Winter has come (thanks, Jon Snow). Even in California, the temperatures have dipped definitively into winter lately and we’ve been having the kind of days that your toes never quite warm up; where you take two showers just to feel toasty for 5 minutes at a time; where you have a hard time gearing yourself for the five minutes between the time you slip out of your cozy bed and into your sweater and scarf. Having lived in London, New York and California, I have a theory that California might actually get the worst of it, cold-wise, because no one expects it to be cold, so no one prepares. The houses aren’t insulated; there’s no heating anywhere. In New York, half of the frustration of winter is the insane heat – on the subway, in your apartment (where the heat is generally controlled by the building), in stores and restaurants. You spend half an hour a day unwrapping scarves just to rewrap them five minutes later.
This is all a preface for me to say, of course, that it’s soup season! Is there anything better than soup on a cold day? The feeling of a sip warming your throat, your chest, all the way down to your belly…it’s the ultimate winter respite, a mini Caribbean vacation for your soul. I drink soup almost constantly in the winter: throughout the day, you’ll often find me clasped with a mug full of my soup of the moment in my hands, and on especially cold mornings, I’ll even replace my regular green smoothie with a green soup. Soup is fast, it’s easy, and it’s an amazing vehicle for creative flavors. And this one here: it’s a goodie.
This roasted winter vegetable soup is the ultimate celebration of the season, with a bounty of beautiful winter vegetables all blended together in one delicious, nutritious bowl. Butternut squash, sweet potato and parsnip are roasted together to create a melange of flavors that’s so much more complex and varied than the typical one vegetable soups – the parsnip, in particular, adds a wonderful earthy spice that balances the sweetness of the squash and sweet potatoes and pulls the whole dish together. After the vegetables are roasted, they’re steeped in a rosemary infused broth, which adds a subtle, seasonal scent (they always remind me of Christmas trees!) and herbed flavor – not to mention loads of health benefits.
Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to use in the winter months, when there are so many colds and flus going around, because it stimulates the immune system, helping fight off all the bugs going around, and is anti-inflammatory (inflammation is the root of many illnesses). It’s also known for increasing circulation, and improving digestion, which makes this soup an amazing things to eat in this brief period of respite between Thanksgiving and all of the Hannukah and Christmas festivities. It’s also renowned for its ability to enhance memory and cognitive abilities, and I often recommend my friends and family drink it as a tea throughout the day when they’re working on a big work project, or studying for a test.
All that and we haven’t even gotten to the crispy shallots yet. I wanted to avoid breading these or deep frying them, so I created a (super easy) two part method that makes them super crispy, and insanely delicious. Confession time: only half of these made it onto the actual soup. I can’t speak to where the rest of them went, but something I was eating at the time sure tasted good.Print
Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
- 3 cups of peeled, cubed butternut squash
- 3 cups of peeled, cubed sweet potato
- 2 cups of cubed (no need to peel) parsnip
- 5 – 6 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, still on the stem
- 3 tbsp high heat oil of choice (avocado, coconut and ghee all work great)
- Generous sprinkle sea salt
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated with your fingers
- 1 tsp + 3 tbsp high heat oil of choice
- Generous sprinkle sea salt
Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potato, butternut squash and parsnip with sea salt and oil, then spread in a single layer on a parchment lined pan. Give them space so they’re not all pressed up together (I used two pans) so they can really brown at the edges – this is what creates the maillard reaction, caramelizing the sugars and making the vegetables taste amazing. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until edges are lightly browned. Put the vegetables in a large pot, and cover with vegetable stock, then place rosemary into the liquid, submerging it completely. Bring the pot to a boil, then remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 15 minutes, then remove rosemary twig and discard. Blend stock and vegetable mixture until smooth. To serve, top with crispy shallots and rosemary to garnish, if desired. Serves 4.
- Over medium heat in a medium frying pan, saute the shallots with the salt for 3 – 4 minutes, then use a spatula or slotted spoon to transfer shallots to a paper-towel lined plate. Add remaining oil to pan (no need to remove other oil, but do make sure all bits of shallot are removed so they don’t burn) and heat over medium-high for 1 – 2 minutes, or until a test shallot sizzles when placed in the oil. Place shallots in hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, before using same method to return to fresh paper towel.
Don’t be super strict with the amounts of each root vegetable – if you have a bit more parsnip, or a bit more sweet potato, that’s totally fine!
Make sure the cubes are evenly sized, so the vegetables all cook evenly.
P.S. Hey soup lovers! Have you checked out my 3-day DIY soup cleanse yet? It’s a super easy, delicious way to nourish yourself, get rid of bloat and excess weight and make your skin glow – all without going hungry at all (I promise!). Get the scoop (the soup scoop? Too much?) here.