This vegan mulligatawny soup recipe is easy to make with Indian spices, red lentils, carrots, apple and coconut milk for a filling soup that’s packed with sweet and spicy flavour.

Bowl of mulligatawny soup topped with fresh herbs and peanuts.

What is Mulligatawny Soup?

Mulligatawny soup originated in South Indian cuisine but has British influence resulting in a blending of the two culinary styles. There are many different variations of mulligatawny soup but it traditionally featuring ingredients like chicken, vegetables, apples and rice and has a curry flavor.

This is a vegan version of mulligatawny soup, so it doesn’t contain chicken. Red lentils add protein and texture, the addition of coconut makes it creamy without using heavy cream and the rest of the ingredients add a plenty of flavor and nutrition for a hearty meal.

For similar soups that use red lentils, you may enjoy my curried lentil soup, lentil tomato soup or popular coconut red lentil dahl.

Ingredient Notes

All of the ingredients needed for making a vegan mulligatawny soup recipe. Each ingredient is labelled with text.
  • Onion: You can use white onion or yellow onion.
  • Japaleno: Remove seeds if sensitive to spice.
  • Olive Oil: You can use water or broth here for an oil-free recipe. Any other cooking oil works as well.
  • Apple: Granny smith green apples are best for their tart flavor but any apple can be used.
  • Lentils: This recipe is for red lentils. You could technically use brown lentils or green lentils but the soup will be a different color, have a different texture and require a longer cooker time.
  • Rice: Use white rice such as basmati rice or jasmine rice.
  • Vegetable Broth: Any homemade or store-bought carton, cubed or powder vegetable broth works.
  • Coconut Milk: Light canned coconut milk is best but you could substitue full-fat coconut milk if you like.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Step by Step Instructions

Visual of step by step instructions for making mulligatawny soup.
  • Step 1. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the onions, jalapeño peppers in the oil until fragrant and softened.
  • Step 2. Add the apple, celery, garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring often.
  • Step 3. While the vegetables are cooking, mix all of the spices together in a small dish.
  • Step 4. Add the spices to the pot and spices to cook for about 2 minutes.
Visual of step by step instructions for making mulligatawny soup.
  • Step 5. Add the lentils and rice and stir to coat them in the spices.
  • Step 6. Add the carrots, tomato and broth, bring to a light simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
  • Step 7. Once the lentils and rice are fully cooked, stir in the coconut milk, salt and pepper.
  • Step 8. Use an immersion blender to “pulse” the soup 3-4 times. You don’t want the soup totally smooth, we want it slightly chunky, so don’t totally pulverize it! If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop a bit out and into a blender, pulse a few times then return to the pot with the unblended portion.

Serve right away topped with fresh cilantro and chopped cashews or peanuts.

Bowl of mulligatawny soup topped with fresh herbs and peanuts.

Recipe FAQs

What should I serve with mulligatawny?

Try it served topped with fresh cilantro, cashews, a dollop of plain coconut yogurt and warm naan bread for a wonderfully satisfying and nourishing meal.

Can I use green lentils?

You can but I really prefer red lentils here. If using green lentils, increase the simmer time in step 6 to 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Is this soup gluten-free?

Yes, this mulligatawny is both vegan and naturally gluten-free.

Does mulligatawny soup freeze well?

Definitely! Freeze in a freezer-safe container in one large portion or in handy single-serve portion you can pull from the freeze for a quick, healthy meal whenever you need it.

Is this a spicy soup?

If you remove the jalapeno seeds, the soup is not overly spicy. For more heat, you can include a few of the jalapeno seeds or add up to 1 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the recipe.

Instant Pot Method

To make Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup:

  1. Use the Saute function to cook the onion and jalapeno pepper for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the diced apple, celery, garlic and ginger and cook a few more minutes.
  3. Add the spices and cook another 1-2 minutes. If the pot is drying out, add a splash of water or broth.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and seal the Instant Pot with the valve set to Sealing. Cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  5. Release any remaining pressure and carefully open the lid. Use an immersion blender to pulse a few times to create texture.
Hand using a spoon to take a spoonful of mulligatawny from a bowl.

Storing & Reheating

  • Let cool for 30-60 minutes before covering and storing.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Store in a freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheat as needed on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated to your preference. If the soup has thickened substantially after storing, thin with a little broth until you reach your desired consistency or enjoy as stew!

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Bowl of mulligatawny soup topped with fresh herbs and peanuts.

Vegan Mulligatawny Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan
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This Indian mulligatawny soup with rice and red lentils is packed with flavor and nutrition for a filling soup that’s sure to be a new favorite.


  • 1 medium onion, diced (2 cups, 300 g) 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced (50 g)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (15 mL, substitute broth for oil-free soup)
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored and diced (2 cups, 300 g) 
  • 3 stalks celery, rinsed and diced (1 cup, 125 g) 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (10 g) 
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (20 g) 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (approx. 1 3/4 cups, 225 g) 
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed (200 g) 
  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed (100 g) 
  • 1 28 fl.oz can diced tomato ( 769 ml)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (1500 ml) 
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk 
  • salt and black pepper


  1. Cook Onion and Jalapeno: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onion, jalapeño peppers and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
  2. Add Fresh Ingredients: Add the diced apples, celery, garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Mix Spices: While the vegetables are cooking, mix together all of the spices in a small dish.
  4. Toast Spices: Add the spice mixture to the pot, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes. If the pot starts to dry out, add a splash of vegetable broth or water.
  5. Simmer Soup: Add the rice and lentils and stir well to coat with the spices, then stir in the carrots, diced tomatoes and vegetable broth and simmer lightly for about 20 minutes until the rice and lentils are cooked.
  6. Add Coconut Milk and Season: Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Blend: Use an immersion blender in the pot and “pulse” 3-4 times to create some texture. We’re looking for a slightly chunky soup so don’t pulverize it completely, just a few pulses should do the trick. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer a couple scoops to a blender, pulse a few times then pour back into the pot with the unblended soup.
  8. Serve: Top with freshly chopped cilantro, crushed cashews or peanuts and a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice. Serve with a slab of crusty bread, naan or roti for dipping.


Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen. Reheat as needed on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated to your preference.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 300
  • Sodium: 280 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 9 g