simply grilled and shucked . Chef Bill Telepan from his nameske Telepan restaurant enjoys making this soup when corn is in season , yes , in an ideal situation , but I have used a good organic frozen corn and had equally great results.

Serves 4

Chef Bill Telepan , Telepan restaurant , NYC

4 tbs butter , divided

1/2 Walla Walla onion plus 5 inches of green

1 clove garlic , sliced

6 ears corn : 4 shucked , kernels cut off the cobs to yield 3 cups ; 1 shucked and cut into 2 inch pieces ; 1 unshucked

1  1/2 cups water or vegetable stock

salt and pepper , to taste

5 or 6 scallions , sliced thinly up into green part

Heat 2 tbs butter in a 2 quart pot over low heat . Add the onion with the green section intact and the garlic , cook until tender , about 7 minutes . Add the 3 cups of corn kernels and the cut up cob and water or stock . Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cut up cob and discard . Carefully puree the corn mixture in a blender or food processor . Strain , pressing until solids are dry . Season corn puree with salt and pepper and set aside .

Grill or broil the unshucked ear of corn until husk is charred . Let cool , then cut off kernels . Set aside kernels for garnish.

In a hot pan , add 1 tbs butter and heat until until brown and bubbly .Add scallions and saute for 1 minute . Add corn kernels  and remaining 1 tbs butter and cook additional minute .Season with salt . Set aside .

Put corn puree in saucepot and bring back to simmer .


Place soup in bowls and put a dollop of corn kernel -scallion mixture in the center .

Asian Mushroom and Leek soup

I must confess this has been the winter I have craved and enjoyed soups most . this soup from Susanna Foo uses a combination of fresh ginger , curry powder and creamy smooth coconut milk . The lemongrass here gives it a bright freshness .

Susanna Foo

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 oz dried shiitake or Porcini mushrooms

3 tbs vegetable oil

2 medium shallots , minced

1 large leek , white and tender green , halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

4 oz white mushrooms , stems discarded , caps thinly sliced

1 tbs minced fresh ginger

1/2 tsp Madras curry powder

6 cups Vegetable stock

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tsp cornstarch

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 lb wild mushrooms , preferably chanterelles, thinly sliced

1 tbs minced fresh lemongrass ( tender white bulb only )

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tbs coarsely chopped fresh chives

In a small bowl , cover the dried mushrooms with hot water and let soak until softened, about 30 minutes . Drain and rinse off any grit . Discard the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms if necessary .

Heat 1 tbs of the vegetable oil in a large wooden saucepan . Add the shallots and cook over high heat , stirring , until lightly browned , about 2 minutes . Add the leek , white and dried mushrooms , ginger and curry powder  and cook over moderate heat , stirring for 3 minutes . Pour in the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil .

In a bowl , blend the cornstarch with 1 tbs of water until smooth . Stir the paste into the soup and bring to a boil over moderately high heat . Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 30 minutes ,season with salt and pepper .

Heat the remaining 2 tbs vegetable oil in a medium skillet . Add the wild mushrooms and saute over high heat until softened , about 2 minutes . Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper .

Divide the sauteed mushrooms among 4 to 6 soup bowls . Stir the lemongrass and lemon juice into the soup . Ladle the soup into the bowls and garnish with the chopped chives .

Senegalese peanut soup

Leslie Kaul , formerly of Daily soup ( once a former chef of Union Square Cafe NYC and Gramercy Tavern NYC ) was responsible for creating this earthy peanut soup . Trust me , if peanuts are your thing try this vegetarian soup , it is wholesome and fulfilling .

Leslie Kaul , Daily Soup

2 tbs peanut oil

1 red onion ,diced

3 stalks celery , diced

2 leeks , roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic , sliced thin

3/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp curry

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

4 Beefsteak tomatoes , seeded , roughly chopped

2 cups salted roasted peanuts , plus 1/4 cup for garnish

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tbs sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 cup chopped chives

Heat oil in a soup pot. Sweat onions , celery , leeks and garlic until soft.

Add the cayenne , curry , cumin and coriander , cooking for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 3/4 of the tomato and 1 cup peanuts; cook for 5 minutes . Add the vegetable stock , bring to a boil. And then simmer , covered for about 20 minutes .Puree sugar , remaining peanuts and tomato in a food processor . Add paste to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes . Add the cream and bring the soup to a boil. Remove from heat , season to taste with salt , and garnish with chopped chives and peanuts .