The holidays are over, and we want to start the new year on the right foot. I plan to incorporate more intermittent fasting into my week, and when I eat, it will include whole grains, lean proteins, and lots of vegetables. One way to ensure we eat healthily is to have lots of vegetable and grain-based soups available for lunch when we need a quick meal, so I declared Mondays as soup day. I will prepare a couple of soups at the start of each week, at least during the colder months. This past week I made my cabbage roll soup with ground turkey, a new lentil soup that includes kale and farro, and this roasted parsnip soup with garlic. All the soups were delicious, but this creamy parsnip soup turned out even better than I anticipated.
Parsnips are not a vegetable that I often use in my kitchen. Still, over the holidays, I made parsnip puree to accompany our holiday prime rib meal, along with a couple of other sides. The puree was delicious, with an earthy sweetness that we all enjoyed. I decided then and there that I had to develop a few more recipes for parsnips! If you are unfamiliar with parsnips, it is a root vegetable related to carrots and parsley. Parsnips are a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Resembling a white carrot, it is a long tuberous root with cream-colored skin and flesh. Left in the ground to mature, it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. Parsnips are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and other essential micronutrients. If asked what parsnips taste like, the flavor is slightly sweet with an earthy nuttiness. Parsnips have more starch than carrots, so they lend themselves well to creamy soups, as no cream or another thickener is needed.
Parsnips can also be baked, sautéed, steamed, mashed or pureed, roasted, used in stews, and fried, like most root vegetables. I made a big container of roasted garlic before the holidays started, so I included some roasted cloves in this soup, giving it a complex flavor. I found that the sweetness of the roasted garlic paired exceptionally well with the parsnips. Next, I roasted the parsnips to make the soup, which caramelized their natural sugars and enhanced their flavor. Next, I used my Vitamix blender to puree the soup, which gave it a silky, creamy texture. To serve my soup, I added a dollop of homemade basil pesto I swirled on top and a sprinkling with finely chopped toasted walnuts. The flavor of this soup develops as it sits, so it is even better the next day. Feel free to double this recipe to portion and freeze the soup to enjoy at a future date.
Deborah Mele Revised 2023
- 1 Large Head of Garlic
- 2 Pounds Parsnips
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 4 Cups Good Quality Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 4 Tablespoons Basil Pesto
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Toasted Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the outer leaves from the head of garlic, then using a sharp knife cut off the top part of the garlic head leaving the cloves exposed.
- Wrap the head first in parchment paper, then in aluminum foil, and place in a small oven-proof dish.
- Bake the garlic for 40 minutes until tender and aromatic, then set aside to cool.
- Peel the parsnips and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Place the parsnips in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, and season with the oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the parsnips on top.
- Roast until the parsnips are fire tender and beginning brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool the parsnips for 10 minutes, then place in a blender along with the broth.
- Squeeze the softened garlic into the blender, and puree everything until creamy smooth.
- Pour the soup into a pot and heat until warm.
- Stir in the lemon juice, then taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Serve the soup warm with a spoonful of pesto swirled in and sprinkle on the toasted walnuts on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 563mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g