Creamy, Vegan Italian Root Vegetable Soup

January 14, 2017
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

While the soup comes out very creamy, it is actually vegan. By adding a small amount of potato to the base, the soup becomes perfectly lush, with a velvet-like softness post purée. You don’t need very much potato (in fact, too much will give you a gluey, gummy soup), but that small amount binds everything together into a soup that’s filling enough to serve as a satisfying meal on its own, perhaps with a salad or a piece of cheese and grilled bread.

Once you master the potato technique you can use this recipe with any combination of fall or root vegetables you fancy. While Italians make this soup all year long (one of my favorite versions involves summer vegetables—eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes—all cooked with basil and a little potato and then puréed), but it works magnificently with fall and winter vegetables in particular. Within the recipe, there is flexibility: You could use pumpkin, parsnips, rutabaga, or Jerusalem artichokes instead of celery root and turnips.
Sara Jenkins

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, cleaned, and finely sliced
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 medium-sized potato (any kind will do), peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 celery root (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced (or swap in another root vegetable)
  • 1 large turnip (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced (or swap in another root vegetable)
  • Optional garnishes, listed in step 5 below
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, heat the oil gently. Add onions, garlic, leeks, and a pinch of salt and sauté gently until the alliums are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the diced potato and enough water to cover the potatoes, about 1/2 cup. Add another pinch of salt and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Now add the celery root and turnip and add just enough of the remaining water to cover the vegetables. Add a pinch of salt and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through and tender.
  4. Remove from the heat and purée: in a food processor, a blender, or with an immersion blender. Purée until really smooth and not chunky at all. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Eat with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs or any other garnishes you like: crispy pancetta or bacon lardons; finely diced shallot or chives; a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche in place of the olive oil; a little grated Parmigiana cheese or any hard aged grated cheese; a sprinkling of Aleppo or Urfa pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
  • epicharis
  • lyncucu
  • Vicky

6 Reviews

cholula December 22, 2021
Very good easy soup. I used one parsnip, a small orange beet and a small turnip, with a bulb of fennel. Everything else same as recipe, celery root and potato. It turned out really tasty. I caramelized shallots and added sour cream along with ancho chili powder spice when in the bowl. Very good!
epicharis March 18, 2019
This is dead simple and a very enjoyable choice for a light meal. I served ours with dill, thyme and Urfa pepper, but I'm wondering if a sprinkle of nutritional yeast might be nice too.
lyncucu January 14, 2018
I used parsnips and turnip, shallots (instead of onions) with vegan bouillon cubes, and topped with a couple drops of truffle oil. It's a new family favorite!
Vicky September 28, 2017
I added some dill and an extra clove of garlic, substituted carrot for turnip - just to keep from going to the grocery store. Delish. Just what I needed to soothe this little cold I'm having.

txchick57 January 25, 2017
Sara: Could you give the amounts of the summer vegetables you use to make this? That sounds really good. Thanks.
Nanners January 16, 2017
Just made this soup.....delish! Made it as per the recipe along with grilled cheese sandwiches. The entire family loved it!