Roasted Parsnip Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts

I broke through another layer into joyfulness.
It’s Christmas Eve.
Our work is finally done for the season and all we have left to do for the next few days is relax.
As as I type the snow begins to fall… just in time for a White Christmas.
The last few days have been dreamy and beautiful.
The trees are perfectly flocked. The sun breaks through and
everything shimmers outside.
Even the air is glittery …sparkling with snow dust.

It catches me by surprise…the beauty of it all.
 And for a moment everything stops.
I am awestruck.

The holidays are difficult without the ones we love. Last year was.
But in its gradual way,  loss becomes a little easier to hold.
Somehow our hearts become lighter.  Joyful even.
I don’t understand it, but after loosing someone,
being alive feels more precious.
And moments of beauty, more deeply felt.
Perhaps it’s because loss teaches us
that nothing lasts.
All we have is this moment.
Lately, I find myself whispering up to the trees,
to the birds,
to the snow flakes…
thank you.

To be here in winter,
we must look for the gifts…
even the small ones.

So -to the rough skinned parsnips
for becoming your best,
your sweetest
during the cold
thank you. 
Parsnips have come to be one of my favorite winter vegetables.
They are considered a winter vegetable because their flavors are not fully developed
until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures
for 2 to 4 weeks in early winter.
They are a root vegetable, meaning they grow underground,
like a carrot, similar in shape, but white in color.
Their exterior is quite rough looking, and when you get past the superficial surface, there is something extraordinary about them.  They have a sweetness, an earthiness and a complexity that makes them interesting and memorable.  Kind of like my favorite people.
This soup is fairly easy to make, because you roast most of the ingredients in the oven….
and while this is happening, it gives you time to do other things.
Because Apples and onions roast at different speeds,  they are cut into different sizes to ensure they don’t get over cooked, or undercooked. The apples are cut into big pieces because they will cook the fastest.
The onions are thinly sliced as well as the parsnips… they will help them cook faster.
Some may think this lazy, but I don’t peel the parsnips for this recipe….I just scrub them well under running water. Since the soup will be blended anyway, the outer skin does not bother me too much, and in my mind, I believe I am getting more nutrients. This is not fact,  just something I choose to believe.
But consider this for a moment. Could it be possible that how we feel about food, might actually change the food itself ? It has been observed with water molecules by Dr Emoto, a Japanese researcher. His research shows that water molecules that receive positive feelings, words or intentions from people, actually change in their physical appearance. Its quite remarkable. If this intrigues you…you may find this interesting. Perhaps saying grace before dinner …also makes it more nutritious. Just a thought.
Toss the apples, onions and parsnips in a bowl separately with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
And place them on a parchment lined sheet pan in separate sections.
Place in a 400 F oven and set your timer for 30 mins. Remove the apples and let the onions and parsnips roast for 15-30 more minutes until they are fork tender.
Toast some hazelnuts in the oven as well…for 8-10 mins. Once cooled, crush them.
I put them in a zip lock bag and roll a rolling pin over them on the counter a few times.
Get your stock ready. I used Better than Bouillon Veggie Base. One Tablespoon mixed with 5 cups of water. You could use chicken stock as well.
Blend in batches with the rest of the ingredients…being careful not to fill the blender too high and making sure to hold down lid tight with a kitchen bowl. This will help prevent a messy explosion.
Heat your blended soup on the stove top, sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts
and a drizzle of hazelnut oil.
Thanks for reading! For more Feasting at Home … 


Roasted Parsnip Soup by Sylvia Fountaine
A roasted parsnip and apple soup with toasted hazelnuts

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time: 60
Yield: 4


parsnips:1 ½ lbs

apples:2 med

onion:1 medium white

chicken or veggie stock:5 C

half and half:½ C

cardamon:½ teaspoon

white pepper:¼ teaspoon

Toasted hazelnuts:¼ C

hazelnut oil (optional) :1 teaspoon


Pre heat oven to 400 F

Cut apples into thick 1 inch wedges. ( its ok to leave skin on)
Wash and scrub parsnips. You can peel if you want to… but I leave the skin on. Slice into thin 1/4 inch slices.
Slice the onion into to 1/4 inch slices.
Line a baking sheet w/ parchment.
Toss apples in a med sized bowl with drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt.
Place on one side of the baking sheet.
Toss Onions with olive oil and salt. place in the middle of the baking sheet.
Toss parsnips with olive oil and salt and place on the far side baking sheet….keeping them separate.

I do this because the apples will cook faster. You could use separate baking dishes if you want.

Place in the oven and check in 1/2 hour. Apples should be very soft, remove them. Mix the onions and parsnips and bake for another 15-30 mins until onions are translucent and parsnips are fork tender.

Blend apples, parsnips, onions in blender with stock and 1/2 and 1/2 in batches, being careful to hold the blender lid on tight with a kitchen towel. The heat will often cause the lid to fly off and create a huge mess. And always remember to start on low speed and then increase the speed gradually. Puree until smooth. I use a plastic spatula to scrape down the sides while the blender is going….this can be disastrous if you are not practiced….so be extremely careful. Place in soup pot over low heat. Add white pepper, cardamom, salt.

Pour into individual bowls and garnish with toasted crushed hazelnuts, a drizzle of hazelnut oil and a spring of thyme.

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