Butternut squash, pumpkin, butternut squash, pumpkin…after awhile, all that squash and pumpkin kind of looks and tastes the same. Which is why I came up with this slight variation on a classic butternut squash soup: same roasted butternut squash, but with a Middle Eastern twist.
And I must give credit where it is due. While I am pretty picky about my cookbooks, especially kosher cookbooks, I do love Saffron Shores which inspired this soup recipe.
The key to making this soup is roasting the butternut squash with the harissa on top to really add depth of flavor. What is harissa? It’s a Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally made with dried chilis, coriander and cumin. I added some fresh lemon juice and zest to add brightness.
If you make the soup pareve for a dairy meal, I highly suggest serving it with some thick Greek yogurt or labne, fresh pita chips and a drizzle of olive oil.
1 large butternut squash
2 medium sized parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 tsp harissa
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
Greek yogurt or labne (optional)
pita chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash in half length-wise, and lay out on a baking sheet covered with foil.
In a small bowl, mix together harissa, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Spread spice mixture onto squash using a pastry brush or fingers until evenly coated. Save a little of the mixture to also coat parsnips. Add parsnips and garlic cloves to baking sheet and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until squash is fork tender.
While squash is roasting, heat olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onion until translucent; add garlic for last 3 minutes.
When squash is finished roasting and has cooled around 20 minutes, scoop out flesh and place into blender or food processor along with parsnips, sauteed onion and small amounts of stock. Puree in batches until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this step.
Put pureed squash mixture back into saucepan, and heat through with stock. Allow to simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This is one of my favorite recipes to make and to share with others. Every time I make this soup people ask for the recipe and simply cannot believe it’s nondairy – its so rich and creamy. It’s also pretty easy to make.
Of course you can make it dairy and serve it with creme fraiche although I enjoy topping it with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and a sprinkle of pepitas for crunch. This is such a great soup to sip in the Sukkah or on any cool day.
10 medium sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil plus extra
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp coarse sea salt
2-3 dried chili peppers (small; if using medium sized dried chilis, just use one)
crème fraîche (optional)
pomegranate molasses or tahini (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt in a small bowl. Cut sweet potatoes in half and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Spread brown sugar spice mixture all over sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Roast sweet potatoes for 35-45 minutes or until completely soft. Set aside and let cool.
In a medium to large pot, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil and sauté onions and carrots until translucent and soft, around 4-6 minutes. Add 2-3 cups of stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato flesh and using an immersion blender, blend all vegetables until smooth. Add remaining stock and dried chilis.
When the soup is heated through and flavors have blended, around 20-30 minutes, add coconut milk. Remove the dried chilis before serving. Note: the longer you let the chilis sit in the soup, the spicier the soup will be.
If you are making this soup dairy, you can serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream. If you are serving this soup pareve, drizzle with pomegranate molasses or tahini.