Creamy Broccoli Tahini Soup

It’s officially soup weather here in California. America is in the thick of February, the coldest weeks of winter, and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to stay warm. I have a little space heater under my desk; it’s constantly on “high” blowing warm air directly onto my sock feet. I sip tea all day long and snuggle inside my sweater, dreaming about that Mediterranean vacation I took with my husband several summers ago. Back in November, I was excited to welcome back the cold. I looked forward to the rain, the clouds, and that brief (and relatively mild) change of season we experience here in Southern California. But never mind that. I’m ready for spring… it can’t get here fast enough!

The good news about soup weather is that it coaxes me into testing new recipes. I dream up soups all year long, even when it’s hot outside. I have a notebook where I scribble down recipe inspiration, and it’s full of soup ideas. Recently I looked in the notebook and noticed a scribble I made several months ago:

Broccoli soup, thickened with potatoes. Tahini??

The idea may have occurred to me after making a batch of my Autumn Sweet Potato Soup, which is enhanced by peanut butter. If peanut butter can add richness and creaminess to soup, why not tahini (which is essentially sesame butter, or paste)? I decided to play around using up some ingredients I had in the fridge… broccoli, onion, garlic, a parsnip, some fresh dill. After spicing it just so, I served a bowl to my husband. I didn’t expect to nail it on the first try, but he was thrilled. After two bowlfuls, he declared it one of his new favorites. I like it too. We’re trying to work more vegetables into our winter diet, and this soup is a perfect way to get our healthy cruciferous greens. It’s vegan, gluten free, and dairy free, yet also creamy and filling. The soup is rich in protein and calcium thanks to the tahini paste. It’s health food that doesn’t really taste like health food. I’m sure I’ll be making this one a few more times before soup season comes to a close.

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Creamy Broccoli Tahini Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 medium potatoes)
  • 1 parsnip (5-6 oz), peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 qts (8 cups) vegetable broth
  • 1 lb broccoli florets (about 3 heads of broccoli- if weighing with stems, 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if sensitive to spice, use just a pinch)
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste (from raw seeds is best)
  • Fresh dill for garnish (optional)

You will also need

  • Food processor (optional), immersion blender
Servings: 8
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium. Add the minced onion and saute for about 10 minutes, till softened. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes till fragrant.
  • Stir in the diced russet potatoes, parsnip, and bay leaves. Cover the ingredients with vegetable broth, stir, and bring to a boil.
  • Let the ingredients simmer for about 20 minutes till the potatoes and parsnips are soft.
  • Meanwhile, remove the broccoli florets from their stems (you should end up with about 1 lb of florets) and place them into a food processor. Pulse till the florets have been chopped into tiny pieces. If you have a smaller food processor, you may have to do this in batches. You can also chop the broccoli by hand, but make sure it is chopped very fine-- this will speed cooking time, ensuring that the broccoli stays green and retains its vitamins.
  • When the potatoes and parsnip have softened, remove the bay leaves. Add the chopped broccoli florets to the soup along with the chopped dill, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and cardamom. If you're sensitive to spice, add the cayenne with care-- it's spicy! Using 1/4 tsp as the recipe suggests will give it a slight kick, which I really like. Bring the soup back to a simmer for about 5 minutes till the broccoli has softened. While the broccoli cooks, season with salt and pepper to taste. I use about 3/4 tsp of salt and a dash of pepper, more or less, depending on how salty my vegetable broth is.
  • As soon as the broccoli softens, remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup tahini paste till smooth.
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the soup till it's pureed and creamy. Serve hot. Garnish each bowl with a small sprig of fresh dill, if desired.
  • Notes: for a slightly thinner, more appetizer-like soup texture, reduce 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes to 1 lb of potatoes. If you aren't worried about keeping the soup vegan, you can use chicken broth in the place of vegetable broth. For those who don't have an issue with gluten, I highly recommend serving the soup in a sourdough bowl, or stirring in a few toasted sourdough pieces to soak up the soup. Delish!

More Great Recipes

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Healthful Pursuit – Pump Up Your Greens ‘Creamed’ Soup

Pass the Sushi – Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

Comments (28)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I eat soup almost every day for lunch at work, and beautiful broccoli is all over the farmers’ market right now. This soup looks delicious, can’t wait to try it.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    My husband and I don’t like parsnips, and he has diverticulitis & I have IBS hense spice! The soup looks delicious but what can you substitute for the above, and the Tanni paste? Ruth

    1. Ruth, if you can’t eat parsnips, spice or tahini, then this may not be the soup for you! You can sub 2 carrots for the parsnip (though the color of the soup will change), but the spices and the tahini are really a major part of this recipe, and can’t really be subbed. I suggest you check out my soup archives to see if there’s something better suited to your needs: link to theshiksa.com

    2. what about a turnip instead of the parsnip? or cauliflower?
      as for tahini, it does seem to be the glue of this recipe, but i could see the soup tasting good without it, just different. soaked and blended cashews might work.

  3. We loved the autumn sweet potatoes peanut butter on Sukkot, can’t wait to try this one – sounds just like our cup of tea/soup…. Thank you and happy Purim

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Kol haKavod. Wonderful reading. I am allergic to all carciferous vegies. No I can not eat cooked broccoli. Is there a substitute you can recommend. I would certainly try tahini soup. Thanks for your assistance.

    1. I always peel them and serve them to my husband, he LOVES them with a little salt and lemon juice. :) But I suppose you could throw them in there, too… it shouldn’t hurt, as long as they have time to soften up. I would discard any really thick or tough stems. Chopping the stems up in the processor should make the cooking process go much faster!

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Delicious – made it for Friday night and asked my guests (parents and brother whom I know love tahini) to guess what’s the secret ingredient. My mother guessed immediately and we all loved it. Substituted 4 zucchinis for the potatoes. Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Wow just made this, was looking forward to trying your Honey Garlic Chicken, but alas I forgot to defrost the chicken and all I had in the fridge to cook was broccili, cauliflower & zucchini so I threw all of them in the soup, was afraid to add the tahini ;) but it was wonderful!! It’s great for people who can’t eat dairy to enjoy a creamy soup. Thanks!

  7. Hi, I have just discovered your website and am very impressed with your work and your very interesting (Kosher) recipes. I live in Australia and we use the Metric measurement
    system. Do you have the online “feature” which enables your Imperial quantities to be converted to Metric – Degrees Centigrade,milliletres, kilograms etc? If not (yet),would you consider building it into your site in the future? Keep up the good (invaluable) work!!!

    1. Hi Michael! Thank you for the feedback. I have not integrated this option for a very good reason. My recipes are thoroughly tested, meaning I don’t put them on the site till I know they are solid and delicious. Transferring recipes to metric measurement can be extremely tricky (particularly when it comes to baking), and mistakes are often made, as some of my cookbook author friends can attest. My concern is that if a converted measurement is off and it results in a recipe being ruined, it is a bad reflection on the site (and me!). Until I am able to test recipes in metrics (which right now is not cost effective), I will not be able to add this feature. It is in my mind for the future as the site expands, however!

  8. Hi Tori,

    I’m excited to make this soup for a dinner party tomorrow night. Is it OK to make it tonight and reheas before serving?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Katherine! Sorry I didn’t get back to you right away, I had over 100 comments in moderation to sift through and answer this weekend. Did you end up making it ahead? I have never made this particular soup in advance but I think it would work, I’d be curious to hear how it went for you. Let me know if you have a chance!

    1. Hi Amy, I’ve never frozen this! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but it has tahini and I’m not exactly sure how it will freeze… if you try it will you please report back and let us know how it was?

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