Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup

vegetable soup in blue and yellow bowl and Eileen holding soup

This Jewish Food Hero Community Recipe is Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup. This is a Mediterranean inspired, Yemeni spiced soup,  packed with satiating squash and potato. 

Community Recipes is a recurring feature where I ask a community member to share a vegan recipe with us. 

vegetable soup in blue and yellow bowl and Eileen holding soup

About Eileen Greenberg 

Eileen is a 68 year old who is called “Nana” and “Grandmom Eileen” by her grandchildren. She grew up in Pennsylvania and is a trained Medical Technologist. After training for a graduation present, she  backpacked through Europe and the Middle East with a few friends.

At the time, they followed an itinerary in a book called “Europe on 5$ a Day.” She will never forget this experience, it is part of who she is today. At the end of the 2-month group trip, she decided to stay an extra month alone in Israel and work on a kibbutz. 

This trip still feels relevant for her today.  For her, this memory leaves her with gratitude that her parents agreed to the trip and that she listened to herself and had this wonderful experience. When she returned home she met her husband, Moshe, and they  married at 22 years old. They have 2 children, a son and a daughter, and are blessed with 5 grandkids. Elileen now lives in a beautiful historic rural area in the Eastern United States. Over the years, she has worked at several rewarding part time jobs. One of her favorites was working in a cooking school with the most wonderful girls, one weekend a month for many years. Another favorite was a summer on a farm cooking for the weekend farmers’ market using seasonal produce. 

If you don’t find Eileen in the kitchen, then look for her in the swimming pool doing water aerobics and listening to oldies music. She also loves walking, weather permitting. She loves to eat and thinks about cooking all the time. 

As far as cookbooks, Eileen doesn’t look at the recipes but her main enjoyment is reading the stories behind the dishes. She loves the different cultures and the stories people tell.

vegetable soup in blue and yellow bowl and Eileen holding soup

About Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup 

Eileen is a forever lover of Mediterranean foods and loves reading recipes, but never follows them exactly! She mixes and matches from the variety of her reading and uses the ingredients she enjoys. 

Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup came to be when Eileen and her husband were home on lockdown to protect themselves against Covid-19. Eileen took out the ingredients she had on hand and started looking at recipes online and putting the two together. She was cooking while on Facetime with her grandson, explaining to him how she was making the soup and not sure how it would turn out. The only people that got to eat this were Eileen and her husband. He was so taken aback by the flavors that he said, “This is the best soup!”

vegetable soup in blue and yellow bowl on blue spotted tablecloth

Special Ingredients 

Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup uses, you guessed it, Hawaij. If you’re wondering just what that is, wonder no more! Hawaij is a delicious and fragrant Yemeni spice mix. There are different versions for soups and for coffees. Here is a pre-made Hawajj spice blend that has no additives, preservatives or fillers. There are many variations, but the basic key ingredients are: cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and salt. 

Eileen’s homemade broth recipe

Eileen alway makes her own broth from scratch, following this foolproof method:

  1. Instead of throwing away scraps & skins from onions, carrots, herbs and vegetables, freeze them in a bag in the freezer, adding to it each time you cook. 
  2. When the freezer bag is full, put everything in a big stock pot with peppercorns and a few bay leaves. 
  3. Fill with water to cover the scraps. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 1 ½  to 2 hours. 
  4. Freeze the broth in one lump ready for a soup, or freeze in ice cube trays for instant broth for cooking grains.

More Jewish Food Hero Community Recipes 

Here are some other favorite Jewish Food Hero community recipes. 

Benjamin’s Vegan Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Cookies are a vegan-luxe update on the very classic American Chocolate Chip Cookie.  This is one of Benjamin’s go-to recipes – making them is methodical (just follow the directions) and relaxing. The end result of Benjamin’s Vegan Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies is a nice treat. 

Sarah’s Apple and Fennel Stuffed Squash recipe 

This is a year-round winner, with the autumnal flavour of squash and apple, brightened with the spring-like taste of fennel. The base of juicy, fibrous squash stuffed with protein-packed beans makes this a satiating and healthy plant-based meal. 

Lily’s Sweet Maple Vegetable Barley Salad is simple to make, delicious and vibrant.  You can use quinoa in this recipe during Passover or anytime of year.  

Jacqueline’s Raw Raspberry Lemon Meltaways are a vegan and gluten-free treat, packed with natural, plant-based protein and healthy fat in the form of almond flour and shredded coconut, meaning they will provide long lasting energy.

Jessica’s Velvety Vegan Parsnip Pear Soup

This nutritious and delicious parsnip pear soup recipe has a sweet and savory taste that adults and children love. It is pureed, creamy and dairy-free. You can eat it plain or garnish it with an easy to make cranberry coulis that adds a tarte pop to the soup.  

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Eileen’s Hawaij Vegetable Soup

  • Author: Eileen Greenberg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Soup



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

2-4 small red bliss potatoes, cut in half

1 large tomato, diced

2-3 stalks celery, sliced

2-3 carrots, sliced

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans  

2 tablespoons Hawaij (I used Jasmine Gourmet ) 

5 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable broth

Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. 

  2. Add the onions and cook until soft. 

  3. Add squash & potatoes. Cook on low, stirring all the time until the vegetables are nice and soft. Add broth as necessary to help the vegetables soften and stop them from sticking to the pot. 

  4. Time now to add the tomato, celery, carrots and beans. Cook for around 5 minutes. 

  5. I add the Hawaij and mix well. Cook the vegetable combination for another 5 minutes so the flavors really strengthen and combine . It may look a little dry, but that’s ok!Next you add your delicious broth, about 5 cups. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for around an hour. You could simmer for less time, but I like to give plenty of time for flavors to develop.Serve in a bowl with either fresh parsley or cilantro sprinkled on top.

  6. Enjoy the warm comforting flavors of the spices

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