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Creamy Parsnip Pear Soup with Cranberry Coulis

December 19, 2020

Parsnip pear soup is sweet and savory, creamy without the cream, and a nutritious and delicious addition to a fall or winter meal. Make it on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. Garnish with tart cranberry coulis for a pop of color and festivity.

bowl of parsnip pear soup with cranberry coulis

*Originally published in 2014. Updated in 2020*

I love soup. I eat soup all year round, even on 90 degree days during the summer. And I’m not just talking about cold soups like gazpacho, though I’m a fan of that too. What I really love is a hot bowl of soup, much like this parsnip pear soup that warms me up from the inside out.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hearty vegetable soup, brothy chicken soup, chunky chili, or a smooth pureed soup – I’ll eat them all. I seriously could eat soup every single day, that’s how much I love it. Do you agree? If so, you definitely want to check out this creamy parsnip pear soup!

This recipe has been waiting in the wings to be made and posted for quite a while. Back in September when I was at the Stone Barns Harvest Festival there was a sample of a parsnip pear smoothie and I remember telling my husband and the friends we were with that I had thought about this flavor combination and had the idea to make a soup with it. It was one of many recipes on my to-make list, and I finally got my act together just in time for National Pear Month! (In case you missed the memo, that’s another food holiday we celebrate in December.)

appetizer bowls of parsnip soup on tray

Creamy without Cream

Like many of my favorite soups, this Creamy Parsnip Pear Soup is a velvety, creamy puree without any cream, making it the perfect dairy-free appetizer or main dish for those who follow a vegan diet, have a dairy allergy or intolerance, or keep Kosher (like we do) and want to serve it at a meat meal.

And while some creamy soups add bread for heft if they omit the cream, this parsnip pear soup is completely gluten-free. Similar to the way the roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes are creamy on their own in my Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup, the creaminess here comes solely from the starchiness of the parsnips.

Since parsnips and pears are naturally sweet, this creamy parsnip pear soup provides you with the sweet and savory flavor combo, which I love. There are an additional two tablespoons of maple syrup in the soup to add a depth of flavor and bring out the natural sweetness that’s already there, while fresh thyme adds a subtle earthy flavor, which works well with the parsnip.

Making Parsnip Pear Soup

This soup recipe is relatively easy to whip up and the result is a nutritious and delicious bowl of soup that will satisfy your family and impress your guests. My girls were amazed when I told them about this soup. Pears in soup?! That was a new one for them and probably will be for some guests to your home too!

mini tasting bowl of parsnip pear soup

The cranberry coulis drizzled on top of this soup is optional, but I highly recommend it. It’s made the same way you make cranberry sauce, except that it needs to be strained, which is a bit tedious but well worth it in my opinion. The coulis is very low in sugar (only 1/4 cup per 1 cup of cranberries) so it’s still quite tart, which provides a nice balance to the sweetness of the soup.

(If you don’t have the time or inclination to make the coulis, pomegranate seeds are an easy and pretty garnish as well.)

Of course since cranberries are a popular ingredient on all holiday menus this time of year, the coulis is a perfect addition for an upcoming holiday or New Year’s party. In fact, when I make this parsnip pear soup for a party, I like to serve it in small tasting cups with demitasse spoons – perfect for everyone to have just a taste and save room for the rest of the hors d’oeuvres on your menu!

Parsnip pear soup is sweet, savory, and creamy without any cream. A delicious addition to a fall or winter meal. Tart cranberry coulis provides an elegant topping and flavorful contrast to the sweetness of the soup. Serve as an appetizer or in smaller servings as a festive holiday party hors d'oeuvre. Get this vegan and gluten-free recipe at Small Bites by Jessica.

Stovetop Creamy Parsnip Pear Soup with Cranberry Coulis

Yield: 8 one-cup servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Parsnips and pears join together in this sweet and savory soup that's creamy without the cream, naturally sweet, and a nutritious and delicious addition to a fall or winter meal. Tart cranberry coulis provides an elegant topping and flavorful contrast to the sweetness of the soup. Serve as an appetizer or in smaller servings as a festive holiday party hors d'oeuvre.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Kosher

Ingredients

For the Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds parsnip, peeled and chopped (3-4 cups)
  • 1 pound pears, chopped* (2-3 cups)
  • 6 cups low sodium no-chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Cranberry Coulis (optional)

  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

For the Soup:

  1. In a medium to large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until shallots have softened and become translucent.
  2. Add parsnips to the pot and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the shallots and garlic don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Lower heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook 5 minutes until parsnip is tender and starting to brown.
  3. Add pears to the pot and stir. Cover the pot and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Uncover the pot and add broth and thyme. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove soup from heat, uncover, and let cool 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.
  6. Return soup to medium heat, add 2 cups water, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.

For the Cranberry Coulis:

  1. While the soup is cooking, combine cranberries, 1/4 cup water, and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the cranberries have popped and you have a thickened sauce. Remove from heat and cool about 5 minutes. Place a fine strainer over a bowl and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to help pass the liquid through the strainer, leaving the solids behind.**
  2. Add lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of water to cranberry coulis and whisk to combine.
  3. Serve soup with cranberry coulis drizzled on top.

Notes

*Any type of pear can be used. I have made this with both bartlett and d'anjou pears. I leave the skin of the pear on for more fiber, but pears can be peeled if preferred.
**I like to save the solids of the cranberry coulis and use as a spread on toast or my Spiced Pumpkin Bread.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 645mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 13gProtein: 5g
bowl of parsnip pear soup with cranberry coulis

Instant Pot Creamy Parsnip Pear Soup

Yield: 8 one-cup servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Make this delicious and nutritious Parsnip Pear Soup in the Instant Pot and you'll have a flavor-packed appetizer to feed your family in no time.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Kosher

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds parsnip, peeled and chopped (3-4 cups)
  • 1 pound pears, chopped* (2-3 cups)
  • 6 cups low sodium no-chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Set Instant Pot to “Sauté” setting on high heat. Add olive oil and when hot, add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
    2. Add parsnip and stir with onions. Cook for 3 minutes. Add pears and stir.
    3. Press "Cancel" on the IP. Pour in broth and add thyme and salt. Cover the IP and turn the steam release handle to the“Sealing” position. Set to “Pressure Cook” on high pressure for 10 minutes.(Note: It will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time begins)
    4. When the cook time is done, wait 10 minutes for the pressure to naturally release. If it is not fully released after 10 minutes, turn the steam release handle to the "Venting" position. (Be sure to wear oven mitts when doing this.) Press "Cancel" on the IP and carefully open the lid and stir the soup.
    5. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Stir in maple syrup and vinegar and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
    6. If the soup is not as thick as desired, turn on the saute setting and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Notes

*Any type of pear can be used. I have made this with both bartlett and d'anjou pears. I leave the skin of the pear on for more fiber, but pears can be peeled if preferred.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 645mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 13gProtein: 5g

Do you enjoy soup all year long?

Have you ever added pears to soup?

Share your responses with me in the comments below!

Creamy Parsnip Pear Soup Recipe with Text Overlay

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    1. Yay! So happy to hear that! And super excited and grateful that I’ll be in the next cookbook! Your ears must be burning b/c I am writing about you as you posted this comment! Your book review is going live in a matter of minutes! 🙂

  1. I have never tried the combo of parsnips and pears, but this soup sounds delicious – especially with the coulis! Plus, another reason to use my immersion blender is a good one for me – (my husband complains I buy too many kitchen tools and don’t use them enough)!

    1. Brittany, you must try the combo – it’s super delish! And tell your husband not to worry abt the immersion blender. There’s SO much to do with it. I have two – one for meat and one for dairy since we keep a Kosher home – and I use both all the time!

  2. Fun recipe and love the cranberry swirl on top! I made something a little similar way back when I started my blog-Parsnip and Apple Soup. It was super tasty, but my food photography skills were NOT good-I definitely need to go back and re-visit that one, with better photos 🙂 This looks delicious!

    1. Thanks EA! Parsnip and apple is super yummy too. Can’t wait to see when you reshoot that – I have no doubt it will be stellar!

  3. I’m not a huge soup fan but I love the sweet and savoury of this recipe. I will have to give it a try!

  4. 5 stars
    this looks so good! I don’t eat parsnips enough, this looks like the perfect way to incorporate more into my diet

  5. The colors and flavor combo of this soup are amazing. I bet it’s really comforting and I love cranberries so I need to try it! I’ve never had a parsnip soup, and don’t have them much in general.

  6. I have never tried parsnip before! It is definitely getting soup weather so I may have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh my goodness, you must try parsnip! I love it cubed and roasted, braised with meat, added to chicken soup, and of course in this soup too! LMK if you try it!

  7. I’ve never made soup with parsnips and this sound sooo good!! Such an interesting combo. Can’t wait to try this.

  8. This looks wonderful! I don’t have too many go-to parsnip recipes – aside from adding them to soups or roasting them with maple! – so I definitely want to try this.