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Parsnip Soup With Sweet Potato Leaves

Celebrate the cold weather by making a soup with some seasonal ingredients: parsnips and sweet potato leaves.

parsnip soup with sweet potato leaves in a pot

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

This is a rustic soup with big chunks of parsnips and whole sweet potato leaves. Don't bother pureeing it!

Parsnips look somewhat like white carrots. They have a sweet, floral flavor. I recommend using water as the base for this soup instead of stock so that the flavor of the parsnips is at the forefront.

Like its root vegetable brother horseradish root, parsnips can last in the garden through the winter or until you get a super hard freeze. The ground serves as their own personal refrigerator.

As for the sweet potato leaves, make sure to pick them before the first frost. They keep in the fridge for a couple weeks. (If you’d rather, you could substitute spinach in this recipe.)

For a special holiday treat, finish the soup with fresh oysters. A quick note if you’re planning to cook oysters: cook them until they just start to smile or crinkle around the edges. Don’t bring them to a boil!

Parsnip Soup With Sweet Potato Leaves


  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 white onions, diced into 1/4 inch bites
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 6 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • large bunch sweet potato leaves, torn into pieces (or spinach)
  • squeeze lemon juice

Cooking Directions

  1. Start by browning the garlic in a pan with the olive oil.
  2. Add onions and shallots to the pan and increase the heat. Cook the onions and shallots until they are translucent. Add parsnips and cook.
  3. Add water or stock and pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and bring the soup back to a boil, then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add heavy cream and sweet potato leaves. Cook until the leaves wilt.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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