A rich, creamy and delicious vegan parsnip soup, topped with crunchy croutons and toasted fennel seeds.
DH and I are polar opposites when it comes to soup. I love it but he says it’s a waste of vegetables and he’d rather eat something else. As a result, I don’t make nearly as much soup as I would really like to.
Fortunately, my Mum loves soup even more than I do, so when she comes to visit, I have a terrific excuse to make soup. Especially if, as happened recently, she comes to visit while DH is away.
But what kind of soup…?
In preparation for her arrival, I got out a big pan ready to make some lovely parsnip soup. I was all set, and raring to go. I had a bag of parsnips, onions, celery and vegetable stock at the ready. But I hesitated. Standing there, staring at the vegetables on the counter, I struggled to decide what seasonings and flavourings might make their way into the pot.
Curry spices are good with parsnips, but it’s a combination I use pretty regularly. I wanted something a bit different. I considered making a batch of my parsnip soup with pears, ginger & coconut, but we didn’t have any pears. So, I turned to my trusty copy of The Flavour Thesaurus to help me create a delicious parsnip soup.
The Flavour Thesaurus
Have you come across this book before? It’s truly a remarkable volume, and one of the most useful and well-used kitchen books I own. It lists dozens, maybe even hundreds of ingredients, and tells you all of their complimentary flavours, classic pairings and so on. In this instance it provided pages of suggestions for additional ingredients that would work well alongside the parsnips. I ultimately plumped for fennel, with its subtle aniseed flavour, and some peas to highlight the sweetness and add a fresh, green note to the parsnip soup.
The soup simmered away while I got on with some other chores, and it filled the house with a rich, sweetly savoury aroma. I could hardly wait to try it. Once blended into smooth and creamy unctuousness, I knew that a few crunchy croutons and toasted fennel seeds would be the perfect garnish.
Mum and I ate this soup for lunch on the first day of her visit. We sat together at the kitchen table, each enjoying a bowl of thick and delicious, fragrant parsnip soup. “How’s the soup?” I asked.
“I love it!” she replied.
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Creamy parsnip & pea soup with fennel seeds
- 700 g parsnips
- 1 medium onion
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 750 ml vegetable stock (approx. 3 1/2 cups)
- 125 g frozen peas (1 cup)
- 200 ml non-dairy milk (1 cup)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the croutons (optional)
- 1 slice wholemeal bread
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Peel the parsnips, wash, and cut into 1.5-2cm chunks. Set aside.
- Peel and dice the onion. Trim the celery and chop into small pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Add the prepared parsnips and the fennel seeds to the pan. Stir well and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are very soft.
- Add the frozen peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add the non-dairy milk and blend the soup until very smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.
To make the croutons
- Cut the crusts from the bread and discard. Cut the bread into 1cm strips, then cut on an angle to create diamond shapes.
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Test a small offcut of the bread - if it sizzles immediately when it hits the pan, the pan is hot enough. Add the bread diamonds and fry for 15-20 seconds before turning over and adding the fennel seeds.
- Fry for another 10-15 seconds until the croutons are crisp and brown on both sides and the fennel seeds are toasted. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle a few croutons and toasted fennel seeds over.
I’m linking this delicious soup up with CookBlogShare.