Do you remember Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi?  “No soup for you!”  The first time I heard of mulligatawny was on the “Soup Nazi” episode, as Kramer’s favorite soup. No wonder people were willing to wait in line for this fantastic soup of vegetables, sweet apples, mild curry, and creamy yogurt. 

I make a lightning-fast version using mirepoix (chopped onions, celery, and carrots – Trader Joe’s sells mirepoix ready-to-use), a ready-made curry sauce (the tasty Masala Simmer Sauce), and all-natural applesauce.  It’s more traditional to use chopped apples that are cooked down over hours of simmering, but I think applesauce is a great shortcut and brings the flavors together in minutes.

Mulligatawny is usually made with chicken, but I decided to make a vegetarian version using quinoa. If you don’t use quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa), it’s a seed that cooks up similarly to rice, but it’s very high in protein, providing about 13 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving.  Unlike other plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein meaning that it provides all essential amino acids.  Quinoa is also very high in vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, and iron (9 mg of iron per serving!)  No wonder Inca warriors pounded quinoa before going into battle. 

Trader Joe’s carries regular white quinoa and recently started carrying red quinoa.  Both taste kind of nutty, and red quinoa is described as being a little more “earthy” in flavor.  Red quinoa also maintains its texture more strongly than regular white quinoa, so I usually use white quinoa in things like soups and stews and chilis since it gets softer and works well as a thickener.  Either one is a great substitute for rice or couscous in most dishes and packed with nutrition.  Quinoa is also gluten-free.

If you’d like to make the chicken version instead: Skip the quinoa and use one boneless chicken breast that has been diced up. After you’ve sautéed the mirepoix, add the chicken and brown it for an additional minute.  Then continue with the recipe, ignoring the part about stirring in the quinoa.



  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-oz) container Mirepoix, or 1 cup each chopped onions, celery, and carrots
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (15-oz) jar Masala Simmer Sauce
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with no salt added
  • ½ cup plain yogurt such as Plain Cream Line Yogurt


  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, add oil to a medium pot over high heat and sauté mirepoix for 4-6 minutes.  If you like the vegetables in your soups to be very soft, sauté a little longer.
  3. Add applesauce, Masala Simmer Sauce, and tomato. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Take out ½ cup of soup and slowly stir into yogurt (this will temper the yogurt) and then add mixture back into soup, stirring well.  When adding yogurt to a very hot soup or curry, first temper the yogurt by adding some of the hot soup to warm up the yogurt.  If you add cold yogurt directly to a hot soup, the yogurt may curdle.
  5. Stir in cooked quinoa and simmer for another minute until soup is heated through.  This soup is meant to be thick, but if you’d like it thinner, add water or broth.


Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 8 1-cup servings