Carrot, Parsnip and Maple Soup from the Instant Pot

Updated: Jan 10

If you intend to spend much time in France, be sure that you like carrots. A lot. The French love their carrots! I've hauled many pounds of great huge, often dirt-covered carrots out the grocery store home, in eager anticipation of what I'd be using them for. The French know better than those silly little 'baby carrots' - made by cutting away the larger part of the flavorful root. That's wasteful. Go big or go home. And, really, they very often look as though they've just been pulled from the garden. And, forget the 'misters' that you find in U.S. grocery aisles. Turns out that the mist isn't necessarily about keeping the produced fresher (only true for some vegetables) but largely 'theatre' - we often mistake wet and shiny for 'fresher'. This 'hydration' does maintain the 'weight' of the produce, and thereby the price you pay.



I don't believe that I'd ever had carrot soup until I began traveling in France, back in 1971. Or, grated carrot salad. Or, big slabs of tender carrot in a quiche. Yeah. Carrots are a 'thing' in French life and cuisine. But, I've more than made up for it.



This carrot soup isn't particularly difficult, but does require roasting to add a more complex flavor to the carrots and parsnips. Oh, and BTW, the parsnips add a uniquely 'earthy' flavor profile that makes this soup a stand-out. If you don't like parsnips (hard to imagine!) hey, leave 'em out! Just replace them with more carrots.




After cutting up the carrots and parsnips, toss them in a few spoonfuls of maple syrup and miso paste. A grind or two of pepper - and I used green peppercorns here - is a nice addition.

I prefer the 'mellow' white or 'sweet' miso for a soup like this. It's not always easy to find, but you can order it online. It 'keeps' in the fridge 'forever' and is sublime in vinaigrettes or my garbanzo bean 'Buttah'.


If you're plant-based, you really should have miso in your refrigerator at all times. I often add a spoonful here and there to simply add a 'depth' of flavor.


See all of that golden brown goodness? AKA 'flavor'? That's after about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The vegetables come out pretty tender, but we're not finished extracting maximum flavor from them yet. Set them aside.




Now's the time to sauté the onion, celery and apple in your Instant Pot. The Sauté setting is for 10 minutes, but I only needed about 5 minutes of that. Then, I added the roasted carrots and parsnips.



For the remaining Sauté time, give all the vegetables a bit of love and turning before you add the broth, cider, maple syrup. And, another spoonful of miso. Stir and taste. Add the Bay Leaf, ground celery seed and the raw cashews. Set the valve to Seal, pressure to High and cook for 4-5 minutes. You've just extracted even more flavor from those roasted vegetables!



When you are done with the pressure cooking, transfer the cooking broth and vegetables to a high-speed mixer and blend to a creamy consistency. If it's too thick for you, add more water, broth or plant milk to thin. Taste and adjust seasonings. It's just fine to add more maple syrup. I won't tell a soul.


This soup keeps several days in the fridge, and is perfect served 'simply' (my mantra!) with rustic, whole-grain bread.


But, if you must, it works with a crunchy salad, too. That salad is comprised of: Shaved Brussel sprouts (get the big 'leafy' ones!), torn fresh spinach leaves, radishes (in keeping with a French culinary theme?), Raddichio, pickled Peruvian peppers and a simple vinaigrette made from my leftover flavored (with ginger, green Cardomon seed and saffron) simple syrup from poaching tangerine peels the other day, and some white wine vinegar. Oh. My. Some Fines Herbes blend and a grind or two of pepper made it complete.

BTW: This soup freezes really well for a month or more.


And, if you didn't believe me about big carrots in quiche, this is a friend in Vichy, France. She served up quiche for lunch one day and it had tender 'planks' of carrot all through it, along with some eggplant and zucchini. Oh, and see how 'high' real quiche is? Yeah. Not the wimpy short kind.


Ingredients 3 large carrots and 2 large parsnips, cut into approximately 1 to 1-½ inch pieces

½ large onion, diced

1-2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large apple, your choice, cored and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons reduced sodium or Sweet or White Miso

1 cup apple cider

½ cup (or more to your liking) maple syrup

3 cups low sodium vegetable or No-Chicken Chikin broth

1-½ cups raw cashews

¼ tsp of ground celery seed powder

1 Bay leaf

OPTIONAL: 2 teaspoons of ground Everything But Salt Blend from SaltySavorySweet, The Spice & Tea Shop in Reno, NV

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

A splash or two or three plant milk to attain desired consistency

NOTE: You might need more broth/water/plant milk to attain the consistency that you prefer. Just remember to adjust seasonings.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and chop parsnips and celery. Toss in enough maple syrup and a bit of miso to coat. On a baking sheet, roast 30-40 minutes, or until edges are browned and vegetables almost tender.

Prep the onion, celery and apple. Sauté in the Instant Pot for about 5 minutes. Add the roasted carrots and parsnips, broth, cider, maple syrup and miso.

Set Instant Pot valve to seal, and Pressure on High for 5 minutes.

When done, allow for Natural Release.

Remove lid, and process in a high speed blender.

Taste. Adjust seasonings. This is where I’ll generally add more maple syrup. And, probably a few splashes of plant milk.


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Thanks!

roasted carrot and maple soup
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