Parsnip and Great Northern Bean Soup with Sage

Wow, how fast time flies! Christmas has come and gone, and my short little vacation to the Olympic Peninsula now remains only in my memories and a few photographs.

Along with adventures trekking through the snow along Hurricane Ridge, we cozied up with family and friends. Good conversation, food, and drinks carried us into each night. We talked about the past, the future, and all the influential people in our lives. It was a time to reflect and be thankful for the family and friends that have supported us every step of the way.

Sadly, my dear grandma passed away the night of Christmas Eve. I will miss her deeply. She was a woman of strength and courage, and one who has loved me from the moment I was born. So much of my success as a young woman, I have her to thank. May she find eternal peace.

Now that Christmas is over, and all the indulgences that follow along, fresh light meals will be the mainstay in my home once again. With parsnips, apples, and great northern beans, I have created a light yet creamy, vegan soup with sage and nutmeg. Slightly sweet and salty this soup will hold hunger cravings at bay and will not weigh you down.

Parsnips are a little sweeter than carrots, but also carry along a lot of fiber. 1 cup of parsnips has only 100 calories and 6.5 grams of fiber, about 25% of your daily needs. In addition parsnips carry along trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, as well as high levels of vitamin C and K. Along with great northern beans, which are also high in iron, fiber, and protein, this soup is a well-balanced vegetarian meal.

Serve this soup with bread and salad, and garnish with olive oil sautéed yellow onion, and roasted walnuts.

Creamy Parsnip and Great Northern Bean Soup
Makes about 10 cups
2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
½ large yellow onion, diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can of Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
juice of ½ lemon
¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
freshly grated nutmeg to taste (can also use pre-ground)

Roasted walnuts
½ yellow onion, sliced, sautéed in 1 Tbsp olive oil

1.  In a large pot over medium heat add 3 Tbsp olive oil, chopped onions, celery, apple, garlic, fresh sage and marjoram.  Stir. Add the salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and allow veggies to sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
2.  Add the parsnips and the vegetable broth. Allow the stock to simmer about 20 minutes until the parsnips are soft to the bite.
3.  Meanwhile sauté yellow onions for garnish until golden brown. Roast walnuts in a preheated oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
4.  Add the great northern beans and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer soup into a food processor or blender to puree. Make sure not to fill your blender too much otherwise it will overflow with soup! You may have to do it in two batches.
5.  Add fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and fresh nutmeg to taste.
6.  Serve garnished with sautéed onions and roasted walnuts. With bread and a side salad this soup will become a whole meal.

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