Autumn, Winter, Light Meals, Soup

Roasted Parsnip Soup with Pickled Apple

This recipe takes two humble, seasonal ingredients, and transforms them into a delicious bowl of yumminess. Don’t be put off by the pickled apple, as it’s so simple to make – but if you really don't have time, it's not essential. If all you have to hand is a crusty roll, this soup is still a winner!

It's silky smooth, and the hint of tartness from the apples works perfectly with the sweet, earthy parsnip.

I like my soups to have a bit of texture, either in the soup itself or in its toppings and side dishes – so although none of the extras suggested here are compulsory, I'd urge you, at the very least, to serve this gorgeous soup with croutons or crusty bread.

Toasted hazelnuts also add a good crunch, and are a match made in heaven with parsnip and apple. To finish, sage leaves really lift the soup, adding a slight bitterness that helps balance the flavours, while a grating of fresh nutmeg gives a warming final flourish. I hope you enjoy!



For the quick pickled apples

125ml apple cider vinegar

125ml water

50g caster sugar

50ml maple syrup

1 tsp sea salt

2 star anise

½ tsp mustard seeds

5 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

2 apples – I used Granny Smiths – peeled, cored, and diced

For the soup

750g parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks

1 apple – I used a Granny Smith – peeled, cored, and cut into 8 pieces

3 cloves garlic, bashed

A few sprigs thyme

2 tbsp light oil

1 small onion, diced

1 sprig sage leaves

1.5-2 litres vegetable stock

100ml oat cream or your preferred alternative

Fresh nutmeg, grated

To serve

Groundnut oil, for frying

A few sage leaves

½ parsnip, thinly sliced

Small handful toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Fresh nutmeg, grated

Extra virgin olive oil (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas 5.
  2. While the oven's heating up, make your pickled apple. In a small pan, add all the ingredients except the apple. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the diced apples, cover, and set aside.
  3. Place the parsnip on a lined baking tray with the apple pieces, garlic cloves, and sprigs of thyme. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Place in the oven until cooked through and golden – this should take around 20 mins.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a low heat, and add the onion and sprig of sage. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is turning translucent and lightly golden.
  5. When the parsnip, apples and garlic are cooked, remove the garlic from its skin and mash into the pan with the onions using the back of a spoon. Add the parsnip and apples, and remove the thyme and sage sprigs from the pan.
  6. Add the stock and cream, stir to combine, then pour into a blender and blitz until silky smooth. A stick blender will work too, although it won't be quite as smooth.
  7. Return the soup to the pan, check for seasoning, and add a good grating of fresh nutmeg. Keep the soup warm on a low heat while you prepare your toppings.
  8. Heat an inch of groundnut oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil begins shimmering, but before it reaches smoking point, carefully drop in a sage leaf. If it sizzles gently, the oil is ready.
  9. Drop your sage leaves into the oil, fry until crispy, then carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Next, cook your parsnip slices in batches, draining them on the kitchen towel and sprinkling them with a little salt.
  10. When you're ready to serve, pour your hot soup into bowls, and add a couple of small spoonfuls of pickled apple, a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts, your crispy sage leaves and parsnip slices, a grating of nutmeg and a grinding of black pepper. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil to finish, if you like.

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