twitter facebook instagram

Nigella Lawson’s deliciously easy parsnip and spinach soup

Polished wooden bowl of vibrant green spinach soup.

I’ve made a lot of soups over the years and I’ve cooked with spinach on the odd occasion – I don’t know why I don’t use it more, maybe because freezer space is at a premium and I’d rather store a tub of icecream than a healthy green veg? After making this soup, that has to change.

It’s taken from Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Special on the BBC – annoyingly the recipe for this soup isn’t available on the website, only in the book so until I get my butt in gear and find it at the library, this version will have to do. I think it’s fairly accurate but since it’s fast, healthy and delicious, who could ask for anything more?

Ingredients [serves four]

  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped into about 1 inch chunks
  • 2 pints (1.1 litre) (5 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • About 200g frozen spinach (~ 5 balls)
  • 2 teaspoons of either smoked garam masala or ordinary garam masala


  1. Peel and chop the parsnips, place in a saucepan and add the stock.
  2. Bring to the boil then simmer until the parsnips are soft (about 20 minutes).
  3. Add garam masala and spinach and cook the spinach.
  4. Blitz with a stick blender and serve immediately. (If you don’t use a stick blender, transfer the vegetables and stock to the processor and blend them there.)


  • For the meat eating community: since black pudding is now being hailed as the latest “superfood” for 2016, this is another soup to which you could add a grilled or fried slice or two crumbled over the top before serving. Or bacon. Because, bacon.
  • If you’re really hungry, a poached egg on toast makes a wonderful companion dish.
  • I’m going to try this with other vegetables, especially on “clear out the straggling veg from the bottom of the fridge” day. Carrots, turnips, potatoes, all the rooties are fair game for this I think. Leeks, celery, brocolli… is there nothing that won’t go with spinach and garam masala? I don’t think.
  • Double up and freeze leftovers in single portions for a lovely lunchtime treat (it works really well in thermos flasks).

Photo credit: Luca Nebuloni via Visual hunt / CC BY

43 folk with very good taste liked this recipe!

6 responses to “Nigella Lawson’s deliciously easy parsnip and spinach soup”

  1. Sar says:

    When does the garlic go in? Do you sautée it briefly first?

  2. It’s been so long since I made this soup, I can’t remember! I think I put them in with the parsnips but it’s a good idea of yours to sautée them separately and add them before blitzing.

    This episode is probably being repeated here in the UK this December, I’ll try and find a showing and update the recipe accordingly.

  3. Margaret says:

    I have now made this several times; it is so easy and delicious. Just made it with homemade garam masala which had more of a ‘kick’.

  4. Margaret, I’m sure that homemade garam masala would be nicer than most shop bought, especially as it’s likely to be fresher.

    I’ve ordered extra parsnips for Christmas week so that I can make a few batches of spicy soup for the freezer – really looking forward to making this one again.

  5. Haydn John Williams says:

    I just watched this tonight, 24th Dec 2018. Got all the ingredients in except the garam masala, so i think I’ll try a different spice, maybe ginger, mix spice or similar. I’ll play it by ear. Plan to do it on Boxing Day.

  6. Haydn, ground ginger, coriander, cumin, curry powder are all great substitutes for garam masala – here’s one recipe from the BBC Good Food site:

    I’m sure it’ll turn out beautifully – best of luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.