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When Hanger Strikes

  • Writer's pictureMari

Arabic Spiced Squash Soup with Za’atar Naan Croutons



There's a lot of soup recipes out

there right now, and I'm blessing you with another one. The best one (or at least one of the best soups I've ever made). The butternut squash is generously seasoned with a homemade Arabic spice mix and thyme olive oil, then roasted with garlic and blended with split yellow peas, (more commonly known as chana daal to me and my family). The croutons can be made with naan or thick bakery style pita bread, and they're coated with za'atar for a delightfully seasoned crouton.


 

Arabic Spiced Squash Soup with Za'atar Naan Croutons


Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes Yield: 4-6 bowls


INGREDIENTS


For the Arabic Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper (sub black pepper)

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

For the Soup

  • 4 tbs thyme olive oil, divided

  • 1 small (approx 600g after peeled and seeds taken out) butternut squash, cleaned and cut into cubes

  • 4 tsp Arabic spice mix, divided

  • 1 head garlic

  • 3/4 cup dried chana daal/yellow split, peas soaked in water

  • 2 small onions (red or yellow), rough diced

  • 1 small carrot, rough diced

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • 3 cups water, divided

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 2-3 tsp sea salt

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (omit to make vegan)

For the Croutons

  • 3 bakery style white pitas or naan, cut into small squares

  • 2 tbs thyme olive oil

  • 2 tbs zatar

  • 1 tbs bagel seasoning


DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all of the spices for the Arabic spice mix in an airtight container. Stir well and set aside until ready to use.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large baking tray with parchment or foil. Place the cubed butternut squash onto the sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs thyme olive oil and 2 tsp Arabic spice mix; mix well to coat squash with oil and spices.

  3. Cut the tip off of the head of garlic, and drizzle the exposed top with a few drops of olive oil. Wrap in foil and place on the baking tray with the squash. Roast the squash and garlic for 40 mins.

  4. While the squash is roasting, soak the split peas in enough water to fully submerge for a minimum of 45 mins (up to 12 hours). Discard of the water when ready to use.

  5. Once the squash is done roasting, reduce the oven temp to 325 F for the croutons, and start the soup. To a large pot, add the remaining olive oil and heat up over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, roasted squash, roasted garlic, and another 2 tsp of Arabic spice mix. Sauté for 5 mins, then add the vegetable broth, 2 cups water, soaked split peas, salt, and baking soda. Bring up to a boil on high then reduce to medium low and simmer for 45 mins total, putting a lid on after 30 mins.

  6. Remove the soup from heat, then use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a creamy purée. Alternatively, you can do this in a stand blender. Return to low heat, and add the remaining cup of water (you can add a bit more if you want a thinner soup). Simmer on low with the lid on for an additional 10 mins.

  7. Add the lemon juice and heavy cream, and keep on low heat while you make the croutons.

  8. Combine all of the ingredients for the croutons in a large mixing bowl and mix well to coat. Transfer the croutons to a foil or parchment lined baking tray, and bake for 12-13 mins. They will be soft when they get out of the oven, but will harden up after cooling for 10-15 mins.

  9. Serve soup hot with croutons on the side or on top.


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