Vegan Recipe Of The Week: Sweet Potato Lemongrass Soup

Without question, the best way to tempt anyone toward veganism is to try and feed them kickass vegan food. Most omnivores think vegan food by definition tastes bland or bad. So I am on a mission to collect all the vegan recipes I can that produce food that makes my friends sit up and say “Wow, that is really good.”

I have lots of thoughts about how to approach vegan cooking. The most important, I think, is to not try and cook dishes that rely on meat. It is hard to replace the taste and feel of meat — and plant-based meat substitutes generally don’t cut it. Instead, for me the most effective strategy has been to seek out new cuisines and recipes that never had meat in the first place. That means more Thai and Indian dishes and flavors. Vegetable dishes that get elevated to main dishes. Everyone worries about protein, and I will often throw in some seitan or chickpeas into dishes I am making that don’t have much protein. But the truth is, most of us eat so much that even vegetarians in America get more protein than they really need.

I’m going to start this off with a sure-fire winner, a Sweet Potato Lemongrass soup. I am not a huge sweet potato fan. But this summer there was a lunch cart most days in the small village in Ireland where I spent five weeks. The guy would usually have two or three offerings and one day a friend came over and said: “Hey, try this. Totally vegan.” I tried. I savored. It was just about the best soup I had ever tasted. I bought a cup and thanked the guy for offering delicious vegan food. My daughter walked by, tasted mine, and immediately went to get her own cup. Being 15 she asked the guy if she could snap a picture of the recipe. He very generously said yes.

So here it is. Try it (sorry, amounts in metric; the Google machine can convert for you). I am pretty sure you will be happy (pro-tip: add the coconut milk just minutes before you are going to serve it. I find coconut milk loses its punch and flavor if it simmers too long. And add as much as you like to find the taste you prefer).

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