Vegan Chestnut & Parsnip Soup with Apples, Whiskey, and Sage

Seasonal eating isn’t a political statement or a trend for me.  It simply inspires me, and goes along with the ebbs and flows of life.  I honestly love all the nuances and details that come with every new harvest time.  It’s the poignant details like how the hot season is bedecked with juicy tomatoes, crisp peppers and spicy chilis that cool your body down during the heat of the day.  Then just as cold and flu season is reaching it’s peak, the citrus crop reaches its height and peppers the trees with orange and yellow fruit that is loaded with the vitamin C our bodies are craving for health and healing.  It is pretty darn spectacular that the flavor of crisp salads full of delicate summer veggies gives way to colorful root veggies begging to be served piping hot in plates of comfort food.  Yep, I wax poetic about seasonal eats.  I can’t help it.  My taste buds literally jump up and down with the onset of each season because there are new flavors and treats to play with in the kitchen!

This soup is exactly that!  It actually tastes like Christmas in a bowl.  No, I am not talking about pine trees and cinnamon sticks, but of the earthy sweetness of chestnuts and parsnips.  Mixed together with some apple and whiskey, you have a recipe for the season!

There are a million laborious recipes to keep you busy over the holidays, but this isn’t one of them.  The first step is roasting, aka throwing it in the oven and walking away!  I do not even bother with skinning the parsnips or chopping the apple.  Just throw the parsnips in scrubbed but whole.  For the apples, I  recommend cutting them in half and placing them cut side down on a cookie sheet.  Roast them at 400F for about 30.  When the parsnip comes out and cools, you can literally just peel off the skin.

Then it’s just about throwing everything into one pot, giving it a whirl with an immersion stick or blender, and then serving it up to happy tummies!  I love to add texture and flavor by garnishing it with a swirl of cashew cream (for eating vegan) or sour cream, and then topping with chopped sage and nuts.

This hearty soup becomes a satisfying meal when paired with a crusty sourdough bread that cuts through the sweetness with it’s sharp sourness.

I hope this seasonal recipe inspires you to play with the flavors and enjoy the bounty this December!

Chestnut & Parsnip Soup with Apples, Whiskey, and Sage
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This yummy vegan soup is hearty with a delicious balance of sweet and savory.  You can keep it vegan by topping it with a cashew cream, or indulge in your dairy cravings by topping it with sour cream.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Snacks, Soup
Cuisine: American, Appetizer, Gluten Free, Seasonal, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 People
  • 3 medium parsnips, whole
  • 3 apples, cut in half
  • 1 cup chestnuts (vacuum sealed, steamed or roasted and de-shelled)
  • 6 cups veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbls fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped chestnuts or hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (made sour with lemon) or sour cream
  1. Place your parsnips and apples on a cookie sheet and roast them for about 20-30 minutes in a 400F oven.  

  2. You can absolutely roast your own chestnuts, or you can buy a vacuum sealed package of steamed chestnuts at your local grocery store.  Combine the chestnuts, the roasted parsnips and apples, and the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized pot.  Warm the mixture and puree for a velvety smooth texture.  You can use an immersion stick, or your blender to get the job done.

  3. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls, and garnish with chopped nuts, sage and cashew cream or sour cream.  Serve some hot, crusty sourdough to accompany this rich soup.