Vegetables Over-Board: Mushroom & Parsnip Soup

My recipe for Mushroom & Parsnip Soup began in a crowded fashion.   Crowding the pan is a culinary faux-pas, a sure-fire way to end up with a mix of temperatures and potentially uncooked foods.  Might I suggest an additional culinary blunder – crowding the cutting board.  Enter Exhibit “A”:

Exhibit A - Veggies Over-Board

Though I ambitiously harbored the chopped onion and shallot on the cutting board as well, these ingredients quickly found their way into the pan as I realized my naivety.  Rather than use additional housewares (i.e. bowls) to hold each ingredient as I chop away in preparation, I remained hopeful that I could finish this recipe with one or two less dishes left to clean.  I hate doing dishes.  Yet rather than having to scrub a few extra bowls or another cutting board, I ended up cleaning vegetables off the floor, counter-top and stove.

Crowding aside, the inspiration for this recipe came from my best friend who suggested I make a Mushroom Barley soup when I grumbled about all the mushrooms I acquired from my recent Greensgrow CSA share.  Though I used a couple handfuls of mushrooms over the weekend, they were still numerous in their brown bag.  Soup was a perfect way to utilize this fungus (sounds appetizing, no?).  Rather than barley to complement the mushrooms, I opted for parsnips to provide a mildly sweet, herbal taste to balance the earthiness of the mushrooms. 

I adapted this recipe from the Green Earth Institute.

Mushroom & Parsnip Soup


  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups beef broth plus 1 cup water
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Prepare and chop vegetables as above.
  2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and shallots and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add parsnips and mushrooms, cook 10 minutes on medium-low.
  5. Add broth, cover and cook 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  6. Puree soup in processor or use a hand blender to thicken.  Bring to a boil over medium heat to finish cooking.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with sliced mushroom caps, minced onions, or some whole grain crackers – as I did.

Nutrition Note:

Did you ever think a fungus would be good for you?  Mushrooms contain some key B vitamins for health:

  • Riboflavin (B2) – important for body growth, red blood cell production and releasing energy from carbohydrates.
  • Niacin (B3) – assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves.
  • Pantothenate (B5) – essential to growth and helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fat for energy.

There’s also evidence that mushrooms help immune function and may decrease tumor size in prostate and breast cancers.

Good-for-You Fungus

2 responses to “Vegetables Over-Board: Mushroom & Parsnip Soup

  1. Your description of your less than perfect methodology brought smiles to my lips. Who likes doing dishes! One does wonder, however, after your description of your preperation and picture of the results, what you thought of your recipe as far as taste and likeability?

  2. Mushrooms and parsnips! Now those are unlikely allies. I am so jealous that you get mushrooms in your CSA. I don’t think they grow here in AZ. There is also a great mushroom soup recipe in the Moosewood cookbook (the first one). It’s dark and I haven’t made it for a long time but my husband really loved it.

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