There appears to be some debate as to whether parsnips are nice or not. Apparently, some people detest them in the way one can hate Marmite. This was strange to me. I like parsnips. I like Marmite. Don't love 'em, don't hate 'em. Anyway, because you're still reading, I'm going to assume you are in the 'I like parsnips' camp (officially titled Camparsnip and coming soon to a field near you).

Whilst parsnips are delicious simply roasted with olive oil, their earthiness pairs extremely well with Winter-Soup-Usual-Suspects carrot, celery, leek, thyme and bay leaves. Parsnips' inherent sweetness is enhanced by a dash of something creamy and sweet; I've gone for soya cream here - a recent and delicious discovery. All that remains is a garnish. I like to add a contrasting crunch to soup, for example, croutons or slivered almonds, but my go-to is quickly toasted, golden-brown pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Winter Parsnip Soup

Serves 6
Prep time:
10 mins
Cook time:
1 hour


4 tbspextra-virgin olive oil
1 largecarrot, diced
1 largeleek, white and green parts, diced
2 stickscelery, diced
3 sprigsthyme, leaves only
2fresh bay leaves
3 largeparsnips, peeled and chopped (approx 750g peeled weight)
500ml/2 cupsunsweetened plant-based milk e.g. soy
1½ tspfine salt
½ tspblack pepper
60ml/¼ cupsoya cream (optional)
  To serve:
15g/2 tbsppumpkin seeds
15g/2 tbspsunflower seeds
 thickly sliced wholemeal toast


  1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Fry the carrot, leek and celery for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the parsnips, plant-based milk and 1 litre/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salt, pepper and soya cream (if using).
  5. Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Transfer everything to a blender and blitz to a smooth, creamy soup. This could be done with a stick blender in the saucepan but will take a long time to achieve a smooth consistency.
  7. Heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Toast the seeds for 5-6 minutes, shaking occasionally, until golden brown and aromatic.
  8. Add a little water to the soup if it's too thick. Serve into bowls topped with an extra splash of soya cream, a good grind of black pepper and some toasted pumpkins and sunflower seeds.

Optional substitutions:

Listed ingredient Can be swapped for
Fresh bay leaves Dried bay leaves
Fresh thyme ½ tsp dried thyme