Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

Winter Harvest Squash Soup

Sweet and nutty, this rich, creamy soup has the smooth, airy texture of soufflé.


The most surprising thing that happened at our recent Sephardic Spice Girl cooking demonstration at Beth Jacob Congregation?

The reaction to our Winter Harvest Squash Soup!

We were worried that the audience was getting hungry and restless, so we sent out cups of soup. We saw everyone taking seconds.

When we asked for questions, everyone wanted to know what was in the soup and how we made it.

We were taken aback by the excited reaction because our Squash Soup is so simple to make.

But in fairness to the crowd, every mouthful of this soup is rather deliciously decadent.

The real secret is that it only tastes decadent. This soup is really, really healthy. It contains lots of bright orange vegetables—butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots—that are high in beta-carotene, potassium and fiber. The parsnip adds a spicy, licorice flavor and the white squash adds another layer of subtle creaminess.

Sweet and nutty, this rich, creamy soup has the smooth, airy texture of soufflé.

This soup is vegan, paleo-friendly and low-calorie, as well.

THIS SOUP IS VERY SIMILAR TO A FAMILY RECIPE THAT GOES BACK GENERATIONS, A SOUP THAT MY MOTHER COOKED FOR DECADES AND THAT WE STILL EAT EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT.

Rachel’s Turn:

This soup is very similar to a family recipe that goes back generations, a soup that my mother cooked for decades and that we still eat every Friday night. My mother’s soup includes tomatoes and a few other other veggies and is less sweet than this soup. But this soup is pure comfort and I love having a big pot of it in the fridge. After a long day, I’ll heat up a bowl with a huge handful of organic baby spinach for an easy no fuss dinner.

Sharon’s Turn:

The first step in this recipe is to roast lots of veggies until they are tender and caramelized. So, quick confession, when nobody in my house would eat the leftover roasted vegetables from dinner, I turned them into soup. I got out the immersion blender, added some liquid and voila, some yummy soup. Now it’s a family favorite (and nobody’s the wiser about my repurposing the leftovers!)

We hope you try this cozy, nutritious and scrumptious soup. You’ll understand why all those ladies went crazy for our soup!

A votre sante. To your good health!

Winter Squash Soup

3 tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil
1 medium butternut squash,
peeled, seeded and diced
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 white squash or zucchini, cubed
12 cups vegetable broth or water

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Grease a large baking sheet with oil and arrange butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots and parsnip in a single layer on the tray.
  • Sprinkle with sugar, spices, salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add onion and sauté for 10 minutes until translucent.
  • Add white squash and sauté for 10 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and add roasted vegetables and 1 cup of broth and blend all the ingredients using an immersion blender.
  • Place pot over low heat, add remaining liquid and stir well until soup is a smooth consistency. Taste soup and add salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Cover pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes

Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. They love cooking and sharing recipes. They have collaborated on Sephardic Educational Center projects and community cooking classes. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC 

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