Here’s a chunky medley of rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, with a hint of vegan cheese. This hearty winter root vegetable soup recipe makes great use of a couple of underused vegetables—parsnips and rutabaga.
Nestled in a creamy vegan base, this soup makes for bowls of pure comfort. It’s filling and satisfying enough to be the centerpiece of a meal.
What to serve with root vegetable soup
Crusty bread or biscuits are always welcome, of course. A simple, colorful salad with added beans or lentils makes a nice pairing. Consider Super-Easy Avocado and Bean Salad or Spinach or Artichoke Salad with Chickpeas and Olives.
Rutabagas and parsnips
Rutabaga is part of the brassica family of vegetables. Sometimes confused with turnip, it’s sometimes labeled as Swedish turnip, or more briefly “swede.”
The mildly sweet, creamy yellow flesh is incredibly versatile. Rutabaga can be steamed, boiled, and mashed like potatoes. It can be roasted, steamed, sautéed, or cut into thin strips to be eaten raw.
Speaking of which, once you get through the thick peel, a world of culinary potential awaits. Make sure you have a good, sharp knife for cutting the rutabaga. Learn more in our Guide to Rutabaga, with Tips and Recipe Ideas.
Like rutabagas, parsnips are an often overlooked root vegetable. While they’re not wildly exciting, they’re useful, versatile, and economical. Parsnips look a bit like lumpy cream-colored carrots, and indeed, they’re related to them, and also to parsley.
The most common use for parsnips may as part of winter soups like this one, but they’re wonderful roasted, either as part of a medley or on their own, and made into fries to be cooked in the oven or air fryer. Discover more ways to use them in our roundup of Easy Vegan Parsnip Recipes.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium or 2 smallish rutabagas, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 2 medium parsnips, cut into coarse chunks and slices
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, optional
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
- 2 regular or 1 large vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk, more or less as needed (a creamy oat or cashew milk works well)
- 1 cup mozzarella or cheddar-style cheese shreds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden.
- Add the rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, celery, oats, optional wine, seasoning, bouillon cubes, and just enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, remove about 2 cups of the vegetables and transfer to a shallow bowl or a plate. Mash coarsely, then stir back into the soup. Add the plant-based milk, giving the vegetables some room but letting the soup stay nice and thick.
- Allow the soup to simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes longer.
- Sprinkle in the cheese, a little at a time, stirring in until fairly well melted each time. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the parsley and serve at once, or if time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or so before serving, then heat through gently before serving.
If you like parsnips in soup, see also:
Here are more delicious vegan soups & stews.