Parsnips, the hearty, starchy root veggie, aren’t often associated with warm-weather dishes. However, Lee Watson, chef, TV personality, and author of Peace and Parsnips: Adventurous Vegan Cooking for Everyone($17;, has found a way to make them deliciously light and creamy in his (vegan!) Fennel, Dill, and Saffron Soup.

"I tend to stockpile saffron when I’m in Spain and then hoard it for no apparent reason," he writes. "It’s a precious commodity and is so labor-intensive to harvest. It really cannot be replicated and adds an element of luxury to everything it graces."

As for the recipe's other main ingredients, "the cauliflower adds a lovely smoothness without the weightiness of potatoes—it’s a little trick I like to use," Watson says. "And tofu adds a creamy richness to any soup. You won’t believe this is all plant!”

A creamy soup with no cream? We'll take it. Read on below for the recipe.

Soup Recipe 1

Fennel, Dill, and Saffron Soup

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 medium bulbs of fennel, cut into chunks
1 small cauliflower, roughly chopped (including the stem)
1 tsp curry powder
3/4–1 tsp saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp warm water
Scant 1/2 cup white wine (vegan)
3 1/3–4 1/4 cups vegetable stock
5 oz silken tofu
1/2 a handful of fresh dill or fennel fronds, chopped


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium-low and add the onions. Cook them for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the fennel, cauliflower and curry powder, stir and cook for 5 minutes, then add the saffron (with its soaking water) and white wine. Bring to a boil and pour in the stock, then cook at a low simmer with a lid on for 25–30 minutes, until the fennel is tender.

2. Add the tofu and most of the dill, and allow to warm through. Then, using an immersion blender, blitz the soup until smooth, loosening the consistency with more stock if needed.

3. Serve topped with a light scattering of dill or fennel fronds.

Recipe from Peace & Parsnips: Adventurous Vegan Cooking For Everyone Lee Watson, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

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