Butternut squash and saffron soup with caramelised pistachio and herb salsa.


Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4 - 6

it’s finally autumn in dubai, the temperature has dropped to 26C. But is it even fall if I don’t make a butternut soup ? So let’s cozy up with a bowl of silky, smooth and creamy butternut squash soup flavoured with saffron and topped with caramelised pistachios and herb salsa. 

The soup on its own is very tasty, and it works well with either caramelised pistachios or herbs salsa alone. But the combination of all three is an explosion of flavours. 

This recipe is vegan and it doesn’t take a lot of time. You can even make the soup and the caramelized pistachios in advance. Except the salsa, which must be prepared at the last minute so that the herbs keep a nice green color.

The recipe is from “Falastin” Sami tamimi and tara Wigley’s book. I have to say that’s sometimes, a cookbook comes along that changes your entire culinary perspective, “ Falastin”, “Jerusalem” and “Simple” are ones of those books. I’m a big fan of this cuisine. 

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Butternut squash and saffron soup with caramelised pistachio and herb salsa

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes
  • Serves: 4 - 6


Butternut squash soup :

  • 2-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 320 g onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 kg butternut squash, 1 large, peeled, descended and cut into roughly 1 cm dice
  • 250 g potato, 1 large peeled and chopped into roughly 1 cm dice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • salt and black pepper

Caramelised pistachios :

  • 150 g pistachios kernels, or pumpkin seeds as an alternative
  • 1 tsp Urfa chilli flakes , or 1/2 tsp regular chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water, optional
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp flaked sea salt

Herb salsa :

  • 15 g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10 g oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 50 g banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt


Make the butternut squash soup:

  • 1)

    Put the olive oil into a large saucepan, for which you have a lid, and place on a medium heat, and add the onions and cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden brown.
    Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the remaining vegetables, the spices (paprika and from), the vegetable stock, salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil on a medium – high heat, then cover and  reduce the heat simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely soft and cooked through.

    If you like your soup smooth, use a blender to blitz it as much as you want. If  you want it half-blitz so that some texture remains, in this case blitz half the soup until smooth, then retur it to the un-blitzed soup in the pan.
    If you find the soup too thick for your tastes, just add a little bit more broth to thin it to your liking.

    Keep warm until ready to serve.

Caramelised pistachios:

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 150C fan.

    While the soup is cooking, put all the ingredients into a bowl and miweel to combine.

    Tip out to a parchment lined baking tray and bake for about 15 minutestirring halfway though, until the nuts are golden and bubbling.

    Remove from the oven and set aside until completely cool (you can roughly chop the nuts if you want). Set aside or keep in a airtight container if making in advance, until needed.

Herb salsa :

  • 1)

    Put all the Ingredients into a bowl with 1/4 tsp salt and grind of black pepper. Keep aside until ready to serve.

  • 2)

    When ready to serve, ladle out the soup and top with a generous spoonful of the pistachios, drizzle over the herb salsa and serve at once.

    Enjoy !!



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