Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley

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Green is the color of Ireland, which you understand immediately if you’ve ever been there or even flown over it. Looking over the land from several thousand feet up, one cannot but be struck by the patchwork of vivid shades of green below. Or driving through the countryside, especially in Western Ireland, the hills practically glow when the sun peeks through breaks in the clouds.

Parsnip Parsley Soup

We’ve been experimenting with parsnips lately, and on a whim tossed a large bunch of chopped parsley into a simmering pot of parsnip soup. Parsnips are naturally sweet, as are leeks, which are also part of this soup. The crisp bitter of the parsley delivers a contrast and balance to what might otherwise taste a little too one-dimensional.

And the color! Such a beautiful, vibrant green. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, and a celebration of all things Irish.

Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

Parsnips can sometimes have tough, fibrous cores, especially if they are late in the season. If as you are cutting your parsnips you find the cores to be especially tough, cut them out and discard.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced lengthwise, cleaned, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 strips lemon zest, 1 x 2 inches each
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley (reserve a little for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pepper to taste

Method

1 Heat butter in a 4 to 6 quart pot on medium heat. Add the chopped leeks, toss to coat with the butter. When the leeks are heated enough so they begin to sizzle in the pan, lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until soft, but don't let the leeks brown.

parsnip-parsley-soup-method-1

2 Add the parsnips and olive oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the salt. Add the stock and water. Add the strips of lemon zest. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the parsnips are completely tender, at least 30 minutes.

parsnip-parsley-soup-method-2

3 Remove and discard the lemon zest. Add the parsley. Purée the soup until smooth, either by using an immersion blender or by working in batches with a stand-up blender. If using a standing blender, fill the bowl no more than halfway, hold the cover on the blender bowl, and start blending at the lowest speed. Return the puréed soup to the pot.

4 Stir in lemon juice and add more salt to taste, if needed.

Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, a little olive oil, and chopped parsley or chives.

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Links:

Roasted parsnip and apple soup from Guilty Kitchen

Swiss chard and parsnip soup from Chocolate and Zucchini

Carrot Fennel Parsnip Soup from Mostly Foodstuffs

 

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Showing 4 of 19 Comments

  • Nancy Joy

    I made this to use up the CSA parsnips. I don’t even like parsnips but the soup was so delicious! Thanks, Elise.

  • Eleni

    I made this soup last night and it was amazing – we devoured it. Had the leftovers for lunch today. I followed the recipe exactly, using veggie stock. So simple and so full of flavor. Thank you!

  • Megan

    This was delicious! I am vegan (swapped the butter for oil and used veggie stock) and I made this tonight for St. Patty’s Day dinner party. We all loved it, even my 1.5 yr old! Excellent w/ a good Irish Soda bread… ;)

  • Lisa R

    I made this soup last night and everyone LOVED it! We had a vegetarian over, so did veggi broth, and everything else the same. We were all so amazed with the silky texture. mmm; I can’t wait until lunch when I can eat leftovers. Thanks Elise!

  • farmer jane

    Looking forward to trying this recipe out. I love green soups! (Nettle soup is one of my faves). One question–could you indicate SIZE of leeks? I have one gigantic leek in my fridge right now, and I’ll probably just use that one, as it is easily the size of three “normal” leeks that we would grow on the farm. Thanks so much!

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