Parsnip Apple & Fennel Soup with Cucumber Salad

This Parsnip Apple & Fennel Soup from is a season stretcher. It's creamy & comforting, but chilled & topped with cucumber salad, it's light & bright, too.



For the soup:

  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml avocado oil
  • 1 small – medium yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 lb / 568 g Granny Smith apples (about 2 large)
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 1 3/4 lbs / 795 g parsnips (about 5)
  • 56 cups / 1.2 – 1.44 L pale chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp / 5 g fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon

For the salad:

To garnish:


  1. RESERVE: Cut the stalks from the fennel bulb and pop them into a mason jar filled with a little water at room temperature. Reserve them for garnishing later.
  2. SOFTEN: In a large soup pot, heat the avocado oil over medium low heat. Dice the onion and add it to the pot, stirring to coat in the oil. Peel the apples, cut them into eighths and discard the cores. Chop the apples and add them to the pot with the onions. Chop the fennel bulb into quarters through the root and shave off and discard the tough core. Finely slice the fennel and add it to the pot, discarding the root ends. Stir the onion, apple and fennel mixture so that it’s coated with oil and reduce the heat if necessary so that it softens, but doesn’t color.
  3. SIMMER: Peel the parsnips and discard the tops. Slice them finely. If your parsnips are on the larger side, cut the wider ends into quarters and slice out & discard the tougher, woody inner sections. Add the sliced parsnips to the pot, along with 5 cups / 1.2 L of the broth, the salt and dried tarragon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the parsnips have softened, about 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. BLEND: Remove the soup from the heat and taste, adjusting seasonings if necessary. Allow to cool slightly before carefully transferring the soup, in batches if necessary, to the pitcher of a high powered blender. Blend until completely smooth, making sure to leave plenty of space in the pitcher and allowing steam to escape as needed. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add the 6th cup / 240 ml of additional broth and blend again.
  5. CHILL: Transfer the soup into fridge friendly containers. Chill the soup for at least 6 hours or, as I prefer, overnight.
  6. TOSS: When you’re almost ready to serve the soup, mix up the salad. In a small non reactive bowl, add the cucumber, preserved lemons and sliced radishes. Drizzle with the olive oil, the lemon juice or brine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  7. GARNISH: Before serving, I like to give the chilled soup another quick blend as it helps give a lighter texture, especially if you’ve used homemade broth which may have gelled the soup a little. Divide the soup between bowls and top each one with some of the cucumber salad. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and top with some of the reserved fennel fronds before serving.


If you want to serve this soup warmed through, it is still delicious! Just skip the cucumber salad up top and garnish with the fennel fronds and a swirl of olive oil instead.

Preserved lemons are a common ingredient in South Asian and North African cuisines and are made by fermenting lemons in a brine as a preserving method. The result is a tart and more concentrated lemon flavor. You can find them in international markets or purchase them online if you can’t find them locally. You can also make them yourself simply, but they’ll take some time to ferment!

If you can’t get your hands on preserved lemons, you can substitute a teaspoon or so of fresh lemon zest. It won’t give you the fermented boost of the preserved lemons, but zest will still add a zippy brightness to the crunchy cucumbers that will work well.