Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup

by Gena on March 12, 2011

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After our side by side comparison of butternut squash and apple soup this week—a fun conversation, I thought—it felt only right that I experiment with another soup on an unseasonably chilly Wednesday afternoon. It had been a long time since I’d made cauliflower soup, and since we’d all been talking about the depth of flavor that comes from roasting veggies before puréeing them, I decided to caramelize my cauliflower in the oven. As I was chopping it, my gaze happened to fall upon the four parsnips that had been sitting patiently in my fridge for over a week. I thought that their sweetness would complement the sweetness of roasted cauliflower well, and parsnips also have a subtle spice that I love. So, without wasting a breath, I peeled and chopped them, and threw them into the mix.

When I was pointing out the pros and cons of cooked vs. raw soups on Monday, I mentioned that cleaning roasting pans is one of the disadvantages of cooked soup prep. Tons of you chimed in to say that lining pains with tin foil is the best way to avoid this trap. Believe it or not, this had never occurred to me! I made this my first experiment with it, and was impressed by the amazingly easy cleanup!

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As for the soup itself, the ingredients are fairly straightforward. Rather than using onions, which most cooked soup recipes do, I used shallots. This is a great tip for any chef who, like me, has a slight aversion to the taste of onions. Shallots lend amazing flavor and sophistication to cooking—they’re true staples in most restaurant kitchens—without adding too much oniony taste or aftertaste. I highly recommend them!

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup (Vegan, gluten free, can be soy free)

Yields 4-5 cups

1 small head cauliflower, chopped
4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup rice, soy, or coconut milk
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray or two with tin foil.

2) Lay cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, and garlic, out on foil, and drizzle with olive oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

3) Roast veggies for about 35-40 min, or until they’re soft and golden brown.

4) Place veggies in a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches) and add broth and non-dairy milk. Blend until soup is smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if you need to. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender.

5) Transfer soup to a pot and re-season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a swirl of cashew cream (recipe to follow).

Cashew Cream

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh water

Placed soaked cashews in a blender. Add enough water to cover them by an inch. Blend until silky smooth. Serve over soups, or any other dish that begs for cream!

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Look at how rich and decadent it is—and the sweetness of the vegetables makes it all the more delicious!

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Served here with my walnut cheese and apple wraps:

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It’s a gray, drizzly day here in DC, and I’m almost tempted to make the soup again—that’s how much I liked it. Regardless of where you are or what the weather’s like, I hope you give this one a try soon!

Happy weekend!


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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

hippierunner March 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Tin foil on pans is great for avoiding cleanup but I can never bring myself to do it because it seems so wasteful. I wish there was an alternative because scrubbing the pans is soooo annoying!


Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA March 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

That’s how I feel!


Katie March 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Yes, but think of the water you waste in scrubbing. Unless you have a catchment, I bet that is much worse. But, i live in the desert, so water is at the forefront of my thoughts most of the time.


hippierunner March 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I don’t think I use a ton of water plus I’d consider the water used in producing the foil. Water is definitely something I am conscious not to waste. Scrubbing pans usually involves more elbow grease than water for this reason!


Emma March 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I agree hippierunner! I’d feel so guilty, especially as I don’t think I would use any extra water to wash the pan, just the same water I washed the dishes in anyway.


honeybee March 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I stopped using tin foil in all my oven cooking when I discovered it releases harmful chemicals into the food. I use parchment paper instead. And I reuse mine a couple times.


Jamie March 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I second the use of Parchment Paper!


Michelle S. March 14, 2011 at 3:08 am

I like using parchment too and unless there is a lot of oil used, it is pretty easy to save and use again, so one box can last a long time.

Karen March 14, 2011 at 7:49 am

I use/resuse parchment paper for messy jobs, but have recently converted to the Silpat for the ordinary pan of roasted vegetables. I bought mine at Amazon and I have found the $20 well worth it – it’s a resuable no-stick mat that sits in your baking pan.

adrienne moore June 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Ther are WONDERFUL, non- heavy metal leaching options : ) May I suggest parchment paper or, for a non wasteful solution, silpat or other silicone cookery item. THX!!


Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Yum, I love the texture and taste of pureed cauliflower. Especially as “mashed cauliflower” with seasoning and a bit of almond milk.


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn March 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I just so happen to have TONS of cauliflower and parsnips in my fridgy fridge. This NEVER happens!! I am so excited to try this out, you are a saint!:)


melissa March 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

this looks amazing! and i just bought a nice head of cauliflower that i was going to “mash” you just helped me find a new way to use it!


Jen March 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I love the flavor of roasted cauliflower. I could eat heads and heads of it…but I hate cleaning roasting pans! Especially because my sink has a center divider. I will definitely use foil from now on! As for the soup, it looks divine! I love how vegetables have the ability to become so creamy when blended.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Hi Gena glad that the foil-lined tray was a big time saver. I cannot imagine!! roasting veggies or making any of my one pot or one pan meals without throwing a sheet of foil down. Honestly, takes cleanup from massive amounts of elbow grease and time to just…lift up and toss.

I have 17 versions of veggie bakes, with and without beans, nooch, nut creamzs and sauces, adding salsa, hummus, etc and when you roast veggies + add those other things for moisture, the result is a mess if you dont use foil :)

The soup looks wonderful and I hope your weather warms up. Or else you can just make more soup :)


Hannah March 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

What’s really nice about raw and/or vegan soups is that you can easily add “cream” by using cashews…I think it would be so much better anyway with a cashew cream because it feels odd to mix dairy cream with vegetables!


Lisa @ Thrive Style March 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

That sounds and looks amazing!


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I have been daydreaming about roasted cauliflower lately. I almost bought a head last night but it looked kind of puny in the store, so I changed my mind. I’ll live vicariously through your taste buds for now. :) That soup looks delicious!


Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama March 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

This looks like a perfect last hurrah to winter recipe to make.


melissa March 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Finally a weekend that feels like spring in NYC! This recipe is so easy, the vitamix would work perfectly!


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite things ever.


Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I love how versatile foil is! thanks for the recipe, it sounds amazing


Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) March 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

The garlic puts it over the edge. You could roast a whole head and squeeze its yumminess into the soup before blending. OMG good. Made it this past week.


Hannah March 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm

There is no ingredient in this recipe that I don’t love love love. However, I’m unsure whether I’ll be able to resist the temptation of eating all the roasted cauliflower straight from the pan…


Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

You had me at “carmelizing cauliflower” :)


Michelle March 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Lovin’ the garlic… great comfort food.


Namaste Gurl March 13, 2011 at 12:41 am

This looks delicious, Gena! Love all the flavors, contrasts, and textures you chose in this roasted veggie soup. Do you think carrots would work in place of the parsnips? I have a costco- size bag of carrots begging to be used for soup, not that I dislike parsnips or anything :)


Gena March 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

They sure would! Hope it turns out well :)


Christin@purplebirdblog March 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I forget about my love of shallots all the time… I really need to pick some up!


elise March 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

good call on the shallots…thats a perfect alternative for peeps like you and me who arent fans of strong oniony flavors. plus the fewer tears when chopping and prepping the better!


Tawney March 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Just mixed up a big pot of this soup to go with the grey, cold weather outside. Oh, the creamy goodness! A neighbour gave me a load of parsnips from their garden so I’m searching your site now for some other recipes. Thanks for this warm bowl of goodness.


Rosie March 25, 2011 at 4:50 am

This looks so amazingly awesome.. Yum.. Cant wait to try it.


Hannah November 17, 2011 at 5:34 am

I’m not sure I’d be able to resist just eating those lively roasted veggies – they wouldn’tmakee it into a soup!


adrienne moore June 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

And now I feel like a total JERK for not reading more comments. Parchment & silpat were both mentioned…duh…sorry : )


Alexia @ NamasteYoga October 28, 2012 at 6:11 am

creamy soup with cashew cream and greens on the side! winter heaven!


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New Zealand Girl August 24, 2013 at 2:44 am

I have just finished making this soup and it is delicious!!! Thanks goodnessI I’m on a detox programme and cant eat much, found a recommendation for your website in the back of a book I was looking at buying and searched you up. And hey presto…a delicious soup, perhaps the first yummy evening meal in 7 days…thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sandra September 29, 2013 at 6:00 am

Delicious! Just happened that I had cauliflower and parsnips and shallots. Into google and hey presto …arrived at your inspiring site, which I’ll be back to browse again. Great recipe! Thanks!


Gena October 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

So glad you like it!


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