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Bouktouf, Algerian vegetable soup {vegan, gluten-free}

Bouktouf, an Algerian soup, is perfect for Meatless Mondays. #vegan ThePerfectPantry.com

When readers of my old soup blog asked me for bouktouf, I winced just a little bit. The recipe for this Algerian vegan soup calls for two bunches of cilantro, and I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. It turns out that the bright orange color isn't the only surprising thing about this soup; the addition of a large amount of lemon juice tames the flavor of the cilantro, in a good way, and gives the soup a lovely freshness.

Here's the original recipe from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, word for word (because nobody could improve on it). I halved the recipe and ended up with five cups of soup, which I cooked in a Dutch oven. This soup just might be the perfect antidote to holiday overindulgence.

Bouktouf, an Algerian vegetable soup, will be a hit with cilantro lovers. #vegan ThePerfectPantry.com

Bouktouf, Algerian vegetable soup

From the pantry, you'll need: extra virgin olive oil, onions, tomato paste, lemon, kosher salt.

Recipe from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, as it appeared on soupchick.com. Serves 6-8.


1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I used Idaho potatoes)
3 large zucchini, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
Juice of 4 lemons, or to taste
2 bunches cilantro, coarsely chopped, stems included
Salt (I used 1 tsp kosher salt)


Heat the oil in the bottom (where else?) of your soup pot over medium-high heat. The oil should form a deep puddle. Add the onions and sauté them slowly, longingly, until they are limpid, about 15 minutes.

Add the potatoes, zucchini, and tomato paste. Just barely cover with water, turn the heat to high, and cover. Once brought to a strong simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low.

When the potatoes are very soft and the zucchini has given itself to the soup, about 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and cilantro, and season to taste with salt. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup to a smooth consistency; alternatively, working in batches, pureé in a regular blender until smooth. The soup should shimmer in the ambient light.

Serve hot or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More vegan soups for meatless meals:
Meat-free split pea soup, from The Perfect Pantry
Curried butternut squash and apple soup, from The Perfect Pantry
Zuppa vegana: Italian potato, bean and kale soup, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Lentil soup with spinach, tomatoes and cumin, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Bouktouf, an Algerian vegetable soup, packs in loads of cilantro. #vegan #meatlessmonday ThePerfectPantry.com

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I thought for sure there would be carrots or sweet potato given the orange hue to this soup. I am a cilantro lover so this is perfect for me, and it's fun to read... "the zucchini has given itself to the soup." :)

Janice, I'd really recommend The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups as a great read, not just a recipe book. The stories he tells about how each soup came into his life, and how he started his soup business, make a great read.

I love to hear that you made this and liked it despite the cilantro. Sounds like a great soup and I am buying that book right now!

Kalyn, I surprised myself! But if you make this soup, you'll see that the flavor of the cilantro changes in it, and I really liked it.

I love the book! After reading your post I got it out and reread lots of parts and noticed more recipes to try. Now, what about that 1 cup of olive oil? Yes, it's in the book, but, really?

Susan, I halved the recipe, so the half cup didn't seem outrageous. This guy knows his soup, so you have to trust his recipes, at least the first time!

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