This soup from the Vegan Christmas cookbook is sure to be a holiday party hit, as “the vanilla works so well with the earthy creaminess of the parsnip.”

Recipe and photo excerpted with permission from Vegan Christmas by Gaz Oakley, published by Quadrille Publishing, October 2018.

“A daring combination of parsnip and vanilla that I came up with during my time at Le Gallois restaurant,” says Gaz Oakley in his new cookbook Vegan Christmas. This soup is sure to be a hit at holiday get-togethers, as “the vanilla works so well with the earthy creaminess of the parsnip.”

Parsnip And Vanilla Soup

Serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil or water
  • 4 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 parsnips, peeled and chopped into ¾-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Scant 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Scant 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper

To serve:

  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary


Heat the oil or water in a saucepan over medium heat, then sweat the shallots and garlic until translucent. Add some seasoning, the parsnips and thyme sprigs. Turn the heat down very low and cover the saucepan. Sweat the parsnips until they’re almost soft, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. Add the stock and milk, and stir to combine. Split the vanilla pod down the middle lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the back of your knife. Add the seeds and the pod to the saucepan, bring the soup to the boil, then take it off the heat and scoop out the vanilla pod. Carefully pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into your saucepan and check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to bring out the flavors. Serve in warmed bowls or mugs, sprinkled with the hazelnuts and cranberries, a sprig or two of herbs and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil.