Jami Mental Health Shabbat (JMHS) aims to raise the profile of mental health in the Jewish Community.

This special Shabbat is an opportunity for us to encourage conversations on mental health, raise awareness of mental illness and distress and share ideas on how to support ourselves and others within our community.

This year we’re helping you to make it more memorable and special than ever before. In addition to providing our usual Jami Mental Health Shabbat toolkit, offering everything from sermons to youth activities, we will also be sharing some useful resources such as family friendly conversation cards and recipes, to help you host a Shabbat meal and support Jami at the same time.

Silky Carrot Soup with Ras El Hanout Pumpkin Seeds
By Ilana Epstein

Photo by Blake Ezra blakeezraphotography.com

This is one of those soups that is sophisticated because of its simplicity. You can use it as a backdrop for all kinds of flavours. Think carrot and coriander soup, curried carrot soup or perhaps cumin. Here, I have left it bare and strained it through a wire mesh sieve to make the soup silky smooth. But whatever flavour or texture you are after, this soup is a winner.

To take this soup to the next level, instead of store-bought croutons, I have crisped up pumpkin seeds with Moroccan ras el hanout. This may have been an excuse! I love this spice blend so much, I’m always looking for ways to sneak it into my food. Not only are these pumpkin seeds a fantastic accompaniment to this soup, but they’re a pretty irresistible snack as well, which is all good since the recipe below makes at least twice as much as you will need to garnish the soup.

Serves 10 generously


For soup:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon (plus more to taste) diamond kosher salt
  • 2kg carrots, peeled, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 litre (4¼ cups) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 litre (4¼ cups) approximately water
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon silan (date honey) plus extra to garnish
  • Flaky sea salt to taste


For soup:

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  3. Once shimmering, add the onions and salt, and stir. Keep sauteing until the onions are very soft but do not colour (about 10–15 minutes).
  4. To prevent the onions colouring, stir often if they start to stick to the pan or any patches start browning, add a tablespoon of water, and keep on cooking.
  5. Once the onions are very soft, add the carrots and stock, and enough water to just cover the vegetables and season with salt.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 30–40 minutes until the carrots are very soft and mash easily with a fork.
  7. Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, blend the soup until super smooth. If you like an even finer consistency, pass the soup through a fine wire mesh sieve.
  8. Add the fresh lemon juice and silan to taste and adjust seasoning with salt.

For ras el hanout pumpkin seeds:

  • Non-stick oil spray
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1–2 tablespoons ras el hanout
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 250g (2 cups) hulled pumpkin seeds


For ras el hanout pumpkin seeds:

  1. Heat oven to 180℃ (350℉).
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white, lemon juice and oil.
  4. Whisk into the egg mixture, the ras el hanout, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper (if using).
  5. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix until all the seeds are well coated.
  6. Spread the pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on the prepared baking tray.
  7. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds have nearly dried out and some appear toasted.
  8. Remove and let cool. They will crisp up as they cool.

Make ahead

  1. Soup can be made and stored in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. To serve, reheat and adjust seasoning before serving as the refrigeration/freezing and reheating will alter the taste of the soup.
  2. Pumpkin seeds can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipes by Ilana Epstein www.wineandchallah.com

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