Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nigella's Happiness Soup: Yellow Squash, Rice (& Lentils) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Can you find happiness in a bowl of soup? Nigella Lawson's Happiness Soup is a good place to start looking. A bright sunny hue of yellow squash, basmati rice, turmeric and lemon to which I added some split yellow peas to make it more substantial. It's a happy summer hug in a bowl. 

Nigella says, "Forgive the tweeness of the title, but this is a soup of such sunny, mood-enhancing yellowness that it overcomes even the most pervasively innate cynicism. To eat this is to feel cheered; even cooking it gives me a lift. It's incredibly easy to make, but that's not the clincher. This golden broth, rice-thickened and studded with a confetti dice of yellow courgettes and sprightly with lemon is pure joy. You only have to see it to believe it. And not surprisingly in some Middle-Eastern cultures, it is believed, in Claudia Roden's words, that 'eating yellow foods will result in laughter and happiness'. This, then, is a yellow soup to banish the blues."

Happiness Soup 
Adapted from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4-6)

500g/ roughly 18oz yellow zucchini/courgettes (2 large) 
(I added one diced sweet Maui onion) 
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil (see my notes above regarding this)
1 tsp turmeric (see above also)
1 litre/ 4 cups chicken stock (I used 6 cups veggie mock chicken stock)
(I added 1/2 cup split yellow lentil/peas) 
115g/ 4oz basmati rice
Maldon or other sea salt & pepper

Wash and cut the unpeeled squash into very thin rings, and then dice them finely. Put them into the pan with the lemon zest and oil. (I started the onions first, cooked them for a few minutes and then added the other items.) Stir to coat, then cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly softened.  

Stir in the turmeric and pour in the stock and lemon juice and then drop in the rice (I added the yellow lentils at this point.) Cook, uncovered, for 2--25 minutes or until the squash, lentils and rice are tender. Taste for seasoning. Leave to cool slightly before serving so that you eat the soup warm rather than piping hot.

Notes/Results: A pleasing, thick and satisfying soup with bright lemony notes. You can't help being in a good mood looking at it. I liked the addition of the lentils to the mix to add some protein and the sweet local onion I added for more flavor. With the addition of the lentils, I added an extra two cups of broth but between the rice and the lentils, this soup sucks up a lot--if you want a brothier bowl, have more on hand to thin it out especially after it sits. A good soup for a summer evening, I would make it again. 

This coming week is Potluck at I Heart Cooking Clubs--the opportunity to cook any Nigel Slater dish or a recipe from any previous IHCC chef like Nigella Lawson. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links once the post goes live.

We have a couple of good friends with salads awaiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look.

Janet of The Taste Space shares this Creamy Curried Lentil Salad and says, "...itching to make something new, I decided to make a spin on two of my other favourite salads, aka The Best Lentil Salad and The Best Chickpea Salad. This time, I used lentils, capers and currants but with a dressing more similar to the tahini-maple-curry dressing from the chickpea salad. I added some greens, too, which I like to add to lentil salads. It was so delicious, it barely lasted one meal. Got to love simple salads like this."

Joanne from yummyveg is back with Pasta Salad with Kiwi Dressing. She says, "Tangy, sharp, surprisingly creamy, sweet, all of these words describe the kiwi dressing I´ve used on my pasta salad. It might seem like a lot of salad dressing but I have to say I didn’t actually use all of it. The thing is the pasta absorbs it so I think half isn’t quite enough. Better too much than too little. The watercress provides a spicy contrast to the tartness of the kiwi and the beans make this a complete salad which can be eaten as a one bowl meal."

Thanks to Janet and Joanne for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I've looked at that recipe so many times and never made it! Turmeric is supposed to be extremely good for you, so I should definitely have a go!

  2. Between the lemon, turmeric, and bright yellow hue, I can definitely see how this would be mood enhancing!

  3. I love the name of this soup and would eat it regardless of the ingredients! Fortunately, it sounds delicious too!

  4. I would like a happy bowl, please.

  5. janet @ the taste spaceAugust 19, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Nice! I have made this soup before and I like how you added split peas. It always takes forever to cook split peas (it can be quite variable), so I haven't cooked them in a while.. I should remedy that.

  6. It looks like sunshine in a bowl. Now I have that Happiness song from Despicable Me stuck in my head!

  7. Such a lovely name for a beautiful soup! My favourite colour is yellow, and this soup definitely makes me smile just looking at it. Looks delicious too!

  8. These are so beautiful and delicious-looking!

  9. what a bright colorful soup = perfect for summer

  10. Seems you are using up zucchinis ;-). I don't have them in my garden any more, but for this recipe I wish I would ...

  11. Couscous & ConsciousnessAugust 24, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Actually I felt happy as soon as I saw the title of this dish, Deb - how can you not be cheered by something called Happiness Soup? And with that beautiful colour and gorgeous ingredients, it appears to be very aptly named. Great addition of the lentils, I think.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)