• Yield: Serves 4 to 6

This soup has a decadent richness that skeptics of vegan cooking are often surprised by (tahini can pull a lot of weight!). It also comes together in about thirty minutes, making it a great option for weeknights. You’ll notice that I call for water rather than stock; in this recipe, it makes for a better liquid, as it keeps the flavors of the soup pure and aligned. Frizzled shallots make an excellent, if optional, garnish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds or half-rounds (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini

  • Fresh lemon juice

  • Frizzled Shallots (recipe follows; optional)

Start Simple by Lukas Volger


Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven, then add the onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the onion is soft and beginning to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, raise the heat slightly, and stir until they’re glistening all over, another 3 to 4 minutes. Cover with 5 cups water. Bring to a simmer and add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the soup to a blender with the tahini, in batches if necessary, and puree. (You can also use an immersion blender, but be thorough to achieve a properly smooth consistency.) Return to the pot to rewarm, add lemon juice and additional salt to taste, and serve hot, with frizzled shallots, if you like.


Frizzled Shallots

  • Vegetable, grapeseed, or canola oil, for frying

  • 5 small or 3 large shallots, sliced into paper-thin wisps on a mandoline

  • Salt

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Dip a ring of shallot into it to ensure it’s properly hot—it will sizzle immediately when it’s ready—then add the rest of them. Cook until they get crisp and turn a reddish-brown color, 10 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully once they start to color, as they can burn easily. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Save the oil—strain it through a coffee filter and then use it in salad dressings where you want a savory kick!

From the book Start Simple by Lukas Volger. Copyright © 2020 by Lukas Volger. Published on February 18, 2020 by Harper Wave and imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

Lukas Volger is a chef, author, teacher and blogger. He has written several cookbooks, including Veggie Burgers Every Which Way and Vegetarian Entrees that Won't Leave You Hungry, and blogs at lukasvolger.com.