Caramelised Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup

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I have posted a fair number of soups ‘Veloute a la Madame Loik’ also with caramelised parsnips being my personal favourite, but this comes in at a very close second and is much simpler

It is the slightly caramelised parsnips that give it a distinctive sweet, slightly smoky flavour and a ‘reduced’ version of this soup works very well as a dhal served with Indian food.

Caramelising fruit and vegetables in butter is a great way to add natural sweetness, no need to add sugar as the natural sugars in the fruits or certain vegetables (carrots, parsnips) is enough.

This leads me to the whole sugar argument………you knew that it was coming…….

Back in the 1980’s when I was a student nurse and studying nutrition as part of my training, the tutor told us that sugar served no purpose except to make you fat, rot your teeth, cause premature diabetes, and – the thing that stood out in my mind – it destroyed the immune system (other auto- immune diseases along with cancer and heart disease have since been added to this list)

I then made a conscious effort to cut it out of my diet, but even back in the day, it was creeping in everywhere, so this is where my present cooking/eating style began to develop, particularly after the birth of my first daughter in 1987, I did not want her to be a sugar junkie, so rejected the oh so convenient jars of ‘baby’ food and fed her ‘real’ food adapted to her needs and development.

The result is a 29 year old who has never had a tooth extraction or filling in her life (her 25 year old sister neither)

During my career as a nurse I worked in an anaesthetic unit, recovering children from general anaesthesia following tooth extraction – I have seen babies as young as 20 months having teeth removed as soon as they appear through parents giving them sugary drinks in bottles, and also seen children as young as five or six having 10 or 12 teeth extracted, and the same children coming back again and again, despite being given strong advise about avoiding sugar – particularly ‘hidden’ sugars. To me this was a form of child abuse. Needless to say that these children were often on the ‘podgy’ side – so it was not just a case of ‘weak’ teeth, of which there seemed to be an epidemic!

I know that I am preaching to the converted on here, as you all have wonderful healthy blogs using lots of fresh, natural ingredients, but I had to get that out of my system…….

Now back to the quick and easy soup…..


2 medium parsnips cubed

1 large sweet potato cubed

1 small red onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

A good handful of red lentils

1 ½ pints (850ml) vegetable stock

1 tablespoon of salted butter

1 dessertspoon of turmeric

1 heaped teaspoon of dried coriander leaves

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste


Heat the butter in a sauce pan and sauté the parsnips and carrots over quite a high heat until they begin to caramelise

Add the onion and continue to sauté on a lower heat for 2 minutes, then add the garlic

Add the turmeric and the lentils and mix well before adding the vegetable stock

Add salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer for around 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the lentils disappeared.

‘Mash’ with a potato ‘masher’ leaving some ‘lumpy bits’

Add the dried coriander leaves and simmer for a further couple of minutes

Add a tablespoon of crème fraiche if desired, otherwise serve for a satisfying lunch or supper dish (I think that this soup is filling enough without bread, but if you are an addict, then a nice little piece of a crusty baguette is recommended!)







15 thoughts on “Caramelised Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup

  1. Osyth says:

    Well said – spontaneous applause! I am absolutely in agreement with you . Oddly yesterday we had a conversation about food allergies. My husband was asking why I thought there was such an upsurge. To which I responded ‘because the majority of them are just a means of cutting out a food group as a so called fast-track to weightloss and most of these eejits don’t cut out the one thing they need to – refined bluddy sugar’. I rest your case. And mine. And the soup looks divine (full of all my favourite things) and I love this idea of using it’s thicker sister as a dhal. xx

  2. chef mimi says:

    Maybe living my formative years in California gave me insight into real foods, plus my mother never buying pop and cooking everything with fresh ingredients. (She’s from France.). But I moved to Oklahoma years ago and I remember my younger daughter, about age 4, having a play date at a friend’s house. Her mother called me and said, “Emma has never had marshmallows and koolaid, has she?” She was so excited that Emma went a little crazy over the snack. I, of course, was fainting. Emma is now 30 and has been an extremely healthy pescatarian since junior high time. No cavities, no colds, no illnesses. I should have worried less because both daughters learned from what I did in the kitchen. Love your sugar rant. Wish everyone could read it! And your soup is marvelous!!!

  3. lindaravello says:

    Thank you Emma. My youngest daughter had a similar experience, when she visited a friend’s house and came home asking why we did not have a ‘goodie’ cupboard – the ‘goodie’ cupboard turned out to be full of ‘baddies’ like biscuits (no doubt marshmallows!) crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks – hence to say this young woman is now a size 20 (English) whole mine is size 10, says it all really doesn’t it.
    We have just had French friends around for a lunch time ‘dejeuner’ which has lasted over 5 hours, but everything was made fresh by me, with any sugar or carbohydrate content coming from either fruit or vegetables (except a little baguette fresh from the boulangerie with the cheese!)
    You are lucky to have a French mother, as they really do get it right. Lovely to hear from you – all todays recipes are on the blog:-
    Apero – cake au miel et romarin
    Entree – salad aux noix et cranberries
    Plat – non lasagne, lasagne
    Fromage – various French
    Dessert – poire dans vin rouge

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