Parsnip soup: a recipe for creamy parsnip and apple soup

This parsnip soup makes the most of two of the harvest's finest foods. Cook up a big batch of this root veg soup, sweetened with a bit of tangy apple – it freezes well too for later

parsnip soup recipe from National Trust
(Image credit: National Trust)

Is there a dish more warming and autumnal than parsnip soup? We think not and certainly look forward to a big steaming bowl of it after a chilly walk. This recipe doesn't just make the most of one of the season's finest pieces of produce, but includes fresh apple, too.

If you have a veg garden, from late autumn start to dig up your crop of parsnips, to combine with apples picked from the orchard in this sweet, creamy and velvety parsnip and apple soup. It really is home grown harvest food at its best.

Check out the simple recipe below, then for more food ideas, recipes and meal inspiration, head over to our hub.

  • Specials thanks to the National Trust for sharing this parsnip and apple soup recipe with us. 

How to make parsnip and apple soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 200g chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 800g parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 300g apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 10g vegetable bouillon
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 80ml cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 10g fresh sage, finely chopped

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic and nutmeg and sauté for 5–10 minutes until softened. 

2. Add the parsnips and the apples and sauté for another 5–10 minutes. 

3. Dissolve the bouillon in a litre of boiling water and add to the pan. Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Add enough additional water to cover the vegetables and bring back to the boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the parsnips and apples have softened. 

4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then blitz with a stick blender until the mixture is smooth. Add enough water to achieve a smooth consistency and season with salt and pepper. 

5. Place the oil and sage in a saucepan over a medium heat and continue to warm through until the sage begins to sizzle. 

6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool. Drizzle the oil over the parsnip soup when you serve. Why not have a go at baking your own focaccia to dip in the velvety soup – yum!

Other ways to cook parsnips

We love this soup and it freezes well if you make a big batch to use up your harvest. But, if you have loads of parsnips and want more ideas on how to use them, then here are a few:

  • Curried parsnip soup – another tasty soup recipe with warming curry powder. Just fry onions, garlic, ginger and parsnips with two tablespoons of curry powder before adding stock and boiling until the flavours have infused. Blend to your desired consistency.
  • Parsnip and blue cheese nut roast – parsnip is a delicious way to bulk out a nut roast. We make ours with diced and roasted parsnip, roast chestnuts, hazelnuts, onions, mushrooms and blue cheese. A few breadcrumbs help hold it all together and a bit of sage is the perfect herb for added flavour.
  • Parsnip crispshomemade crisps feel a little less naughty than scoffing a whole sharing bag. They are easy to make, but you need good slicing skills.

Tips on harvesting parsnips

Parsnips will be ready to harvest from late autumn until the end of January. They can be left in the ground and lifted a few roots at a time as required. In fact, they will have a sweeter flavour if left in the ground until the frosts as this converts the starch in the roots into sugars - even better for your parsnip soup recipe.

Loosen the soil around the roots with a fork before lifting to avoid damaging the roots. 

If you don't  want to leave them in the ground then store, your parsnips in damp soil, peat or sand, in a cool place, such as a shed, garage or greenhouse. 

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