Vegetarian Yemenite Soup Recipe

The enveloping aroma of cumin, turmeric, coriander and black pepper just screams comfort food.

One of the things I like most about Sephardic food is the enveloping aroma of warm spices that just screams comfort food. It’s like a cure for everything from physical to mental.

Besides the Jewish-Lebanese-Syrian food we ate at home, we were exposed to a variety of different Sephardic cuisines. The first time we tasted a Yemenite soup was 7 years ago, and we still remember the warming comforting spiced broth, that we could not get enough of.

READ: Jewish Foods of Yemen, Ethiopia and Egypt

Yemenite soup is typically made with Hawaij, a spice mix that combines black pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, turmeric and coriander.  For the Yemenite Vegetarian soup we made today, we used a mixture of turmeric, cumin, coriander and black pepper. We added a whole bunch of veggies and some enoki mushrooms for texture.  The result is a warming,comforting and satisfying soup perfect for any occasion.

If you have a particular spice you love, or feel like getting creative, you can absolutely play around with the basic Hawaij and make it your own!


  • 1 medium celeriac (celery root), cubed (about 3 cups), divided
  • 4-5 medium carrots, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, cut into eight pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium parsnip, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (about 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 10 oz  Enoki mushrooms, roots removed


  1. Combine half the celery root, the carrots, onions and garlic in the food processor and pulse until chopped very small.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped vegetables and cook over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add tomato paste, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander and pepper and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add 8 cups water, bring to a boil and add the rest of the celery root, butternut squash and the potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Add Enoki mushrooms and let it sit, covered for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

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