This Easy Curried Chickpea and Parsnip Soup is packed with warming sweet curry and nutty parsnip flavours, and is beautifully thickened with wholesome chickpeas. Its an easy, quick, and incredibly budget-friendly meal and is the perfect way to turn a bag of humble parsnips into a new family favourite meal.
Curried Parsnip Soup garnished with a swirl of cream, mango chutney, crushed poppadom's, toasted sunflower seeds and red pepper flakes.
Origin of parsnips
Parsnips are native to Europe and Asia. The ancient Romans cultivated or foraged them wild, and prepared parsnip recipes such as parsnip fries or chips! Interestingly, during Roman times, parsnips and carrots were often regarded as being the same vegetable as both were often referred to as "pastinaca". This wasn’t helped by the fact that wild carrots of that era were white.
In the colder regions of Britain and Ireland, parsnips thrived. Their resilience meant they could endure harsh winter conditions, even withstanding cycles of freezing and thawing in the ground. Their high vitamin C content made them an essential vegetable during winters when other fresh produce was scarce. After a grueling day of work potages containing parsnips would have been a common meal. Although, many medieval recipes used parsnips as a replacement for expensive honey, as parsnips are so naturally sweet.
Parsnips during WW2
The 1940s saw World War II bring about food shortages and rationing in Britain. The natural sweetness of parsnips was cleverly utilized in recipes like parsnip pudding and mock bananas. Mock bananas was made by boiling and mashing parsnips with sugar and banana essence, serving as a substitute in recipes or even as a banana sandwich filling along with some yellow food colouring!
Today, parsnips remain an affordable choice in the winter and spring months, making them a staple for delicious, budget-friendly dishes like soups, stews, and curries, as well as amazing parsnip chips! Although, parsnips are not favoured by many people they are definitely worth cooking with, as when cooked correctly they are so tasty.
How to prepare curried chickpea and parsnip soup
This is the best recipe to use up a cheap bag of fresh parsnips. Even if a family member dislikes parsnips this soup is blended up and tastes like a delicious curry so they will likely enjoy. One of my kids won't eat parsnips but she does like this soup, we just don't mention anything about parsnips!
As we are a plant-based family who eat vegan ingredients our ingredient suggestions are always going to be animal-free but if your dietary requirements are different then feel free to use whatever you normally use.
Melt the margarine or butter, or heat the oil, in a soup pan. Alternatively heat about half a cup of vegetable stock if preparing a no-oil soup.
Add the parsnips along with the onions, ground ginger, and garlic powder.
Stir through the curry powder.
Cook for 8-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently.
Chuck in the canned chickpeas and stir well.
Pour in the hot vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, and simmer over a medium heat for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are nice and soft.
Stir through the garam masala powder.
Optional: Use an immersion stick blender and puree the soup, or cool the soup and blend using a food processor or stand blender.
Or if preferred simply enjoy the soup chunky or give it a little mash with a potato masher.
How to toast sunflower seed garnish
Toasting sunflower seeds are entirely optional but they do add extra tasty flavours and textures, as well as extra protein and healthy fats. Pumpkin seeds can be used instead of sunflower.
Heat a small non-stick fry pan or skillet.
Add the sunflower seeds, along with any seasoning if using such as salt & pepper, and a few pinches of curry powder or garam masala powder.
Stir or shake the pan frequently until the seeds begin to colour and sizzle.
Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring or shaking as the seeds will continue to crisp in the residual heat.
Serve with your favourite curry condiments such as mango chutney, mint sauce, lime pickle, crunchy poppadum's, toasted seeds or nuts, plant-based cream, sour cream or plain yogurt, fresh coriander, etc.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Store within a covered container and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw out completely before reheating.
Place the parsnip soup into a non-stick saucepan and gently bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 1-3 minutes or just until piping hot throughout. Or reheat using a microwave.
Yes, but do use a gluten-free vegetable stock and do check that your spices are free from gluten ingredients as some mixes may contain flour as a thickener.
No of course not. If preferred keep the soup chunky without blending, and ensure that the parsnip is diced small before adding to the soup recipe. Or if you don't have a stick blender or food processor just give the soup a mash with a potato masher, and perhaps leave some texture and stir the mashed bits through.
Many people prefer their soups having more whereas others like a smoother, more velvety soup. Kids especially may like soup better when it is smooth and easier to eat, so blending can be very helpful as it can encourage kids to eat more veggies.
Yes there are a few easy subs that can be made. Here are a few ideas:
* Use chilli powder, to taste, instead of curry powder, and instead of the garam masala add a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper
* instead of chickpeas use a creamy bean such as butterbeans [lima beans], cannellini beans or haricot beans [navy beans]
* fresh onion can be replaced with onion powder or granules, about 1-2 teaspoons, or use frozen onion for convenience
* instead of ground ginger use 1-2 teaspoons of ginger puree or a 1 inch piece of ginger root minced or fine diced
* the garlic powder can be replaced with about 4 cloves of garlic fine diced or minced
* the toasted sunflower seed garnish can be replaced with toasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds, or flaked almonds, crushed walnuts, chopped cashews or peanuts.
* the parsnips can be replaced with potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, swede [turnip or rutabaga], or celeriac
Yes, there are a few extra ingredients that would be especially nice. Here are a few suggestions:
* a chopped apple or pear can be added along with the parsnips for extra sweet fruity flavours
* add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking for a burst of citrus
* add a few handfuls of fine chopped kale, collards, spring greens, cabbage, or any other green leafy vegetable
* stir through a couple of cups of chopped spinach through the finished soup
More curry and spiced soup recipes
Vegetable packed curried or spicy soups are the perfect hearty autumn or fall and winter warmers. Our curry and spiced soups are not too spicy but can easily be made spicer for those who love their spicy kicks!
We particularly love our Curried Cauliflower Soup and our budget-friendly soups - Carrot and Cumin Soup and our slow cooker Red Lentil Dal Soup and for making potatoes great again stick them in this amazing Bombay Potato Curry Soup! Although, we think potatoes are pretty great all the time!
For more easy soup recipes do have a good root through our ever growing collection of Vegan Soup Recipes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Curried Chickpea and Parsnip Soup
- large soup pot with lid
- Stick blender or stand blender, optional for blending soup
- Small non-stick fry pan or skillet optional, for toasting sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoon plant-based margarine [or vegan butter or your usual margarine, butter or oil, or replace with ½ cup vegetable stock]
- 650 grams parsnips [about 6 medium, peeled or unpeeled]
- 185 grams onion [1 medium-large, diced]
- 1 can chickpeas [400gram,14oz can, drained, or 240 grams cooked chickpeas]
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder [or 4 garlic cloves fine diced or minced, or 2 teaspoons garlic puree]
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger [or 1 inch of fresh ginger root fine diced or minced, or 2 teaspoons ginger puree]
- 4 teaspoons curry powder [such as a Madras curry powder or just ordinary curry powder]
- 1.2 litre vegetable stock [hot]
Once soup is ready:
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- drizzle of plant-based cream [or sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain yogurt]
- 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds [plain or toasted, or replace with pumpkin, sesame or poppy seeds, or flaked almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc]
- Melt the margarine in the soup pot.[Or if using vegetable stock add to the pot and bring to a gentle boil]2 tablespoon plant-based margarine
- Add the parsnips, onions, garlic powder, ground ginger, and curry powder to the pot, and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.650 grams parsnips, 185 grams onion, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 4 teaspoons curry powder
- If your veggies begin to stick to the pot just add a few tablespoons of water.
- Add the chickpeas and stir well.Pour in the hot vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.1 can chickpeas, 1.2 litre vegetable stock
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, and cover the pot half way with a lid.
- Simmer for 25 minutes or until the parsnips are nice and soft.Stir through the garam masala and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary.[a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is a nice additional seasoning]2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- Blend the soup to a smooth puree with an immersion stick blender. Or let the soup cool and blend using a stand blender or food processor. Bring back to the boil before serving.Alternatively, leave the soup chunky and omit the blending.
- Serve with a swirl of plant-based cream or sour cream and a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds. A dollop of mango chutney is also nice, as are a few crushed poppadum's sprinkled over the top or serve whole poppadum's on the side for dipping into the soup.drizzle of plant-based cream
For toasting sunflower seeds: [optional, as can simply have the seeds without toasting]
- Heat a small non-stick fry pan or skillet.Add the sunflower seeds and stir or shake the pan frequently as they heat up and toast.[Optional: Add seasonings to the seeds such as salt & pepper, some curry powder or garam masala before toasting.]4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- Once the sunflower seeds start to colour remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir or shake, as the seeds will continue to colour within the residual heat.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Data does not include the sunflower seed garnish or other optional toppings.
- Replace the sunflower seeds with pumpkin, sesame, poppy seeds, or flaked almonds, crushed walnuts, chopped cashews, etc.
- This recipe results in about 1.5 litres [1.5 quarts] of soup [measured after pureed] and calories are worked out at 5 servings of 300 millilitres [1 ¼ US cups] per bowl.
- Smaller portions will result in more servings, and if preferred the soup can be thinned out with extra vegetable stock or cream or milk for extra servings.
- Store parsnip soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Parsnips can be replaced with a different root veggie such as carrots, turnips, swede, rutabaga, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or celeriac.
- For a gluten-free curried parsnip soup use a gluten-free veggie stock and ensure that any spice powders used are also free from gluten ingredients.
- Serve parsnip soup with your favourite curry condiments and accompaniments such as mango chutney, mint sauce, lime pickle, poppadum's, lentil crisps, naan breads, chapati's, flatbreads, etc.
- To bulk out the soup into a larger meal serve ladled over a serving of cooked rice at the bottom of the soup bowl.
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Its very much appreciated! All the best, Jacq x