Parsnips are an anomaly. When roasted, they are sweet and slightly spicy. They are just as versatile as carrots. And after comparing their nutritional makeup using nutritiondata.com, they are richer in vitamins and minerals than carrots. So why aren’t they as ubiqutous as their close relative, the carrot? We have no idea, and unfortunately, parsnips often languish in produce sections in favor of their more popular and brighter relative.
Marnina and I recently paid homage to the parsnip when we picked out a parsnip soup recipe that we found online. We have been on a soup rampage recently, and have come to love thick, creamy soups rather than the typical liquid-y soup. We have made many of these creamy soups recently (carrot soup and autumn gold squash soup), and we had a feeling the parsnip soup would be a hit. The parsnip did not fail us. We absolutely adored the sweetness, nuttiness, subtle spiciness supplied by the parsnip, as well as the flavor added by the roasted garlic head. We also thought the sliced mushrooms and green onions that were added at the end provided a perfect final touch.
We especially liked this recipe because it has all-natural ingredients. Other than the chicken broth that we used, there were no preservatives, artificial flavorings, processed ingredients, or anything else that was not grown from the earth. And using all natural ingredients can be especially hard when cooking for an IBD diet, especially when a recipe calls for raw food or unpeeled produce.
As a side note, if you have IBD, be careful how much creamy veggie or fruit soup you consume – when you puree a veggie or fruit it can be difficult to gauge how much of the actual produce you are consuming. Marnina capped her limit to 1 cup of the soup per meal because the fiber content would otherwise add up and irritate her intestines. Soup is a perfect appetizer to any meal though because it provides some liquid nourishment, and therefore helps prevent you from over-eating.
Pictures below, followed by recipe:
Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 head garlic
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
- 4 to 5 cups No-Chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
- 1/2 cup great northern beans
- 6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 green onion, sliced thin
- salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of aluminum foil, spritz it quickly with a 1/2-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. Place it on the baking sheet with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
2. Heat a non-stick saucepan and cook the onion until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
3. Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1)place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary (preferred), or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
4. Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small non-stick skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)
Variation: For a cream of mushroom-type soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.