Savory, earthy and warming. That’s creamy parsnip and leek soup for you. Parsnips might not be high on the list of the most attractive vegetables but trust me combined with leeks and a few other simple ingredients including a secret one, this soup comes together quickly and with beautiful flavors to boot! If you are looking for a light yet filling meal combined this with some rustic bread and it will want you coming back for more.
It’s January and I am sure a lot of us are trying to eat a little lighter after all the festivities and delicious food that made our way the last couple of months. We still want to eat flavorful food but make it a little healthier, right? This soup uses all in season produce and comes together in a creamy concoction without the use of any dairy. In fact it is all vegan!
Let’s talk Parsnips
Parsnips are hearty root vegetables that look similar to carrots but lighter in color. They taste sweet like carrots but they also have the earthiness which sets it apart. You will find these available in the fall-winter season. Parsnips are prepared similar to carrots – wash them thoroughly, slice the top off and cut into whatever shape you want. Peeling is optional. Parsnips combine beautifully with vegetables like leeks, potatoes, carrots and even fruits like apples and pears.
Some tips for making soup better
Soups get a bad rap at times for being boring and for lack of texture. I am sharing a few tips here that make a big difference
- Roast those veggies – Place your veggies on a sheet pan. Drizzle some olive oil and season it well. You can also do the same by roasting them in a pan on the stove. Roasting brings out the flavor in the vegetables and that really comes through in the final product.
- Season well – Don’t be shy when it comes to seasoning. Be generous with herbs and spices. These will add to the complexity of the flavors.
- Make it chunky – Bigger pieces of vegetables add a better mouthfeel and make it more appealing. Make sure there is plenty of texture by adding silken tofu, topping with seeds and nuts.If you blending everything make sure it a smooth and creamy texture.
Make it a veggie powerhouse
Most of the work for making this soup is done by the oven and the blender. I also had some unused broccoli in the fridge.Hence, decided to include it for making this creamy parsnip and leek soup. I have also tried making this with potatoes and it turned out really good as well. Feel free to add broccoli or any other vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash to your soup. I promise the sharp flavor of our secret ingredient will pair well these mild vegetables.
The secret ingredient to our soup is..
I started off by chopping up the leeks, parsnips, broccoli and garlic chives! Yes, garlic chives brings that garlicky and pungent notes that adds an amazing savory flavor to this soup. Trust me, its worth making that trip to your local grocers or asian store to look for the garlic chives that also go by the name Nira or Chinese Leek. If you are not able to get your hands on these at all, then go ahead and use regular chives.
How to make the creamy Parsnip and Leek soup
I added the chopped garlic chives to the other veggies. Then placed all of them in the sheet pan and seasoned them with salt, pepper, paprika and tossed in some olive oil. They got roasted in the oven for 20-25 mins at 400 deg F. I let the the roasted vegetables cool down before adding them to the blender. To this, I added veggie stock and turned on the blender.
You will soon see the mixture take on a thick consistency. Add more stock or water as needed. Once the mixture is fully blended and all creamy, we are ready to move to the last step. I heated a large sauce pan on the stove (you can also use a dutch oven) , added a little bit of olive oil and a couple of rosemary sprigs along with a bay leaf. I sautéed it for a min to let the oil get infused with the flavors.
Now time to add the blended mixture and add the remaining veggie stock. I mixed it well and added some garlic powder. I also seasoned it a little more and once the soup has nicely warmed up it’s ready to go.
This soup can be served both warm or cold. I believe the flavors comes through better when the soup is on the colder side. Of course, by all means serve it warm on a cold wintry night. Add a few slices of rustic bread or even a grilled cheese to make it a more filling meal.
For the soup it self, top with a splash of olive oil, chopped chives and toasted pumpkin seeds. This dish is a case of “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. You really can’t judge it until you give it a try!
Looking for other recipes? Check out
Parsnip and Leek Soup
- 2 Leeks cleaned and chopped
- 3 cups Broccoli chopped
- 2 Parsnips diced
- 1/4 cup Garlic chives chopped(keep aside 2 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 5 cups Veggie Stock
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 leaf Bayleaf
- 1-2 sprigs Rosemary
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- 1. Heat oven to 400 deg F. Place all the chopped vegetabels and chives in a sheet pan. Add salt, pepper, paprika and half of the olive oil. Mix well.
- Place the sheet pan int he oven and let the veggies roast for 20-25 mins until browned on the top.
- Remove and let it cool down for 20 mins
- Add the roasted veggies to a blender and half the veggie stock. Blend until smooth. Add a little more stock or water if the blended mixture is too thick.
- Heat a medium sized sauce pan. Add olive oil, rosemary, bay leaf and the reserved chives.Saute for a 1-2 mins.
- Add the blended mixture, remaining veggie stock and stir well.
- Add more stock or water if the soup is too thick.
- Check the seasoning and add more if required.
- Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig before serving. Top with olive oil and chives and pumpkin seeds along with some crusty bread for a more filling meal.
- If you are not able to get your hands on garlic chives, try regular chives, arugula or mustard greens to get a bit of the pungent taste along with some garlic added while roasting the vegetables.
- This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated before eating.
- If parsnips are not in season, try substituting with carrots, potatoes or turnips.