Root Vegetable Soup


Inspired by Bon Appetit’s recipe, Potato, Carrot and Parsnip Soup, and the bounty of root vegetables at the Holland Farmers Market, I came up with this variation that really hits the spot on an autumn day.

The original called for two things that Bill can’t eat: butter and half-and-half. I’m always intrigued by the myriad soups that list cream or half-and-half in the ingredients, especially one that already has potatoes. The starch in potatoes helps to thicken the soup so I don’t think the dairy component is necessary. Unless it’s a way to take the edge off a flavor or spice. In the end, I did add rice milk to the soup, but I’m not sure it made much difference. And, I substituted olive oil for butter in the saute process.

This year in Michigan has been a bad one for yellow onions for some reason. Two of the big vendors at the market that usually carry them either completely ran out of onions by August or have very small yellow ones. But I didn’t have any trouble finding good sized red onions, which I tend to prefer most of the time anyway. So I used half red and half yellow.

Also, the original recipe says to puree half the soup and add it back to the remainder but I really thought this combination of vegetables would taste best blended together in a puree, so that’s the way I made it.

Root Vegetable Soup

3 T. olive oil
2 medium yellow onions and 2 medium red onions (about 4 cups), sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
4 large parsnips, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 ½ cups)
32 oz. organic or homemade chicken broth
About 8 medium to small red potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
¼ cup fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme
½ cup rice milk
Salt and white pepper to taste

Sauté onions in large stock pot over medium-high heat until golden, about 15 minutes.

Add carrots and parsnips and cook 10 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes, parsley and thyme.

If I can’t use my own homemade chicken stock, this organic free range chicken broth from Pacific Natural Foods is a good back-up. 

Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

In batches, puree soup in blender, then return to pot. Stir in rice milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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8 responses to “Root Vegetable Soup

  1. I’m always surprised, and a little saddened, by how few people make the most of root vegetables–or even know what they are! When I lived in Chicago, I almost always had to tell the grocery store checkout clerk what the bunch of “white carrots” was so she could find the price code. This looks like a great recipe–lots of onions!–and anything that has parsnips, carrots, and red onions sounds good to me. (Although I will substitute back the half-and-half for the rice milk. I like the finish that a little cream gives to a soup like this.)

    By the way, the photographs are great! They make me want to make and eat this soup right this minute!

    • Thanks for your comment, Pamela! I could see that the cream might be a good finish. Maybe it’s the fat that really makes it “finish”? You just can’t get that with rice milk.

      Isn’t it funny how many people don’t know what parsnips are? I just love them! I will be stocking up soon for the winter. Our farmers market runs through mid-December so I’m lucky to have plenty of opportunities to get my veggies for soup!

  2. I’m going to make this tonight for dinner. Did you peel the red potatoes?
    Many thanks!

    • Beth, tell me how yours turns out!

      I didn’t peel the potatoes because I like the skin, but if I were serving this to guests, I would peel them in the future. Otherwise, you get these little red pieces that look like Bacos. (Remember those?) Also, I think the combination of the red skin of the potatoes and the red onions make the soup a brownish-green color, sort of like the color of peanut butter, which isn’t so pretty. I might try it next time with yellow onions and yellow potatoes, just to see the difference.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I made the soup and it was delicious. I did peel the potatoes and I used half red and half yellow onions but probably not quite as much as you. I added some half and half at the end. This will be a new staple this fall and winter. Thank you!

  4. We are still loving this soup! I’m making it right now. I forgot to say before that I used my cheap hand blender to blend it all in the pot….so much easier than using the blender! Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Glad you’re enjoying it, Beth! I’m clunky with the immersion blender but I know a lot of people who find them easy to use. (And probably don’t end up with soup everywhere.) Enjoy!

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