With a good blender, puréed root vegetables make a satisfying creamy soup with nary a drop of dairy in sight. This recipe combines parsnips and turnips with some aromatics to create a dish that you’ll enjoy year round, but particularly on these early spring days when you “in season” vegetables are scarce.
About a year and a half ago we had to cut down a maple tree in our tiny Washington, DC area urban backyard because it was crowding out everything else and threatening to disturb our foundation. In its place, my husband had a small raised bed garden created and at the same time turned the patch of grass next to our row house into a second bed. Even though I grew up in a gardening family, I confess that I really had not paid much attention and I also had no idea how to maximize such a small space. I ordered seeds last spring without any real plan and in my enthusiasm, over planted and ended up creating a bit of a jungle!
But this year, I vow to do better… and I’m going to share my progress with you!
Last weekend (April 1) I planted the side bed with nice neat rows (already an improvement over last year!) with seeds for parsnips, radishes, onions, lettuce, arugula, carrots, kale, beets, and bok choi. Then I added snap peas strategically so they can climb the trees that we were not allowed to completely remove per our HOA requirements as well as the fence. Be sure to follow along here for updates on my urban gardening adventures… to start, here is what it looked like this week:
The best part of this gardening adventure (aside from the delicious food, of course!) is that my home office is on the ground floor of our narrow, three-story house, and I have positioned my desk to be right next to the side window, so as I am working on the blog or corresponding with my clients, I can just turn my head and see it.
Parsnips and turnips
I’ve always made an attempt to eat seasonally, and even more now that I have some of my own home grown produce. But this is a pretty sparse time of year, as evidenced by the pictures above of my freshly planted garden! Fortunately, last year we planted some parsnips and I learned that they could actually be “stored” in place and left in the ground all winter. Finally, last week we pulled the rest of them in order to prepare the beds for this year’s planting. I also got a pound of turnips in my weekly local produce delivery and decided to experiment with ways to combine the two into a soup that would be more interesting than either would make alone.
Notes on special diets and ingredients
I prefer to make blended soups like this with homemade bone broth for the added nutritional benefit, but if you want to make this recipe vegan, simply use a vegetable broth or plain water in place of it.
If you don’t want to make your own homemade broth, be sure to check out the options I reviewed in this post.
“Mace” may be an unfamiliar ingredient but it is a great spice to have in your arsenal when you are on the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). It comes from the webbing that surrounds nutmeg and is compliant on the elimination phase of the protocol. Along with the bay leaf, it has a floral essence that adds interest and complexity to what would otherwise be a relatively bland soup. With all spices, be sure that you are getting a brand that is certified to be gluten-free, such as this one.
You can find mace, and other AIP essentials, at the online store made specifically for us, ShopAIP! If you haven’t tried them yet, be sure to use the discount code SHOP on your first order.
Now, let’s get on to the recipe! The parsnip chips are a completely optional garnish, but I think you’ll find they are worth the small amount of extra effort. And if you have extra, they make an enticing crunchy snack all on their own.
Creamy parsnip and turnip soup recipe
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Use vegetable peeler to cut part of one of the parsnips into long very thin strips, resulting in about 1 cup of strips. Toss these strips with a tablespoon of the olive oil and toss with about ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy and nicely browned but not burned, while you are preparing the soup.
- Cut the parsnips into chunks about 1-2 inches in size. Dice onion and chop celery stalk.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add parsnips, onion, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly caramelized.
- Add garlic, bay leaf, and mace and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add turnips, broth, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover and cook on simmer until everything is very tender (about 20-25 minutes).
- Transfer to a high speed blender or use an immersion blender and puree until very smooth.
- Taste and add additional salt, if desired.
- Garnish with parsnip chips, chopped chives, and a drizzle of olive oil to serve.
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