Sweet And Spicy Parsnip Soup

After two sweet posts, I bring you a recipe that is not only wintery and delicious but is fairly easy to make and healthier. I know the title of the soup sounds a little strange but that’s what makes this soup special. The subtle sweetness of parsnips and pears, in combination with peppery ginger root, and a garnish  of sweet and sour raisin gastrique gives this soup a nice contrasting flavor. I have heard that parsnips taste like potato and turnip but I don’ think so. They have a distinct sweet flavor of their own with a spicy bite. Their texture after cooking does look like that of a mashed potato because my husband’s first reaction to this soup was, “What….? Potato soup”

If you have been reading my blog for a while , you would have noticed that I have  posted just one potato recipe. I rarely use potatoes  in my cooking because my husband and daughter are potato haters. I had to convince both of them that this soup was made from same parsnips of which they just had chips.



I really wanted them to love this creamy, velvety parsnip soup so I added a spicy kick to balance the sweetness. It is not that spicy where you feel that your mouth is on fire but it definitely brings the  heat of ginger, black peppercorn and red chilli powder in a gentle way. I served the soup with stuffed chicken cutlets on side which I was eyeing to make since I saw it on Amelia’s blog. I had some leftover salad, which I thought to use for stuffing. I horizontally sliced the butterfly chicken breast in two, stuffed with salad, then dipped in gluten free flour before frying. That’s not how Amelia has done. Hers were breaded and stuffed with bean sprouts. Click here for recipe details. I wish I would have done the same for crispy cutlets, but there were no complaints from my dear daughter and husband. They were quite pleased with the meal and agreed that  the parsnip soup would not have tasted better without raisin gastrique and chicken cutlets on side.



Quick notes:

  • Customize this soup to match your taste but I would suggest you to add bay leaf and black peppercorn  to give a bit of sharpness. Apple cider vinegar can also be added for a slight sour flavor.
  • While pureeing  hot parsnips in a blender, take care that you fill it less than half way and cover with dry tea towel before blending at low speed.
  • Pass the puree through a sieve for a fine smooth texture ( mine was done in a vita mix so straining was not required).



adapted from: Globe and mail

Serves: 5

Ingredients for parsnip soup:

  • 900 g  parsnips, chopped
  • 1 celery stick (3/4 cup chopped)
  • 125 g onion, chopped
  • 2 pears, diced
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2″ piece of ginger (heaped 1 tbsp ,chopped)
  • 1 tsp black pepper corn
  • 1.5 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for  raisin gastrique:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat, add bay leaves, onion, ginger and celery. Cook until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add chopped parsnip and diced pears, continue to sweat gently over medium heat until parsnips and pears have started to soften. Stir frequently to prevent browning.
  3. Add the water, black peppercorn and increase heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid reaches a boil.
  4. Reduce heat , cover and simmer until parsnips are very tender for about20 -30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves and puree in a blender or with an immersion stick blender.
  6. Return to a clean pot, adjust thickness as desired with water. Heat to a boiling point and season to taste with salt.
  7. Serve hot with raisin gastrique.

Method to make raisin gastrique:

  1. In a small pot, heat sugar and vinegar over medium heat until sugar is melted and liquid is beginning to simmer gently.
  2. Add raisins, ginger, salt and  red chilli powder. simmer for 5 minutes, until raisins are soft and plump.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. Drizzle a tablespoon into each bowl of hot soup and serve immediately. Enjoy with chicken cutlets on side.


Linked to Allergy free Wednesdays.

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  • comment-avatar
    Blackswan November 21, 2012 (7:04 am)

    Am I the first to arrive today? I came immediately the moment your post came into my email. How cool! I can’t believe there’re people who hate potatoes. My entire family adores potato dishes & I make them often. I can smell your parsnip soup from here, my dear!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 21, 2012 (6:54 pm)

      My husband and daughter do not like potatoes in home cooked food, but they can survive with french fries if they don’t get anything.

  • comment-avatar
    Divya Prakash November 21, 2012 (7:10 am)

    It is a cold n dull day here.. I could have a bowl full of this now..

  • comment-avatar
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb November 21, 2012 (7:33 am)

    If your family loves it that means it was a great taste combination. I myself I must say I am intrigued by the parsnip, pears and ginger here, but my conclusion is that they should fit well together. Seriously your husband and daughter are potato haters? Can’t believe lol

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 21, 2012 (6:50 pm)

      Helene, ginger taste very good in this soup,you would have noticed that I used about a tbsp of it in raisin gastrique. Oh yes, they are serious potato haters, you know how much Indians love aloo tikki and aloo paratha I make these only when someone comes to my house.

  • comment-avatar
    yummychunklet November 21, 2012 (9:11 am)

    I like the sound of this parsnip soup!

  • comment-avatar
    Ansh | Spiceroots November 21, 2012 (11:58 am)

    Oh delicious soup for the winter! Sweet spicy and warm. So comforting.

  • comment-avatar
    Cucina49 November 21, 2012 (1:18 pm)

    This soup is flat-out gorgeous! David and I have really grown to love parsnips and have some coming in this week’s veggie box. Great idea!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 21, 2012 (6:57 pm)

      Do try this complete recipe,I am sure you both will love it.

  • comment-avatar
    Liz November 21, 2012 (5:45 pm)

    Gosh, your soup sounds wonderful…and the garnish makes it restaurant worthy! Your chicken is beautiful, too…great meal!

  • comment-avatar
    Choc Chip Uru November 21, 2012 (7:04 pm)

    Even though Australia is almost in summer the whether doesn’t agree therefore I really want to try this delicious soup 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  • comment-avatar
    anne November 22, 2012 (4:59 am)

    Bal , Potato haters ?! Shame ! lol This parsnip soup looks really appetizing ! Love the spicy sweet flavor …..

  • comment-avatar
    Asmita November 22, 2012 (9:01 am)

    Parsnip soup looks so inviting!

  • comment-avatar
    Alida November 22, 2012 (9:30 am)

    Lovely! This is definitely healthy and very tasty indeed. Parsnips go just so well in soups.

  • comment-avatar
    Swathi November 22, 2012 (10:15 am)

    Looks delicious and easy to put together. Yes I am missing your posts. Congrats on your new domain. Blog looks really nice.

    My hubby too like potato only when they are with others not alone.

  • comment-avatar
    Amelia November 23, 2012 (5:36 pm)

    Hi Balvinder, sorry I’m late cos I was out of town to attend my niece wedding.
    Thanks for the shout out. Your chicken cutlet look very good even thou you didn’t follow my recipe to the dot. You rolled it very neat and tidy. Love your comfort soup, excellent pairing. The raisin gastrique look interesting,something new to me. Will try your soup recipe when I next make this cutlet.

    Love your new site, excellent work. Have a nice weekend, regards. With hugs to you.

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 25, 2012 (8:41 am)

      Hey thanks Amelia, the stuffed chicken cutlets was a great idea and next time I am going to do exactly as you did.

  • comment-avatar
    kitchen queen November 24, 2012 (10:25 am)

    Love your soup dish.

  • comment-avatar
    Nava Krishnan November 24, 2012 (8:44 pm)

    Gorgeous soup and my other half wil love it very much. We are big eaters of potatoes and can’t give it up no matter how much we try. I have never made such a soup but its there on my list for the next round of dinner.

  • comment-avatar
    Ambreen November 25, 2012 (3:24 am)

    Parsnip soup sounds wonderful! And the stuffed chicken cutlets looks so delicious!

  • comment-avatar
    Parsley Sage November 25, 2012 (5:08 am)

    Oooooh! This sounds heavenly! I’m a big fan of parsnips in any form 🙂 The ginger mash up sounds lovely

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 25, 2012 (8:39 am)

      I have tried parsnip in cakes but tried first time in soup and it was lovely.

  • comment-avatar
    Jenn and Seth November 25, 2012 (6:52 am)

    your parsnip soup sounds so delicious, and perfect for a chilly day!

  • comment-avatar
    Soni November 25, 2012 (8:00 am)

    I just love the sound of this soup!I love parsnips and this soup sounds so different and the addition of pears make it very interesting!!Would love to try it for sure 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder November 25, 2012 (8:37 am)

      Do let me know when you try.

  • comment-avatar
    lisaiscooking November 25, 2012 (10:35 am)

    I agree that parsnips have a flavor all their own. Adding a little spiciness to the soup sounds great!

  • comment-avatar
    Marina@Picnic at Marina November 25, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    Hi Balvinder, thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know where you are now. I’ve lost some blogs when they moved from one platform to another.
    Your soup is so warming, and I love the idea of bay leaf and peppers, one of my favorite spices! Those chicken rolls looks lovely too… 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Kitchen Belleicious November 26, 2012 (5:10 am)

    i love pairing sweet and spicy together. in this house its the ultimate combination! How lovely it is in a soup though. It looks amazing

  • comment-avatar
    Vicki Bensinger November 27, 2012 (4:09 pm)

    This sounds velvety and delicious. I’ve never made parsnip soup but enjoy them on their own. Saving this recipe to try later.

  • comment-avatar
    Jennifer Eloff November 30, 2012 (12:26 pm)

    Yum!! So unusual too.

  • comment-avatar
    Tessa@The Domestic Diva January 7, 2013 (8:07 pm)

    I can’t wait to try this…I have a small parsnip leftover i was wondering what to do with…lunch tomorrow! Featuring his recipe on AFW this week…

  • comment-avatar
    Honey Jones February 20, 2013 (10:43 am)

    Made this soup last night with the following modifications: Used canned pears and saved the natural syrup for the “gastrique”. I simmered the syrup down and added a shake of tumeric and two shakes of chili powder – it turned the syrup a beautiful yellow and the chili powder dotted the clear candy. I just had a cup of the soup for lunch; can I tell you that it is better the second day? Magnificently hearty, with a ginger floral sweet taste. This recipe is a winner!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 20, 2013 (5:12 pm)

      Awesome! I like your idea of using canned pears and its juice to make gastrique. I know I had left over from what I made and it was heavenly. Thanks for the feedback!

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    shubha April 7, 2015 (6:38 am)

    I have never cooked parsnips but looking at this soup, I must say I am tempted to try soon:)