Soup Joumou

This Haitian squash soup is a classic dish served on New Year's Day to commemorate Haiti's independence from France on January 1, 1804. Read more about this recipe in Why I Follow My Mom's Tradition of Making Haitian Soup Joumou on New Year's Day.

Soup Joumou
Photo: Johane M. Filemon
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
10 hrs 30 mins

Do I Need to Marinate the Meat?

If you're using meat, be sure to allow it to marinate overnight for full flavor. Traditionally, the soup is made with beef, but you can substitute it with goat meat if preferred.

What Type of Squash Should I Use?

The soup is traditionally made with calabaza squash—a winter squash that is also called green pumpkin. If you can't find calabaza, you can use butternut squash.

Can I Make This Vegetarian?

Yes, you can. If you are plant-based, a flavorful vegetarian version can be made by adding homemade epis seasoning to the soup mixture while the vegetables cook.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Epis Marinade & Meat

  • 2 small celery ribs, roughly chopped

  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1 small habanero pepper, roughly chopped

  • 1 scallion, roughly chopped

  • ½ medium onion, roughly chopped

  • ¼ green bell pepper, roughly chopped

  • ¼ yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped

  • ¼ red bell pepper, roughly chopped

  • ¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems only, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 ¼ cups water, divided

  • ½ pound beef or goat stew meat, cut into chunks

  • ½ sour orange or 1 lemon


  • 10 cups water, divided

  • 2 ½ pounds calabaza or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

  • 1 leek, diced and thoroughly washed

  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage

  • ¼ celery stalk, diced

  • ½ medium onion, diced

  • 4 - 5 garlic cloves, diced

  • ½ bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, chopped

  • 2 small sprigs thyme

  • 1 small sprig flat-leaf parsley

  • 3 whole cloves or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1/5 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil (optional; for vegetarian variation)

  • 2 small peeled russet potatoes or malanga root, diced

  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced

  • 1 small habanero pepper (optional; see Tips)

  • 6 ounces penne or a mixture of penne and spaghetti (see Tips)


  1. To prepare marinade and meat: In a blender or food processor, combine celery, garlic, habanero, scallion, onion, green, yellow and red bell peppers, parsley, lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup water. Blend or process until mostly smooth, scraping down the blender or processor as needed, about 1 minute.

  2. Place beef (or goat) in a small bowl. Squeeze sour orange (or lemon) over the meat. Add 1 cup water and stir to coat the meat. Drain off the liquid, then add 1 cup of the marinade to the meat; cover and refrigerate overnight. (Reserve remaining marinade for garnish.)

  3. To prepare soup: Place the meat and marinade in a medium pot. Add 1 cup water; cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed, until the meat is tender but not falling apart, about 45 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, place squash in a large pot and add 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Scoop out the squash with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender (reserve the liquid). Add about ½ cup of the cooking liquid to the blender; blend until smooth. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the squash in the pot. Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Set aside.

  5. Add 4 cups water to the liquid in the pot. Add carrots, leek, cabbage, celery, onion, garlic, cilantro, thyme, parsley, cloves, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. (If going meatless, stir in 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the blended squash, along with the cooked meat and any remaining liquid, potatoes (or malanga), turnip and habanero, if using. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes (or malanga) are beginning to get tender, about 30 minutes.

  6. Add pasta and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and some of the reserved epis, if desired. Serve with Haitian or French bread.


Blender or food processor, large pot


If you choose to add a habanero to the soup, add it whole and do not pierce it—releasing the seeds would cause the soup to be very spicy.

Soup joumou is traditionally made with two types of pasta: typically spaghetti is paired with either rigatoni or penne pasta. Feel free to use just one type or any combo you like.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

227 Calories
5g Fat
38g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups
Calories 227
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 11g 22%
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 764mg 33%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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