Pureed Parsnip and Cardamom Soup with Caramelized Shallots

February 14, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Cardamom keeps sneaking its way into my recipes as of recent -- its unique versatility to play sweet or savory roles makes it a great spice to play with. Here it partners with the humble parsnip, the two complementing each other's spicy-sweet flavors. A simmer in a bath of almond milk and broth, followed by a quick whirl of the immersion blender, transforms the knobby root to a luxuriously smooth soup. Caramelized shallots add texture and round out the sweet flavor profile of the soup. —alasully

What You'll Need
  • 4 to 5 parsnips, around 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  1. Peel parsnips and remove tough woody core. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Halve a medium onion, peel it and cut roughly into sixths.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat; add onion, and saute until soft and brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped parsnips to the pan and saute with the onion until parsnips begin to brown slightly.
  4. Add 2 cups vegetable broth and 1/2 cup almond milk, plus more as desired for creaminess. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 teaspoons ground cardamom. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until parsnips are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. When parsnips are soft, remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or food processor / regular blender) until you reach a smooth consistency.
  6. Garnish with caramelized shallots. To prepare: thinly slice 2 shallots and saute with olive oil until soft; add 1 tsp maple syrup and cook until browned and caramelized.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • epicharis
  • stevemr
  • Tessa Heller Vogel
    Tessa Heller Vogel
  • alasully

9 Reviews

epicharis November 13, 2017
I made this with a teaspoon of cardamom and no maple syrup, and it was excellent. My husband thought that, pureed a bit more, it could make a great sauce over roasted vegetables.
marija June 1, 2016
made this tonight. Added very little cardamom, more broth, more onions and fresh cilantro in the end. It was very nice but i felt like it needed something else...sauted some shrimp with lemon, salt and pepper and served them on top of this rather sweet soup. Oh yeah I left out maple syrup didn't need it. Think next time I'll make it as a puree (much less broth) as a side to a chicken dish or similar
Sally May 15, 2016
I enjoyed this soup but the cardamom was a bit overwhelming. I used the 2 teaspoons called for but if I make it again, I would just use one.
Susan B. October 22, 2014
Does the recipe call for one whole onion cut into sixths, one whole onion cut into twelfths or half an onion cut into sixths?
stevemr October 22, 2014
I read it as one cut into six parts.....but it doesn't matter, since once its cooked and softened, it all gets pureed. No need to cut it smaller.
stevemr October 16, 2014
This was tasty, but it was so thick I wouldn't really call it a soup. Even after diluting it with some additional vegetable broth and almond milk, it was still extremely thick. As is, it would make a good side dish, especially with the caramelized shallots. Did anyone else have issues with the thickness of the "soup"?
Tessa H. October 16, 2014
Wow, I found the cardamom to be really really overpowering. I only used 1 teaspoon (maybe mine is powerful? Jar says Guatemalan cardamom?). I think it would have tasted great without any cardamom.
alasully December 18, 2013
Brittany A. December 17, 2013
Could I use whole milk as a substitute for the almond milk?