Week 23: Parsnip & Leek Soup

Holy moly, this week’s share was amazing! So much variety and so many happy vegetables! Having worked at Root Radical, I know how much care and work goes into these two crops in particular, and parsnip and leek make natural soup buddies. Leek and potato is a good standby, but the earthy tang of parsnip makes the buttery mellowness of leek even more interesting in combination. This recipe makes for a great Sunday afternoon past-time, and doesn’t require broth if you don’t have it on hand. Put on a jazz album, let the low autumn light filter through your windows, and stir.

Parsnip & Leek Soup


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cups leeks trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3-4 cups parsnips peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (top up with potato if you’re short)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 cups water chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Extra-virgin olive oil crème fraîche or yogurt, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 dollop lemon juice, to taste deeply optional but i think it added a nice thing


  1. Put olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper and turmeric, maybe some red pepper flakes if you like a bit of spice. Add leeks and parsnips, and stir to coat.
  2. Let vegetables sizzle and cook, stirring frequently until nearly caramelized, but without browning, until softened. (The NYT version says 10-15 minutes but I think they must have a bigger pot or something because it definitely took me almost 25)

  3. Add bay leaf and garlic, and stir to coat. Increase heat to high, add water or broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more. Taste broth and adjust seasoning.
  4. With a blender, purée soup to a creamy consistency. (Small batches work best.) Thin with water or broth, if necessary — it should be like a thin milkshake, not thick and porridge-like.
  5. Reheat the soup before serving. Serve plain, or give each bowl a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt, if desired.