White Roots Soup with parsley root, celeriac, parsnip, and sunchokes

White Roots Soup with parsley root, celeriac, parsnip, and sunchokes
 Parsley roots (shown here) look like a more rustic white carrot. They can be quite spindly or quite large, like the ones shown here at the McCarren Farmers Market in NYC. Their taste is delicate, often described as the cross between a carrot, parsley and celery. I like to get them with their tops on. Though at this stage, their tops are quite rough for garnishing a dish, they are perfect for creating soup stock. Photo: Joey L. 

Parsley roots (shown here) look like a more rustic white carrot. They can be quite spindly or quite large, like the ones shown here at the McCarren Farmers Market in NYC. Their taste is delicate, often described as the cross between a carrot, parsley and celery. I like to get them with their tops on. Though at this stage, their tops are quite rough for garnishing a dish, they are perfect for creating soup stock. Photo: Joey L. 

When the fall and winter hit in the Northeast, you'll be hard-pressed to find the summer fruits and veggies that you gorged on just months before. Instead, roots, tubers and bulbs begin to take the stage at farmers markets—and these often charismatically ugly vegetables can be intimidating for the novice cook. However, these underground dwellers are nutrient dense, and particularly good for one's gut biome.

Roots like parsley root, celeriac, sunchokes and even the more familiar parsnip can seem intimidating, but given our familiarity with carrots, they shouldn't be, especially since they can be prepared in much the same way.

Root vegetables such as these give a much broader flavor profile to our culinary escapades, while also giving our gut biome a big treat. Roots, particularly sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes as they are also called), are particularly high in inulin, which is a long-chain oligosaccharide that acts as a prebiotic, which is essentially food for your gut biome. This is important, particularly because a healthy gut biome, (which I talk more about on my other site at sugardetox.me), has been shown to prevent all sorts of diseases. As a matter of fact, the cells that make up our gut are numerous. Up until last year, it was often cited that our body's bacterial cells outnumbered our own cells 9:1 or 10:1, but a newer study finds that they're equal in number to one another. Whatever the case, that's a lot of bacteria, and therefore A LOT of mouths to feed, so might as well make them happy. 

This particular recipe, White Roots Soup, came out of my desire to use all those luscious, overlooked white roots and tubers that line farmers market rows in the late autumn and winter. So if you build up some gustatory gumption, try this out! There are subtle undertones of the sweeter roots, like parsnip, parsley root and celeriac, but the nutty flavor of the sunchokes really stand out, so if you'd like something less nutty, then opt for smaller sunchokes. 🌿

 I know the celeriac (celery root) looks more like the nose of a star-nosed mole or some creature from  Star Wars,  but once you cut off it's tentacles and its gnarled sides, it provides a smooth, white inside and a subtle, celery taste. 

I know the celeriac (celery root) looks more like the nose of a star-nosed mole or some creature from Star Wars, but once you cut off it's tentacles and its gnarled sides, it provides a smooth, white inside and a subtle, celery taste. 

 It's a little challenging to tell parsnips and parsley roots apart, unless they come with their tops on. Seen here in this frame from far left to right: Celeriac, parsley roots, and parsnips. 

It's a little challenging to tell parsnips and parsley roots apart, unless they come with their tops on. Seen here in this frame from far left to right: Celeriac, parsley roots, and parsnips. 

 Sunchokes are the tubers of a plant in the sunflower family. They have been gaining popularity among restaurants, so you can often find them now in farmers markets around urban centers. Though they are gnarly on the outside, they peel relatively easily with a sharp knife and cut smoothly. 

Sunchokes are the tubers of a plant in the sunflower family. They have been gaining popularity among restaurants, so you can often find them now in farmers markets around urban centers. Though they are gnarly on the outside, they peel relatively easily with a sharp knife and cut smoothly. 


White roots soup

35 minutes | 4 servings | vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced 
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, pureed 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced 
  • 8 cups homemade vegetable broth, divided 
  • 2 parsley roots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and julienned 
  • 2 sunchokes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Add the olive oil to a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and stir until the onions are fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, being careful that it doesn't burn. 
  2. Next add the celery and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups of the vegetable broth and then add all the root vegetables, except for the sunchokes. Let simmer over low to medium heat in the broth for about 15 minutes, letting them soften.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and then add the sunchokes. Let simmer in broth for another 15 minutes. 
  5. Turn off the soup and add to a high-power blender or food processor (or you can use an immersion blender) and blend until the soup is puréed nicely. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve in cups or bowls. 
 The creamy white soup is a flavor unlike any other. The sunchokes are a real standout too against the sweeter, subtler flavors of the other roots. 

The creamy white soup is a flavor unlike any other. The sunchokes are a real standout too against the sweeter, subtler flavors of the other roots.