Spiced parsnip soup

Spiced parsnip soup

One of the few things we are still harvesting down on our allotment is parsnips (well, okay, the only thing at the moment). They are nice and sweet… no surprise, since parsnips get sweeter after a frost and we’ve had plenty of those. Ours are rather mutant-sized compared to the ones at the supermarket, but even those that are 7.5cm (3 inches) at the crown don’t have woody cores.

Day before yesterday I made a mildly spicy parsnip soup that was the best parsnip soup I’ve had. It’s from one of my xmas pressie books, 400 Best-Ever Soups by Anne Sheasby. If all the soups in the book are as yummy as this one, I shall be a happy bunny.

The cream is optional… the soup was delicious without it.

The toasted garlic & mustard seed topping is really nice, but be aware that browned garlic does have a rather distinct, slightly bitter taste. We both loved it, but Mr Thrifty opined that the topping might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you want a more subtle flavour, I think garlic croutons would be a good choice.

You will notice that although I don’t like pureed bean soups, I love pureed vegetable soups. Go figure.

British       American
1 tablespoon   vegan margarine   1 tablespoon
40g   onion, finely chopped   about 1/3 medium
220g   parsnips   1/2 pound
1/2 teaspoon   ground coriander   1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon   ground cumin   1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon   turmeric   1/4 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon   chilli powder   1/8 teaspoon
400ml   vegetable stock   1-2/3 cup
3 tablespoons   vegan cream (optional)   3 tablespoons
to taste   salt and freshly ground pepper   to taste
For the topping        
1 teaspoon   mild vegetable oil   1 teaspoon
1   garlic clove, slivered   1
1 teaspoon   mustard seeds   1 teaspoon

1. Peel parsnips and cut into small dice.

2. Heat a saucepan on low heat and melt margarine. Gently fry the onion and parsnip for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and cook for another minute.

4. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, or until parsnips are tender.

5. Cool slightly, then puree in a blender. Be very careful with hot liquids in the blender… fill no more than 1/3 full and hold the lid on firmly using a folded kitchen towel before switching on. The steam will try to push the lid off the blender. Hot soup being flung around the kitchen is not a good thing!

6. Return soup to the pan and stir in cream if using. Add a little water if it’s too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat gently until just simmering.

7. Whilst soup is reheating, make topping. Heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat and saute garlic and mustard seeds until garlic is lightly browned and mustard seeds start to pop.

8. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with garlic/mustard topping.

Makes 2 servings.


  1. oooh nice touch with the mustard seeds. i seem to only limit myself to curries when it comes to mustard seeds. how very innovative…thanks for sharing hun!

    loves that u grow your own veg. i really do like your idea of thrifty living. after all we only have one planet earth. sustainable living is THE way to go.

    you’re doing such an awesome job:)

  2. Damn you’ve tempted me yet again!!
    I’ve just blogged about your last Soup and I see I’m going to have to make this one as well!!
    I LOVE the sound of the Mustard Seed and Garlic topping!
    I’ve often contemplated about making a Vegan Soup Cook Book……….

  3. denny, aww thanks that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
    Jeni, I hereby volunteer to be a recipe tester for your vegan soup cookbook 🙂

  4. Yum. I love parsnips and I happen to have some…

  5. wow, I’m going through your posts and you are cranking out the soups. I love pureed squash/root veggie soups.

    I made african groundnut stew this weekend from the voluptuos vegan. It’s my favorite, I’m sure I’ll blog about it soon-ish.

  6. I was so excited about your soup that I tried it for lunch. OH…soooooo good! And nice because the recipe easily serves two..I plan on making a much bigger batch later this week because it was such a hit! Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Zucchini Breath – it’s a really nice, simple recipe, try it!
    Bethany – mmm, looking forward to reading about the groundnut stew.
    Amanda – so glad you liked it!

  8. Wow I am glad I stumbled upon your blog this is amazing!

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