Warm your insides with soups from two Jewish traditions

When the days get short and the weather turns cold and wet, there is nothing like a good bowl of soup. These are some of my favorite meal-in-a-bowl soup recipes, packed with spice, flavor and tradition. The parve (and vegan) recipes rely on winter vegetables as well as pantry staples to warm you inside and out.

The potato goulash is a take on the goulash my Italian Hungarian Jewish step-grandmother made. It is more of a soup than a stew, but you could ladle it over noodles if you like. Try serving it with a dollop of regular or nondairy sour cream on top.

The harira with greens is an interpretation of a hearty soup eaten throughout Morocco, as well as by Jews during the winter, and to break the Yom Kippur fast. The exotic scent and deep flavor make it like a spice market in a bowl.

Potato Goulash

Serves 4

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup bell pepper strips

1 tsp. caraway seeds

11⁄2 Tbs. paprika

15 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid

4 cups vegetable broth

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbs. tomato paste

6 cups (about 2 lbs.) peeled new or red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

Heat oil in deep pot or sauté pan. Sauté onion until light brown, add garlic and sauté until golden. Add pepper strips and sauté until beginning to soften. Add caraway seeds and paprika and stir well. Add tomatoes with liquid, broth, salt, black pepper and tomato paste. Stir. Bring to a simmer. Add potato cubes, return to a simmer. Lower heat and cook covered at a simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Harira with Greens

Serves 6-8

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tsp. dried ground ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. cumin

1⁄2 tsp. paprika

1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom

1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. salt

28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid

4 Tbs. tomato paste

8 cups water

15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1⁄2 cup uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed

4 cups chopped chard leaves

3 oz. angel hair pasta or spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

lemon wedges

harissa, salsa or hot sauce (optional)


Heat the oil in a deep pot. Sauté onion for a few minutes until softened, add garlic and sauté until light brown. Add jalapeño and celery and sauté for another few minutes. Add ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, paprika, cardamom, pepper and salt and mix well. Add tomatoes with their liquid, tomato paste and water. Stir well. Bring to a simmer. Add chickpeas and lentils. Cover pot, lower heat to keep at a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until lentils are almost done. Add chard and simmer 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook 8-12 minutes until pasta is cooked. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over soup. Pass hot sauce if desired.

Faith Kramer
is a Bay area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com. Contact her at [email protected]


Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at [email protected].