Butternut Squash Soup with Za’atar & Lemon Oil

This delicious soup is perfect for Autumnal days.  If you’ve been at my market stalls, you may well have tasted it yourself, and know it’s rich layers of flavours.

I’m very much a fan of Middle Eastern flavours, and this recipe is adapted from one of my favourite cooks, Salma Hage.  I’ve simplified it a little and added the lemon oil to enhance the sumac and za’atar spice flavours.  I leave the veg unpeeled as most of the nutrients are found in the skins and near the surface – as long as they are clean then they are good to go.

I make my own za’atar as it’s simple and nice to use in other meals too.  Take the leaves off one supermarket bundle of fresh thyme and add to a tablespoon of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram, a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and a teaspoon of sumac. If you don’t fancy making it, it’s available from the spice section of well stocked supermarkets.


1 small butternut squash

2 carrots

1 sweet potato

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

750ml stock

2 tablespoons Za’atar*

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Salt & Pepper to season


Peel & dice the squash and place in a roasting pan.  Dice the other veg (unpeeled) and place in the pan too.  Toss together with the cumin and olive oil and roast on 180 degrees until soft.

Put the cooked veg in a large pan and add half the stock.  Using a hand blender, blend until it’s smooth.  Add more stock until it reaches a creamy soup consistency.  Add the za’atar, salt & pepper and stir well.  Add three drops of lemon oil, stirring again before serving.



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