Pic of Spiced celeriac soup with za'atar

Spiced celeriac soup with za'atar

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Soups & stews

Spiced celeriac soup with za'atar

Serves 4 50 min
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, sesame seeds and thyme and hyssop – a herb a bit like thyme and marjoram. Make extra if you like, because as well as adding a lovely rich note to this easy-to-make celeriac soup, you can keep it in a jar to sprinkle on hummus, fried eggs or roast meat.

Cook's notes

Store leftover za'atar in the fridge and sprinkle over meat or veg, or serve with bread and oil.



  • oil for frying, e.g. rapeseed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ large celeriac, peeled and diced, tossed in the juice of a lemon as you cut it up, to stop it discolouring
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1.2 litres veg stock

for the za'atar

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp marjoram (or use 2 tbsp thyme)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp sumac (a ground citrus-tasting powder, widely available but leave out if you can't find it)


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 45 min


  • Step 1

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and fry very gently for 10 minutes without colouring, until soft and translucent.
  • Step 2

    Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, celeriac and lemon juice. Stir for 1 minute.
  • Step 3

    Add the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the celeriac is tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Make the za'atar

  • Step 1

    Crush half the toasted sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar. Stir in the rest of the seeds, thyme, marjoram, salt and sumac.
  • Step 2

    Blend the soup until smooth. Reheat gently if needed and check the seasoning. Sprinkle over a little za'atar to serve.

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