Vegan “Cream” of Cauliflower & Parsnip Soup
I adore soup! Preparing it, eating it, creating new flavors... love it! It’s comforting, easy to make and often inexpensive. My husband, especially, is a big fan of the standard “cream of” soups I’ve been serving. Recently, I decided to tweak the recipe a bit: increasing the nutritional value and health benefits, beginning with the addition of parsnips!
Parsnips are relatively low in calories, and have high levels of potassium, manganese, folate and vitamins C, K and E. Once cooked, they purée easily and have a velvety texture, which replaces the need for actual cream or milk products in the soup. This in turn, reduced calories and is beneficial to lactose-free and anti-inflammatory diets. By substituting vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and olive oil in place of butter, and cornstarch instead of flour, my original recipe has been converted into a vegan one.
Cauliflower is also loaded with folate, vitamins C and K, while the onion and garlic are known to fight infections, heart disease and cancer. All three are consistently listed as anti-inflammatory ingredients. When combined, this already delicious soup is transformed into a nutrient-packed meal!
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 large parsnips, peeled and trimmed
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (add as needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat half of the olive oil on medium heat then sauté the onions until translucent and softened, sprinkling with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the remaining half of the olive oil and then toss in the chopped cauliflower and parsnips, seasoning with a bit more salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, for about 5 to 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to become softened a bit, not cooked all the way through or browned though. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth. Whisk together 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons cold water, in a small but separate bowl, then slowly pour into the simmering soup. Stir until the mixture thickens slightly. Partially cover with a lid and increase the heat to medium high, bringing it to a simmer. Continue to cook for 20 minutes until all the vegetables have been cooked through. Season with any additional salt and pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg, to taste. Be sure to use an immersion blender, food processor or powerful stand blender to purée the mixture. Personally, I don’t like to have any chunks in this soup, (plus it seems even creamier the smoother it is) but leave it as chunky as you prefer. Garnish with croutons or serve as I did... with fresh baguette slices topped with brie cheese. You won’t miss the cream... not a single bit!