Cauliflower-parsnip soup with mustard seeds

A perfectly sippable winter soup made with a Brassica double whammy of cauliflower and parsnips, this warming concoction was a hit with the kids, and we discovered it’s good-to-go if you take it with you in a travel mug. For a flavour boost, add a rind of Parmesan cheese as the soup simmers – remove it before puréeing.

From Michelle Lafleur, Owen Sound, ON


1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) chopped leeks or onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
4-6 cups (1-1.5 L) vegetable or chicken stock (depending on desired thickness)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup

Topping (optional):
1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame or vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 ml) mustard seeds


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or small pot set over medium-high heat; sauté the onion or leeks for 4–5 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the garlic, potato, cauliflower and parsnips and cook for about 5 minutes. 3. Add stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are softened, about 20–30 minutes.

4. Remove bay leaf, add the lemon juice and maple syrup and purée with a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot. Optional: Sauté the mustard seeds in sesame oil until the seeds pop, and spoon over each bowl.

Serves 6.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November 2012.

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