Did you happen to catch this article about so-called ‘ugly’ vegetables? In 2015, when we all know how important sustainable living is, about how many children die every year from malnutrition, how can we justify throwing perfectly good food away because it isn’t aesthetically pleasing. The poor parsnip, tossed aside for not being all that pretty. This got me thinking about Christmas, too. A time for festivities, family and most importantly food. But while we indulge this month, it is important to not let anything go to waste.
The first time I made this parsnip soup, it was as a result of having nothing else in the house to cook with. Sometimes those are the best dishes we produce. Sweet parsnips make a wonderfully creamy soup without any need for the heavier potato or even cream. With very little effort, the consistency is velvety smooth and makes a fine dish to counter the unhealthier options we enjoy over the Christmas period. I serve this soup with a goat cheese crostini topped with caramelised walnuts. The salty tangy cheese is a great foil to the sweeter parsnip. A brie and fig crostini would also be perfect. Use what you have, keep it simple and you can’t go wrong!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
500g parsnips (and carrots if desired), cut into chunks
350ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Fry the chopped onion until softened but still pale.
- Add the parsnips – and carrots if using – to the pan along with the bay leaves, milk and stock.
- Let the soup simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the parsnip is very soft.
- Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and season more if necessary.
- Blitz the mixture in a blender or using a hand blender until completely smooth and velvety.
- Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs if you have some – I had some sage lying around and fried some leaves in salted butter to garnish.
For the crostini, lightly grill one side of your bread until golden at the edges. Turn, drizzle with olive oil and top with the cheese. Grill until bubbling and slightly golden. Top with caramelised walnuts.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.