Sweet Potato + Butternut Squash Soup with Za’atar Oil

~ Gettin fancy with that za’atar oil ~

Luke and I were recently gifted two Ottolenghi cookbooks (Nopi, The Cookbook and Plenty More). Admittedly, we’re a little late to the Ottolenghi party, but we’re trying to catch up. With the master chef in mind and our two new cookbooks supplying ample inspiration, we bought a giant pack of za’atar. Giant because we couldn’t find anything smaller than a 16 oz bag at the Middle Eastern grocery store and also because we figured we’d be whipping out za’atar filled Ottolenghi recipes on the daily. As it turns out we still have some catching up to do (Ottolenghi recipes are hard!!). Sooo…this is not an Ottolenghi recipe (it’s actually adapted from Tara Parker-Pope’s on NYT) and it uses a very minimal amount of za’atar, but it is a simple and delicious soup, with just a lil’ exotic touch. The savory za’atar oil nicely balances the sweetness of the soup and the feta adds a salty zing. We recommend serving with a winter-y salad and thick crusty toasts (or, maybe za’atar flatbread?!). Makes a very comforting meal on a chilly winter night.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 TBS
  • 2 TBS za’atar
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • approx. 1/4 of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled


  1. Za’atar oil: In a small skillet, combine 1/4 cup olive oil and za’atar. Cook over medium heat until hot and fragrant, but be careful not to burn (1-2 minutes).  Pour into a small bowl and set aside to cool.  Should sit for an hour or so for flavors to infuse.
  2. In a large pot, heat butter and remaining olive oil over medium high heat. When butter has melted and is shimmery, add the onions, carrot, celery, and leek.  Lower heat a bit and cook until slightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add more oil if necessary to avoid onions sticking to the pot.  Add the sweet potato and butternut squash cubes and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Add the water and stock and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potato and squash are completely soft.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Ladle the soup into bowls, crumble some feta on top, and drizzle on za’atar oil.

Details: Serves 6-8. A great soup to freeze and reheat later!

To print the recipe, click here: Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup + Za’atar Oil


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