Thai-spiced parsnip Christmas Soup

A Christmas Soup must be memorable but not overshadow the main event in my opinion. Each and every Christmas my family tradition dictates that parsnips must always be served at our Christmas day feast.  This year, I’m planning on mixing it up a little by serving this deliciously fragrant and light Thai-spiced parsnip soup as an appetizer.  It’s light and fragrant and so there really is no need for bread to accompany it, meaning there will be plenty of room for the main event!

Thai-spiced parsnip Christmas Soup Ingredients

Parsnips are a surprisingly underrated vegetable in my book.  They have a delicious sweetness and are right up there with other root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes.  They roast really well with a little olive oil resulting in fluffy insides and sticky sweet, slightly caramelized edges.  They also taste great if you drizzle honey over them for the final 15 minutes of cooking. 

They can be enjoyed in meaty stews or veggie crumbles and they also make great mash by first boiling until tender, draining well and then mashing in a generous knob of butter.  It makes a delicious alternative to mashed potato. 

In this Christmas soup the parsnips really carry the flavour of the deliciously fragrant Thai spices and provide a complimentary sweetness that remains light and not too filling.  They make the soup smooth in texture, vibrant in colour and packed full of Asian aromatics that are sure to nourish and comfort.  A real crowd pleaser that will wow your guests on Christmas day.

How To Make Thai-spiced parsnip Christmas Soup

Pour the oil into a large pan then add the chopped parsnip, onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and lemongrass.  Allow to sweat gently over a low heat for at least 5 minutes until soft.  Make sure that the vegetables don’t stick to the pan or burn.

Now add the stock and the fish sauce.  Turn the heat up and bring everything to the boil.

Once the soup is bubbling away nicely, reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until the parsnips are tender but still holding their shape.

Next you need to remove the lemongrass from the pan. It’s aramatic fragrance will already have mermeated the liquid and so its work is done.

With the heat still on low gently stir in the coconut milk making sure you scrape the edges of the tin of all the delicious cream.  This will add a subtle creaminess to the finished soup.

Once the soup is heated through remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending until smooth and silky.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

Thai-spiced parsnip Christmas Soup Recipe Variations

What can I use instead of parsnip?

Sweet potato or winter squash work well as a substitute for parsnip in this recipe.  Simply use the same quantities and prepare the substituted sweet potato or squash by washing peeling and chopping.  Sauté in the same way as I have done the parsnips and continue to prepare the Christmas soup using the same method.  Cooking times may vary.  Check that the substituted vegetables are tender by piecing with a knife.  They will be ready when they easily slide off the knife whilst still holding their shape. 

More Delicious Wintery Soup Recipes

An alternative offering at Christmas time is Minestrone Soup.  This is a great way to use up fresh vegetables and warm the cockles after a bracing boxing day stroll.   A freshly baked bread roll goes particularly well with this.

I also love the velvety smooth texture of Winter Squash and Peanut Butter Soup.  This Christmas soup offering has just a hint of chili and a nutty note from the peanut butter.  It’s delicious served with flatbread or charred tortilla and sprinkled with toasted pumpkins seeds.


Thai-spiced parsnip Christmas Soup

Course Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4


  • Large heavy-based pan with lid
  • mezzaluna knife
  • Vegetable peeler


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g parsnips peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red onion peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 fresh red chilli deseeded and chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and grated
  • 2 stems of lemongrass trimmed and flattened slightly to release the flavour
  • 500 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • I lime
  • Fresh coriander and chopped red chilli to garnish optional


  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan
  • Add the parsnip, onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and lemongrass. Stir briefly and allow to sweat gently over a low heat for at least 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. Check the pan from time to time to make sure that the vegetables are not sticking to the pan or burning.
  • Add the stock and the fish sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes until the parsnips are tender.
  • Remove the lemongrass from the pan and then stir in the coconut milk. Allow the soup to return to the boil to ensure it is piping hot.
  • Once heated through turn the heat off and allow to cool slightly before blending until smooth and silky.
  • Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh coriander

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