Mulligatawny Soup and some New Year Advice and Ramblings

Alright all you goal setters out there.  Are you ready?  Goal setting is great, I’m a big fan of the idea but I’m not a big fan of setting goals only at the New Year.  I hate to be a party pooper, but statistically folks who decide to turn over a new leaf starting January 1 are usually setting themselves up for failure.  Yikes.  I think I just turned off anyone who wanted to go paleo starting Saturday and are likely giving me the bird through the screen. I’m sorry, I really am, but it’s not me that’s talking it’s STATISTICS.  Ok, so please do not stop reading, I’m only here to help and I WANT you to stay on track so start by reading this article that gives very practical advice as to how one is more likely to reach his or her goals as well as continue onward with the positive changes that one has decided to make. Now, let’s look at a few paleo related ideas that will hopefully get you ready for the New Year, including some tips to keep us all on track!

What Sarah always wants you to have in your pantry:

  1. Coconut milk
  2. Canned organic diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  3. Organic tomato paste
  4. Organic Free Range Gluten Free Chicken Broth (Trader Joe’s carries a great brand)
  5. Coconut Flakes (keep in the fridge after you open them)
  6. Coconut Flour
  7. Almond Meal
  8. Raw Almonds
  9. Raw Pecans
  10. Raw Walnuts (all nuts actually keep better in the freezer after you open the bag)
  11. Almond butter (again, in the fridge after you open)
  12. Beef Jerky (gluten and soy free from Paleo Brands or Trader Joe’s is best)
  13. Canned Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
  14. Canned Tuna
  15. Olives
  16. Artichoke Hearts
  17. Dried unsweetened Bing cherries
  18. Dried unsweetened figs
  19. Dried unsweetened apricots
  20. Olive oil
  21. Coconut oil
  22. El Pato hot sauce and enchilada sauce
  23. Jalapenos
  24. Canned diced green chilli’s
  25. Sun dried tomatoes
  26. As many freaking spices as you can get your hands on!!  With spices you NEVER have an excuse to eat a boring meal!!

What Sarah always wants you to have in your fridge:

  1. Eggs – preferably free range (not fed soy) or omega 3 enriched
  2. Grass fed Ground Beef
  3. Free range chicken (thighs are my favorite, or the whole darn bird is my next favorite – you can make my amazing roast chicken and then boil the carcass for soup)  chicken is so versatile it should always be around….)
  4. Nitrate Free Deli Meat  (great for on the go, kids lunches, and fast snacking)
  5. Bacon
  6. Mustard
  7. Salsa
  8. Hot Sauce
  9. Chili Oil
  10. Thai Fish Oil
  11. Thai Curry Paste
  12. Homemade Paleo Mayo
  13. So Delicious Brand unsweetened coconut milk
  14. Spinach
  15. Kale
  16. Carrots
  17. Cucumber
  18. Organic Lettuce Mix
  19. Romain Lettuce
  20. Apples
  21. Blueberries
  22. Lemons
  23. Limes
  24. Any veggie and fruit that you can get your hands on that is as fresh as possible and in season!

Ok, now that your pantry and fridge are stocked, let’s talk about preparedness!  Set aside an hour on the weekend to plan  you meals.  Think about your week ahead and start gathering your “go to” meals.  For example, my Tuesday afternoons are consistently crazy thanks to kids activities and life in general so I know that Tuesday night is always lettuce taco night.  I can  make this meal with my eyes closed and I usually prepare it in the afternoon and have everything all ready to eat before dinner rolls around.  Thursday’s are usually my soup day or slow cooker day because I am usually away working on my book or my blog and I need to have dinner ready to go for the family.  I always make enough on my slow cooker days for leftovers, in fact I always try to make enough of everything I make for leftovers so that John and I have something prepared for our hectic lunch schedules on the following day.  Use your weekend to shop.  Nothing sucks more than trying to shop on a weeknight when everyone else is doing the same thing, your kids are cranky and so are you, it’s dark, rainy and cold, and all you really want is a glass of wine and a chicken pot pie.  Don’t let yourself go there. Instead, shop when you are clear headed and fresh with shopping list in hand. Being prepared gives you a sense of freedom, capability, and no gosh darn excuses to eat crappy food!

Now, get the kiddos ready.  Get a cool lunch box like one from here.  The night before have your kid or kids help you pack their lunches.  If they are old enough, have them pack their own!  Let them decide what paleo items they want – they’ll be more excited about what you are sending and even more excited about the groovy lunch box they get to pack the fun food in!  Think turkey slices wrapped round avocado, broccoli slaw, or purple cabbage.  Carrot and celery sticks with almond butter, coconut flakes, dried fruit, and for fun a few dark chocolate covered almonds now and then.  I even like to send chicken salad, beef jerky, and leftovers if I know they will be tasty cold.  My book will have 2 weeks worth of school lunch ideas so hopefully that will help fill the void of what to pack!!

Keep the kids excited about food at home by letting them help you meal plan. Look at blogs together and let them choose a few meals that look good to them.  Let them help you pick out new veggies or fruits at your local farmers market.  Bring them with you in the kitchen and give them important jobs to do while you are preparing food.  Praise them, make them super stars at cooking, let them make a mess, let them explore your spice cabinet, let them sample what’s simmering and have them tell you “what’s missing!” Have them choose a spice to add.  Give them their own little drawer with their own kitchen utensils.  Do not make a fuss when they do not like something or they don’t eat as much as you think they should.  Always know that the next day will be easier and that your kids will survive.  More about this in the book too!!!  : )

Alright, enough rambling for now, but hopefully this will give you all a jumpstart into another healthy, happy, goal-reaching, productive year!  Do you want to know what my goal is for this year?  Ok – I’ll tell you.  My goal is to be more attentive.  I want to be a better listener.  When my kids are talking to me, my goal is to try harder to really listen, without distraction.  They tell me the coolest stuff and sometimes I miss out on what they are saying because my mind is going too fast.  Rowan, my three year old, is now talking up a storm and he loves to tell stories.  He will look at me and say, “Mom, what’s YOUR story is?”  And I’ll tell him one, and then he’ll tell me one, and I don’t want to miss any of those stories because before I know it, he’ll be as big as my 15 year old Coby and I’ll wish that I had sat still long enough to really really listen….

Now, on to a recipe.  I think this post wins as my longest ever and I love you for reading this far and I promise the time you took is worth it because this soup is so amazing.  So satisfying.  So good I want some right now as I type here in Starbucks thinking about my family eating the leftovers without me.


Everyday Paleo’s Spin on Mulligatawny Soup

1 ½ lbs grass fed ground beef

2 shallots, diced

3 carrots, chopped

2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

1 leek, halved, and sliced (make sure you clean these guys really well)

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, diced

1 tablespoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and leeks and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies except the parsley and saute for another 7-8 minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, brown the ground beef in a separate skillet.  Once the meat is browned, add to the soup pot and mix in with the veggies.  Add the parsley and all the dry spices and mix well.  Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Happy, safe, wonderful New Year to you all and as always, Enjoy!

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  1. says

    Awesome, Sarah, just an awesome post!!

    You really are the Paleo queen!
    Just an FYI- my Zumba instructor has created a “Just Dance Jump Start 2011″ community on facebook for anyone in our classes who is up for a Whole30 in January. Since I’ve done a Whole30 before, and since I basically live off of your recipes, I am continually recommending your site. Thanks in advance from the 20+ people tackling this lifestyle… I just KNOW that most people are going to fall in love with your recipes!

  2. says

    I love the list! Mulligatawny soup was the first time I tried curry. I loved the soup so much I ate a liter (a quart) of it in one sitting.
    I would love a printable list of your shopping/pantry items so one could tack it to their fridge.

  3. TrailGrrl says

    Great post! I kept writing down odds and ends to get at Trader Joe’s and the grocery from your recipes but this list makes it easier.

    Pre-ordered the book. Can’t wait for it to come out.


  4. TrailGrrl says

    ps. Forgot to mention how cool the lunchbox is! I think I will get one to take leftovers to work and university so I don’t eat Dunkin’ Stiks out of the vending machine.


  5. Nat says

    Loved the lists for pantry/fridge! I get most of these items on a regular basis now, but it’s great to have a list of “staples.” I am interested in your book….when is it available and what is the title?

  6. Kati says

    Great post! I have been trying different “diets”/food lifestyles, whatever you want to call it, for the past four year and nothing has ever clicked with me. I discovered paleo and your web site about three weeks ago and have been transitioning to this way of eating. This is really working for me and family and I am eagerly awaiting your book!

  7. Kara says

    Hi Sarah! Great post! LOVE your blog. It makes my Paleo life SOOOO much easier!! I can’t wait for your book!

    I noticed in your shopping list that you’re recommending both Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk and the So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk (I assume the one that comes in the milk carton). In this recipe you say 1 cup coconut milk. Which coconut milk are you using? Thanks! Can’t wait to make this soup later today!

  8. says

    Thanks so much for the ideas for kids lunches! I am excited for your book to come out and even more so. My son drove us all nuts this vacation and I’m even more committed to keeping him Primal in the New Year. Even if it means packing his lunch and visiting school everyday to make sure he eats is and stops trading with his friends.
    As to resolutions: I’ve continued to make changes as I go (since mid-December of 2009), but I do like the extra oomph that a resolution puts on a new goal. My goal this year is to get more fit by doing bodyweight activity every day. Actually started more than a week before today, so I’m golden. I do want to get to goal this year, but I’m not focusing on that as much as being as Primal as I can be and the exercise. I can’t help but be closer to my goal at that rate. :)

  9. Renae says

    Soup sounds great, except I think I would brown the grassfed ground beef in the skillet, remove the meat with a slotted spoon and then saute the veggies in the pan drippings.

  10. says

    I love your ideas for kids lunches, I will pass them on to my brother so he can try them with my nieces.

    My husband and I have been eating a paleo diet for a little over a year now, so it was fun checking your lists for items we’re still missing from our pantry. How do you use coconut flour?

    Also, on my slow cooker blog the recipes I post are usually meaty and full of flavours, I love to hear what you think of them.

  11. Cathy L from San Jose says

    Thanks again for a wonderful recipe Sara. I’ve pre-ordered your book and am looking forward to its release. I recently went through my cookbooks realized that almost all my old cook books need to be given away or trashed: The bakery books and the vegetarian, grain based, lo fat books all need to go — so your book has a nice space on the self awaiting it.–I also want to say once again that you Prosciutto Wrapped Pears (Thanksgiving 2010 menu) were a HUGE hit at our New Year’s Day Party; they were snapped up immediately — I could have made 3 times the amount and they would have all been taken I’m sure.
    Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful 2011

  12. Nat says

    Hi Sarah!
    I just made the Mulligatawny Soup for dinner is simmering on the stove as I write this…so excited to try it!! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Christy says

    AWESOME read Sarah!! We don’t have kids of our own yet, but know that I am packing away the ‘getting kids involved’ ideas!! I even forwarded this article to friends that do- it’s so helpful.
    Also love you sharing what you suggest to have in pantry/fridge. Makes me re-prioritize my shopping lists. 😉

  14. Tara says

    WoW!!! I love your website along with your blogs and great recipes. I am new to the Paleo way of thinking and eating and am so excited to live a healthier way of life. Thank you so much Sarah and I can’t wait for you book to come out in June!

  15. Yvonne says

    Sarah, I love your blog, recipes and tips!! I am just starting on the Paleo way and your site has been the best. The info in this post is excellent, it will help me even more get it all together for a healthier year for my hubby and myself. Can’t wait for your book!!!
    Cheers and Happy New Year to you and your family!! Thank you!

  16. Jerry says


    I love your website. I am constantly posting your recipes and advice on my facebook page in an effort to increase the number of my friends who will hopefully realize the benefits of paleo! My boyfriend and I have been paleo for 8 months now and we’ve both noticed such a difference in our overall health and athletic performance (we run, he plays ultimate frisbee). Your website is a go-to reference for dinner ideas. Thank you for all you do – I’m looking forward to the publication of your cookbook!

  17. says

    We made the soup tonight, I was fabulous. My 7yo ate it, and my 4yo didn’t complain (she didn’t eat it, but they live on sunshine and rainbows at this age). I did dollop some greek yogurt on the top if they wanted it. Looking forward to trying some more of your recipes!

  18. Hannah says

    Thank you for this! I know so many people have said that already but I have to say it. We have just recently started the paleo diet and it really helps reading a post like this when we are still figuring things out! I really look forward to trying out all your recipes!

  19. Georgia says

    This recipe is a new family favourite! I subbed a cooking onion for the leek and 1/3 of a butternut squash for the parsnip, as I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand. I can’t even tell you how delish it was. Thanks again!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Georgia,
      I’m so glad it tuned out, we LOVED this soup when I made it and I can’t wait to try it again with different veggies and maybe chicken next time! The possibilities are endless with this one!

  20. says

    great resource! I am leaning into more paleo based meals and just had my mom take out gluten to see if that helps with her RA so will share this with her as well!
    Happy New Year

  21. Joyce says

    Are you concerned about the amounts of salt you use in recipes/food recommendations?

    I have the Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, and salt is a no-no – too acid.

    I am so confused now; please respond. What is truly paleo and is salt ok or not? Thank you so much.

    • Sarah says

      Hi Joyce, The big problem with salt lies in the amount of salt found in all processed food, even a slice of whole wheat bread has an incredible amount of salt in it. When you cut out all processed foods, using some sea salt in your food should be ok. If you are very unhealthy, have issues with insomnia, or exercise infrequently, you might do better cutting back or out the salt entirely. If you do not feel comfortable adding the sea salt, simply leave it out! If you do use it, make sure it’s sea salt and not table salt. Sea salt actually has some pretty healing qualities in it. I hope that clears things up for you!

  22. Joyce says

    Oh, I thank you so much. I am so new to this and am feeling a bit anxious. I am on the paleo diet for health reasons, and I’m already feeling better. Actually, I just went into Loren Cordain’s FAQ on his website, and he says that a small amount of sea salt is ok. Now I get it!

    I thank you so much for answering so quickly. I have your book on pre-order from amazon. 5 months is too long too wait! There are too few paleo cookbooks out there. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us in this amazing blog. Now I await the cookbook! Joyce.

    • Sarah says

      Hi Joyce,
      Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait 5 months! It should be out late February or early March!! Amazon doesn’t have an exact release date yet so they always put it as 6 months out or so. : )

  23. mike says

    My wife and I have been paleo for about 6 months now and absolutely love it. Our only problem with it is that we aren’t able to eat quinoa. Why is it not on the paleo diet if it isn’t considered a grain and closely related to spinach and beets.

  24. Bob C says

    Wow, that was fantastic. I just finished making this soup and our 5-year-old daughter announced that “mully-gitny” was her favorite food! Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes. Thanks so much!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Lesley,
      Liquid amount would stay the same but I would use stew meat or cut up raw chicken instead of the ground beef.

  25. Kathy says

    Made this on Wednesday…….this one is going in the rotation! LOVE LOVE LOVE…..and my 3 year old asked for seconds :)

  26. Michelle says

    Sarah! O-M-G!!!! This recipe rocks!! The soup was amazing and so flavorful! I had to contain myself to one bowl, otherwise, I would’ve had the entire pot! Even my fiance, a non paleoer, loved it–he had 3 bowls!

    Love your website and all its recipes/advice! Already pre-ordered my book too! =)

    Keep up the great work!

    A very loyal fan,

  27. Barbie says

    Love your website! The pantry list was great in helping to make a great start! Have you ever thought about posting a weekly menu plan with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas? The menus could consist of all your delicious recipes, of course! It would be great for newbies! :)

    • Sarah says

      Hi Barbie! I have thought of posting a weekly menu plan but right now I simply don’t have the time. This is something for sure that we are planning on having in the future. Hopefully once my book is done I can make it happen. ARghh. I need a personal assistant! LOL!!

  28. Scott says

    Just re-discovered you through Paleo Solution podcast — Great Interview. I love this list of staples you’ve put together, but I also notice you seem to use a decent amount of equipment in your kitchen (pressure cooker, food processor, etc..)

    Do you have a similar list of kitchen tools you use often and recommend for a paleo kitchen?

  29. Carissa Roca says

    I just made this soup tonight with my mom and we’re in love! I do have one question…Is it necessary to keep it cooking for an hour? My mom couldn’t wait for the soup so she served herself after 20 mins and all the vegetables were cooked all the way as well as the meat.

    • Sarah says

      HI Carissa! I think your fine to stop when it appears to be done! Maybe I cut my carrots up bigger…. : ) So glad you loved it!

  30. says

    Fantastic! Made this and my husband and I ate it over a few days. My husband will not tolerate fruit with meat yet… he didn’t notice the apples in this. I get the last laugh on that one.
    Thanks for another great recipe, Sarah.

  31. Christine says

    This looks great and I can’t wait to try it – maybe this weekend :) Thanks for all the great information and yummy recipes Sarah!

  32. says

    Thank you for this recipe – I love this soup! Made it without the carrots and turmeric (none on hand at the time) and it was still a big hit. Planning to make a double batch soon and see how it holds up in the freezer!

  33. Julie Graham says

    This is simmering on my stove top as I write this! My husband and I are new to the Paleo Diet and have been enjoying the various blogs and websites dedicated to this way of life. I have been listening to your podcast and am encouraged each day to stick with this!

    My husband is training for the Arnold Fitness Competition- Pump and Run (in March) and I am training for my first Sprint Triathlon (in June). Paleo seems to be enhancing our moods and we are seeing better results from out workouts as well!

    Thanks for all you do!

  34. Karen G says

    I made this soup last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have nutmeg so I used allspice and I also substituted the ground beef for ground turkey. It turned out great. Everyone in my office wants to know what smells so great! Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Jennifer says

    I’m just discovering Paleo and plan on stocking up the fridge this week. Loved your list of staples! Any suggestions for stocking up for 1 person vs a family? I’d hate to see all that good stuff go bad before I could get ahold of all of it.

  36. says

    Okay, I just made this recipe tonight for my family. I printed it out because it looked so yummy, but when I was making it and realized it had so much curry in it, I had my doubts, (I’ve never been much of a curry fan). As it cooked, I thought it smelled great, and when we finally sat down to eat it, I found out that it tasted great, too. Thanks for another tasty family friendly recipe! :-)

  37. Julie says

    Hi Sarah,
    I was searching on Amazon for a healthy eating cookbook and stumbled across you book and shortly thereafter, your blog. Your book arrives tomorrow but I have started the Paleo lifestyle today and am so excited! Is it too early to already be feeling better? Because I do! I had tried Paleo several years back and I felt there was no way that I could do it and feed my husband and child. I now have 2 children, 2 and 3 years old. We have eaten “healthy”, whole grain breads, organic goat cheese, everything natural and organic for as long as I can remember. Sadly though I am worn out by 11am and can barely continue through the day. I am fairly fit, exercise daily, and am a certified holistic nutritionist. With all of this I felt I should have it all figured out and didn’t need help. But clearly something is not working for my body. After reading your blog it clicked, this is what I need AND I can do this with my family. I love seeing your kids participate. Thank you and I hope to update you in the months to come with stories of abundant energy and a family fully on board.

    I am printing out the “keep in stock” lists right now :-)

    Thank you,

  38. KARIM NASSER says

    Am just starting with the Paleo and I looked at your recipe and it says
    sea salt, I thought salt was a no with the paleo.

    • Sarah says

      The problem with salt, is that it’s what typically is added in abundance to ALL processed foods and not whole sea salt, but table salt which is really just sodium chloride. When eating a paleo diet and cutting out all the processed foods, adding a bit of sea salt is fine in my opinion. Read this neat article on the subject.

  39. says

    We’ve just had a flurry of iodine related news articles such as hxxp://

    Surely having a bit of iodine from table salt can’t be a bad thing?

  40. Beth says

    Hi there. This is our first Paleo meal ever. We are going to do it for a full thirty days starting next week but I wanted to try out some recipes this week to get my feet wet. I’ve been doing tons of reading and making out my grocery and pantry lists. Stocking our pantry for the first time is going to be pretty pricey but I think it will even out after getting used to shopping and eating this way. Long story long. I’m wondering if I can substitute the coconut oil for olive oil or if that will ruin the flavor. We cook a lot now so have all of the spices needed already. Thank you Sarah. I can tell you will be a huge reference for our family.

  41. Chrissy says

    I am really excited to start this new lifestyle change! I have heard nothing but good things about it and I have seen how all my friends health is just getting better and better. I am getting your book and starting my new life!

  42. cheryl waelbroeck says

    What do you recommend in place of he coconut milk? I am allergic to carraggeenan, a thickener used in cocunut milk.

  43. Anna says

    I am new to trying out paleo recipes, but not new to cooking or mulligatawny. I have to tell you, both my husband and I found this recipe to be way too heavy on the cinnamon. Once everything was simmered for a half hour, as opposed to the recommended hour, we ate and also found that the veggies and apples had lost so much tooth, it was all sort of mushy. I would not make this again.

  44. Julie says

    Hi Sarah,

    This looks great. I have my own version of mulligatawny which I usually make with chicken, but I want to try this as well. Can you tell me how many onions? They’re not listed in the ingredients, but the directions say to saute the leeks and onions together. Does that refer to the shallots?

    Thanks for the help,


    • says

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! You were the first person to catch this! Yes, it should refer to the shallots not onions. I just fixed it in the post. Thank you!!

  45. Rachel says

    My family loves this soup! I am all out of parsnips but I have turnips would it taste alright withe those as a substitute? Love your website:) thanks!

  46. says

    This was delicious! I followed the recipe to a T, and used some great 85% lean grass fed ground beef from U.S. Wellness meats. This is going in the rotation for sure!

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