Pear & Parsnip Soup

Parsnip Soup

It’s funny how people have this thing about parsnips, like it’s one of the world’s most unrecognized (and despised) root vegetables, yet when you mention a recipe with parsnips people say oh! I love parsnips! I figured I’d best get this recipe in before the imminent onslaught of butter, sugar and mincemeat.

This was my contribution (along with all of the photos!) to the latest Soup Sisters Cookbook, this one geared toward families and getting your kids into the kitchen. Soup is, after all, the ultimate starting point for the beginner cook – measurements don’t need to be precise, and you can play around with ingredients that are in season or whatever you happen to have in your fridge, and if veggies were wrinkly going in, no one will know. I’m a particular fan of soups you can purée and sip at your desk or take in your insulated to-go cup when you’ve had altogether too much coffee. And you’ll feel like you’re winning at this grown-up thing when you’re driving around with sippable parsnips in the cup holder of your car.

I don’t have any more photos of this one, but I’m not convinced pictures of peeled, chopped parsnips would do much to inspire you to make this soup anyway. If you’re not quite sure which ones parsnips are, they look like large white carrots, tapered a little more aggressively (see blurry background photo, above). They’re sweet and nutty and are fantastic in soup with sweet-tart apples or pears, make delicious oven fries, and I particularly like them in a big batch of roasted veggies, along with sweet potatoes and rutabaga. Yes, I am officially a grown-up.

Pear and Parsnip Soup
Pear and Parsnip Soup

Pear (or Apple) & Parsnip Soup


November 19, 2017


canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 large ripe pear or tart apple, cored and chopped

2 tsp fresh thyme

4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream or half & half

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 4–5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2Add the parsnips, pear (or apple), thyme, and stock along with 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20–30 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft.

3Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, and purée the soup right in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender, or carefully transfer it in batches to a blender to purée until smooth. Serves 4–6.


About Julie

12 comments on “Pear & Parsnip Soup

  1. Jennifer
    November 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Yum! I will be making this tonight…and it reminded me I have a pear and parsnip cake recipe I love so much….better make sure I save enough parsnips to make both!

  2. Wendy
    November 21, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I tried this soup today in a Vitamix. It turned out great! Quite sweet. What would I pair this
    Soup with as a main dish? Thoughts?
    When using a Vitamix you always sauté the vegetable and onions/garlic .
    I would use only 2-3 cups of Veggie broth next time. I will let you know how it
    turns out.
    Thank you for the great Recipe

  3. Michael Lindsay
    November 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Parsnips and any kind of fruit are high in sugar content. How can this recipe be altered to accommodate diabetics?

    • Julie
      November 24, 2017 at 8:44 am

      You could leave out the fruit for sure.. and really, soup can be made with any kind of vegetables, whichever suits your needs best!

  4. Anonymous
    November 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Love your BEAVER TAILS!!!!!

  5. Kelsey
    November 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Yum! I love parsnips! This soup sounds amazing!

  6. Lori
    November 25, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I thought of parsnips as humble until I went to a local grocery store yesterday and looked at the price. Zoinks! I bought a cauliflower instead. Any tips on where to get a good deal on produce while DJ’s is closed for winter?

  7. Jen
    December 6, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I just made this for lunch today. So very yummy! I loved the sweet and savory element to the soup! I added a sprinkle of smoky chipotle chili on top to balance the sweet. This would definitely be a $12 bowl of soup in a restaurant. And so comforting! Thanks Julie!

    • Julie
      December 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

      So glad you liked it Jen! Brilliant idea with the smoky chipotle!

  8. Margot Johnston
    April 20, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    My parsnips were smallish and at the end of their storage life so I left out the 2 cups of water and used 2 pears but I still found it a bit bland after adding the cream so I put a little lemon juice in it then garnished with tiny pieces of preserved lemon and a swirl of lemon-infused oil. Yum!. Next time, I’ll use only 3 cups of broth for a thicker soup. The oil with swirl so beautifully on the firmer surface.

    • Julie
      May 1, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Sounds wonderful!

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