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Soup in the Sukkah

May 8, 2009 | by Chana Rubin

Two great menu ideas and recipes for a hearty Sukkot.

Here in Beer Sheva, Israel it's still warm and summery. But October brings a chill to the evening air. It's the perfect time to cook up a pot of soup to serve in the Sukkah.

And what better time to feature the glorious array of fall vegetables than the harvest festival of Sukkot? Eggplant, peppers, squash, tomatoes, leeks and chard combine perfectly with grains and beans in hearty, warming soups. Lentil soup with chard is one of our favorites. Try vegetable minestrone with whole-wheat pasta or mushroom-barley soup for a nutritious meal-in-a-bowl.

An easy and delicious accompaniment to soup is muffins, biscuits or quick bread. Add a fresh salad and fruit for dessert, and you're set!

Here are two menu ideas and recipes to get you started -- Sweet Potato Soup served with Cornbread and Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato Muffins.


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 "piece of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and sweet potatoes begin to caramelize. This will take about 10 minutes. (They should turn a deep golden brown; be careful not to burn the vegetables.)

Add the ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the water, salt and pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are completely soft.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor until completely smooth. Add the soy sauce, stir and serve hot.

Makes 4 cups, 4-5 servings


1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2-4 tablespoons honey (to taste)
1 cup low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit (220 Centigrade) Put butter into an 8" (20 cm) square baking pan and put it in the heated oven for a few minutes, to melt. Remove the pan and use a brush to spread the butter around the bottom and sides of the pan.

Stir together the dry ingredients and make a well in the bowl.

Mix together the eggs, oil, honey and milk. Stir into the dry ingredients and mix lightly and briefly to combine.

Pour into baking pan and bake until golden and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20-25 minutes.

Serve warm


1 1/2 cups brown lentils, sorted, checked and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 large bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound or ½ kilo), cleaned thoroughly and chopped
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large soup pan and sauté the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic, ground cumin and coriander and cook, stirring for another minute.

Add the lentils and water or broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Add the Swiss chard, salt and pepper to the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more water or broth. Add the lemon juice and fresh cilantro, and serve hot.

Serves 6-8 servings


Use leftover sweet potatoes or winter squash, or cook them quickly in the microwave.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses or silan (date honey)
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato or winter squash
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (dates, raisins, apricots) or candied ginger, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Centigrade).

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon and set aside.

Mix together the oil, molasses or silan, buttermilk and eggs. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Add the sweet potato or squash and the brown sugar and mix well. Stir in the chopped dried fruit or candied ginger.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix just to combine. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry.

12 muffins


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