This Parsnip Soup will blow your mind!! It’s slightly sweet, ultra creamy-dreamy and like a warm hug for your taste buds! Plus, it’s insanely easy to prepare and made entirely in just one pot! Garnish it with a generous sprinkle of crispy bacon, nutty parmesan or caramelized brussels sprouts for the ultimate cozy, yet healthy soup experience!
Continue to read on for comprehensive tips on selecting, storing and trimming fresh parsnips! Plus, easy ways to customize this creamy soup! And, don’t miss the in-depth step by step photos included in the post!
Update: This post was originally published in November 2015. I made updates to the post below to include more information about parsnip leek soup. Plus, I took new photos and added a comprehensive step-by-step photo collage to show you how easy this creamy vegetable soup is to make!
Parsnip soup – a dedication
Hi, friends. It feels like not too long ago I was writing about the loss of my oldest (fur) child. Yet here I am again grieving another huge loss. However, past a certain age, I think we all come to terms with the fact that the world is full of hurt, sadness and loss. In my opinion, it’s how we cherish and remember the ones we’ve lost that matters the most.
With that said, it’s with a heavy heart that I announce the loss of my grandmother (this past Friday).
I will always remember my Grams as the perfect image of glamour and grace. Honestly, I’m pretty sure she was the poster child for those 50’s-style advertisements. You know, the ones with the beautiful “pin up” housewife holding it down in the kitchen. The image of her in an apron, with perfectly curled hair, pulling elegant roasts and homemade pies out of the oven is how I will always remember her. But, she was more than that “image”. She had a quiet strength to be admired, a warmth that could comfort you on your darkest day, and a beauty that was both effortless and timeless. Not only that, she also had fierce kitchen skills. In her day, my Grams could (and would) cook circles around me. And, I will always bow down to her culinary greatness.
My grandmother was all around beautiful and the type of woman you strive to be. Honestly, she was an icon. I may be a little old, but I hope I turn out to be half the lady she was.
With that said, Dotty, this post is dedicated to you. “Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again” -Unknown.
Creamy Leek Parsnip Soup
This soup is slightly sweet, perfectly creamy, ultimately comforting and healthy. It delivers a false sense of decadence, because while it is silky and rich, it’s also good for your waistline (and for your soul). And, I’m not sure about you, but anytime I feel like I’m indulging in something delicious while still fitting in my skinny jeans is always a big win!
This parsnip soup recipe tastes like a subtly sweeter version of potato soup! Or, like a slightly sweeter, thinner version of mashed potatoes! Basically, if you love potatoes and you also like a hint of sweetness, you are going to fall head over heels in love with this parsnip soup! It’s ultra-creamy, deliciously dreamy, superbly cozy and fabulously flavorful. Essentially, it’s everything you never knew you needed in your life!!
And, if you happen to have a picky eater in your house, I urge you to make this soup – it’s the easiest way to sneak in more healthy vegetables!! Simply top the soup with a healthy scattering of salty, smoky bacon! Have them take a bite and try to tell me they aren’t a parsnip-loving convert for life!
Why you will love this recipe
- Quick and easy to prepare – this soup is made entirely in one pot!
- Insanely creamy and comforting!
- Packed with fresh vegetables and nutrients!
- Customizable toppings can take this soup over the top!
What’s parsnip soup made of?
This easy soup recipe is ultra-creamy and oh-so comforting! This recipe relies on 9 simple ingredients, plus a few pantry staples, to create a smooth soup that will keep you cozy all season long!
Ingredients in this soup recipe
- Butter: Use unsalted butter to sauté the vegetables so you can control the level of saltiness in this soup!
- Vegetables: Fresh parsnips, leeks and celery give this soup deliciously creamy body!
- Garlic: Two large cloves of garlic provide a subtle, yet distinctive punchy taste. Make sure you use fresh garlic, not the minced variety sold in a jar!
- Thyme: Two teaspoons of fresh thyme add a touch of delicate herbal flavor.
- Spices & Seasonings: Ground nutmeg, a bay leaf, kosher salt and ground black pepper all provide tons of flavor!
- Wine: Any dry white wine you prefer will work well! Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc are all great options! Or, you can substitute more stock instead!
- Stock: No-sodium chicken or vegetable stock makes up the liquid base of this soup. You can substitute broth if you prefer.
- Rind: One parmesan cheese rind infuses rich flavor into the soup! You can substitute a pecorino rind if you like!
- Cream: ¾ cup of heavy cream provides rich flavor and a decadent mouthfeel. However, you can use half-and-half instead!
- Parmesan Cheese: 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese adds a subtly sharp, yet complex flavor. Use authentic Parmesan Reggiano or aged parmesan for the best taste. And make sure you freshly grate the cheese yourself. That green container of parmesan at the store is lackluster in flavor!
Want to make some alterations or additions to this soup? No problem! I encourage you to make this recipe your own! Get creative – eliminate ingredients you hate (or can’t find) and add ones you love! Below are a few ideas to get you started!
- Potatoes: Substitute some of the parsnips for peeled and diced russet potatoes!
- Fennel: Feeling fancy?! Substitute the celery for an equal amount of chopped fennel!
- Hearty Greens: Need more greens in your life? Try stirring in a bit of Swiss chard! Puree the soup and stir in the chard. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the greens wilt, and then proceed to add the cream!
- Crème fraiche: Looking for a slightly tangy twist?! Try using rich crème fraiche instead of heavy cream!
- Double the recipe: Need to feed more mouths? You can easily double this recipe to feed a larger crowd!
Delicious toppings are (arguably) the best part of any soup! They are a wonderful way to add additional flavor and texture to this parsnip soup! Mix and match or layer on your favorite toppings to create the ultimate cozy soup experience for you and your family!
- Bacon: I highly recommend adding bacon to this soup!! Crispy, salty bacon is the perfect topping!
- Brussels Sprouts: It may sound odd, but roasted brussels sprouts (along with bacon) are my favorite topping for this soup!! They are a delicious crispy and healthy addition to this soup! (Use this recipe for the best crispy brussels sprouts – just omit the peanut dressing!)
- Croutons: You can never go wrong with a scattering of crunchy croutons as a topping!
- Shallots: I’m all about a crispy topping to contrast this creamy soup! Crispy shallots are a wonderful addition!
- Cheese: Can you ever have enough cheese?! Freshly grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago add a nice sharp flavor!
- White Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is a delicious way to brighten up this root vegetable soup!
- Sour Cream: Tangy, thick sour cream is a must if you want an ultra-luxurious mouthfeel!
What are parsnips?
Parsnips are a root vegetable that resembles an ivory carrot. While parsnips are a close relative to carrots, they don’t taste the same. Parsnips are nutty, slightly sweet and buttery in flavor. You can buy these root vegetables year-round; however, they’re at their peak flavor during the colder months. The cool temperatures concentrate the sugars in their cells, causing the parsnips to be sweeter in taste.
How to select, store and trim parsnips?
Need help shopping for parsnips at the store or market? Or, maybe you just need advice on how to properly store and trim those beautiful parsnips? No problem – selecting perfect parsnips is easy once you know what to look for! Plus, storing and trimming them is an absolute breeze!
How to choose parsnips
Not all parsnips are created the same! For the best flavor, follow the simple tips below when selecting your produce at the store!
- Season: While parsnips are readily available year-round, their flavor is best throughout the coldest parts of the year.
- Color: Select parsnips that have an even creamy coloring. Avoid any with dark or black spotting, which can indicate decay or freezer-burn.
- Feel: Look for parsnips that feel firm to the touch and are free of any soft or mushy spots.
- Size: For the sweetest flavor and creamiest texture, choose parsnips that are small to medium in size, about 5 to 10-inches. Larger parsnips have a woody, tough core that isn’t appetizing.
- Tops: If you are lucky enough to see parsnips with the tops still intact, look for tops that appear fresh and vibrant in color, as opposed to wilted and dull.
How to store them
Parsnips are a great storage crop – they will keep well for weeks as long as you select unblemished vegetables from the market, and you store them in the right conditions!
- Remove Tops: Use a sharp paring knife to remove and discard the green tops from the parsnips before storing. If you leave the tops attached, they will draw moisture out of the vegetable.
- Don’t wash: Do not wash or rinse the parsnips before storing.
- Wrap: Loosely wrap the parsnips in a lightly damp piece of paper towel and transfer them to a plastic bag
- Store in cool, dark place: Store the parsnips in a cool, dark place, such as your vegetable crisper drawer. Keep them away from any heat sources!
- Storage Time: Properly stored, parsnips will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Please note, they make keep well for a longer amount of time, depending upon when they were harvested and how long they were kept at the store or market. Always double check your vegetables before using, if they are still firm and void of any blemishes, then they should be perfectly fine to use!
- Freeze: You can also store raw parsnips in the freezer! Rinse, trim, peel and roughly cut the parsnip into 1-inch pieces. Blanch the parsnip pieces for 2 minutes and then immediately shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them well and then store then in a freezer-safe resealable bag in the freezer for up to 8 to 10 months.
How to trim fresh parsnips
Trimming parsnips is an incredibly simple process! However, how you trim and cut parsnips will somewhat impact their flavor. Follow the simple tips below for properly trimming parsnips!
- Trim: Trim and discard both the top and bottom ends of the parsnips.
- Peeling: Small parsnips don’t actually need peeling; however, for aesthetic purposes, I prefer to give them a quick peel. The most flavorful part of the parsnip lies just below the skin, so take care when that you only remove a thin layer of skin when peeling! On the other hand, large parsnips must be peeled! Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to thinly peel and discard the outer layer of skin.
- Core: Large parsnips have a tough woody core running down their center that must be removed before cooking. To remove the core, quarter the parsnip lengthwise. Use a sharp paring knife to cut parallel between the core and the tender outer part of the parsnip. The core curves with the shape of the vegetable, so follow the curve to cut away and discard the core.
- Cutting: You can cut parsnips into thin matchsticks (julienne), slice them on a bias into coins, or dice them into small chunks.
How to make parsnip soup?
This creamy soup is so simple and easy to make! Plus, this recipe only requires 15-20 minutes of hands on preparation, plus everything is made in just one pot!
(Don’t forget to scroll down for the detailed instructions in the complete printable recipe at the bottom of the page.)
- Sauté vegetables: Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add the garlic and seasonings. Cook, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add Liquids: Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the parsnips are very soft.
- Puree: Use tongs to remove and discard the bay leaf and the parmesan rind. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, use a stand blender to puree the soup in batches.)
- Add Cream: Turn heat under soup to medium-low. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan. Cook, stirring, until warm. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve: Garnish with toppings as desired. Serve and enjoy!
Step by step photos for making healthy creamy parsnip soup at home:
What to serve with creamy root vegetable soup?
This parsnip soup recipe is substantial enough to be served as a stand-alone meal; however, you can also serve it as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a lighter entree. Or, try serving this soup in a hearty bread bowl for a delicious, comforting treat!
10 dishes to serve with this soup
- Bread: This soup tastes absolutely amazing served in a bread bowl! Or, you can just serve it with plenty of crusty bread for sopping up the creamy soup!
- Salad: A peppery arugula, hearty kale or Swiss chard salad are all delicious pairing options!
- Peppers: Any type of bell pepper will pair fantastically with this soup! Try sautéed peppers for an lighter side dish or stuffed peppers as a substantial main!
- Brussels Sprouts: Warm, crispy roasted brussels sprouts are my personal favorite! I love to toss them right on top of the soup!
- Roast Vegetables: Your favorite seasonal vegetable (or medley of vegetables) is always a great, healthy option!
- Mushrooms: Roast or saute fresh mushrooms for a meaty (yet meatless) vegetarian side!
- Sandwiches: A crispy, warm panini is an obvious choice for serving with a creamy soup!
- Sausages: Grill or roast a few Italian sausages to add a bit of protein!
- Chicken: Roast chicken is a delicious, healthy protein option!
- Steak: A perfectly cooked steak is a must for all the beef eaters!
Tips for storing and freezing parsnip soup
Food safety is a important when it comes to storing homemade soup! Follow the simple tips below for properly storing and freezing this root vegetable soup!
How to store soup?
Allow the leftover soup to cool completely at room temperature. Transfer the soup to airtight storage containers. Store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
How to reheat leftovers?
You can reheat your leftover parsnip soup two different ways! If your leftover soup thickened up too much during storage, add a bit of stock, broth or milk to thin it if you desire!
- Stovetop: Transfer the leftover portion of soup to a medium saucepan or large pot. Reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm throughout.
- Microwave: Add the leftover soup to a microwave-safe container. Place a microwave-safe lid on top of the container, leaving the lid slightly cracked at the side (forming a vent). Reheat, stirring every 60 seconds, until the soup is warm throughout.
Can you freeze this creamy soup?
This healthy parsnip soup freezes beautifully, which makes it perfect for meal prep or easy heat-and-eat weeknight dinners!
To Freeze: Prepare the soup according to recipe instructions; however, do not add the heavy cream! Remove the soup from stovetop and allow it to cool completely. Transfer the soup to a freezer-safe resealable bag or airtight container. Squeeze out all air, seal tightly, and freeze. The soup will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To Prepare: When ready to use, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight. Add the soup to a medium saucepan, cover and and reheat over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm throughout. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to cook until the soup is warm throughout. If your soup is a little too thick, thin it with a bit of stock, broth or milk. Garnish the soup as desired and enjoy!
I can pinkie promise you will be absolutely smitten with this creamy parsnip and leek soup! Until next time, friends, cheers! To living life to the fullest… and devouring all the cozy soup in the process!
Looking for more easy soup recipes?
If you love this creamy parsnip and leek soup, try one of these delicious recipes next
The best Parsnip Soup recipe👇
Parsnip Soup Recipe
- Large Stockpot or Dutch Oven
- 6-8 sliced Bacon - diced (OPTIONAL - SEE NOTES)
- 3 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 2 Pounds Parsnips – trimmed, peeled and roughly cut into 1’’ pieces
- 2 large Leeks - white & light green parts, rinsed & thinly sliced (about scant 2 cups)
- 2 large Ribs Celery – small dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 large Cloves Garlic – peeled & roughly chopped
- 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
- ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
- 5 1/2 Cups No-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Parmesan Rind - PLUS 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half - or more to taste
- Kosher Salt and Pepper - to taste
Optional Toppings: Cooked & crumbled bacon, White Balsamic Vinegar, Brussels Sprouts Chips, Croutons, Sour Cream, Fresh Parsley or Chives
- Sauté vegetables: In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the parsnips, leeks and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden and softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and nutmeg. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a scant ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add Liquids: Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until wine is evaporated. Add the stock, bay leaf and parmesan rind (if using). Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the parsnips are very soft, about 25-30 minutes.
- Puree: Use tongs to remove and discard the bay leaf and the parmesan rind. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, use a stand blender to puree the soup in batches. SEE NOTES.)
- Add Cream: Turn heat under soup to medium-low. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan. Cook, stirring, until warm throughout, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. (If soup is too thin, continue to gently simmer, uncovered, until thickened or add more cream. If the soup is too thick, thin it out with stock.)
- Serve: Garnish with toppings as desired. Serve & Enjoy!
- Bacon: I highly recommend adding bacon to this soup for added depth of flavor! Cook bacon FIRST!
- Place the pot on the stove, but don’t turn on the heat. Add the diced bacon to the COLD pot.
- Turn heat to between medium to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- You need roughly 3 tablespoons of fat in the pot – either drain fat or add enough butter so you have 3 tablespoons of fat in the pot. Proceed with step 1 of the recipe. Garnish the soup with the crispy bacon and enjoy!!
- Pureeing in batches: If using a stand blender to puree the soup, do not fill the blender more than halfway full. Leave the hole in the blender lid open and loosely cover the hole with a dishtowel – allowing the heat to escape. Blend in batches and pour the pureed soup into a clean saucepan.
- Yield: approximately 9 1/2 - 10 cups
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