Weekend Recipe: Parsnip and Apple Soup

Parsnip and apple soup header

Here’s a lovely soup recipe that makes the most of delicious fruit and veggies available now here in the UK – and it’s really cheap too, which is always useful for that challenging January credit card bill. I find this soup wonderfully nourishing and comforting, and it makes a lovely lunch with some great bread or crackers and cheese.

It’s very closely based on a recipe from the original Cranks Recipe Book, which is a perennial favourite of mine. I was lucky enough to pick up this hardback copy of the book in a local charity shop recently – my paperback copy from the late eighties was completely falling to pieces, so it was great to replace it with something more substantial. My new copy includes illustrations of the Cranks cafés and shops (first in Carnaby St and later in Marshall St) which pioneered vegetarian and wholefood eating in London in the sixties.

Cranks collage

The pictures bring back memories of when I ate at the Marshall St Cranks with my family on an exciting weekend trip to London in the mid-eighties. The café was all rustic brick, wicker and earthenware crockery, which seemed so exotic and cosmopolitan to me! And the food was delicious. I guess because I was already a fledgling foodie, I can remember the delicious vegetable moussaka I ate, accompanied by the most delicious cloudy (cloudy! Imagine that!) apple juice – I am not sure what my more traditionally-minded mum and dad, and extremely hard-to-please brother made of it.

Although the Cranks Recipe book is rather traditional in many ways (no exotic spices for starters), with its focus on healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients and cooking from scratch, it feels very usable and relevant. You can pick up a second-hand paperback copy from Abebooks.com for around £3 – a total bargain, or you can get the trendily reprinted ‘Vegetarian Classic’ version.

parsnip and apple soup 1

Anyway, to the recipe. I have tweaked it a bit, replacing the original dried mixed herbs with dried sage (if you have fresh sage in you garden, even better) because I love parsnip with sage. I’ve also made the suggestion of using chicken stock because I think it brings extra depth of flavour and nutritional value. It goes against the vegetarian values of Cranks, so I am sorry about that – feel free to ignore me and shake a fist at my meat-eating ways. The original recipe calls for whole milk – personally I replace half that with unsweetened almond milk, to add to the nutritional value. If you are vegetarian or vegan then veggie stock and almond milk (or other suitable non-dairy alternative) are definitely great options too.

Parsnip and Apple Soup


  • 25g butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 1 medium cooking apple (I used Belle de Boskoop but a smallish Bramley is good too)
  • 500ml chicken stock or veggie stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage or 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 300-500ml of almond milk, cow’s milk, or any similar option (the amount needed depends on how much veg you started out with, and how thick you like your soup!)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley to sprinkle
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Peel and chop the onion, parsnip and apple (removing the core)  into largish chunks (around 2-3cm pieces).
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the veggies and apple, and sautée until the onion is transparent and the parsnip and apple are beginning to soften. You don’t want the fruit and veg to brown, so keep stirring regularly and keep the heat low.
  • Add the stock and the sage, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the parsnip and apple are very soft.
  • Add about 300ml of milk (or milk substitute, or a combination of the two) and blend the soup (I use a stick blender, if you use a goblet type blender, then you might need to do this in batches).
  • Add more milk/milk substitute if the soup is too thick for your taste, reheat (being careful not to boil it), then add seasoning to taste.
  • Sprinkle on the parsley before serving.

The soup freezes and reheats very well.

Parsnip and apple soup 2

enjoy logo


Click here for lots more Very Berry recipes

6 thoughts on “Weekend Recipe: Parsnip and Apple Soup

  1. What a delicious sounding soup. Parsnips have to be one of my favourite veg. Unfortunately, they aren’t that common here in Switzerland and when I do find them they are often in the bio section and cost a small fortune. Still, they are worth every penny to me and I’m defintiely going to give this recipe a try. It’s great to know it freezes and reheats well as I love to make pots of my favourites and then freeze in batches ready to have when needed.

  2. That looks (and sounds!) delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe!

    A friend of mine is compiling a child-friendly (whether making or eating!) recipe book to raise funds for Speur-Ghlan (http://www.earlyinterventionscotland.org/), an early intervention service for 0-5s with ASD/developmental delay and is looking for contributors. Her email is nikscotland@hotmail.co.uk (she’s also on Twitter @nikkiw76) if you think you’d be able to contribute one of your recipes. Hope you don’t mind me asking – feel free to delete this comment if it’s inappropriate!

We always love reading your comments... go ahead, say hello!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s