This Root Vegetable & Fennel Soup For All Seasons is a favorite of mine throughout the year. It’s quick and easy to prepare, full-flavored, and has the versatility to be served hot or cold. The sweetness of the fennel and carrot in this soup is perfectly complemented by the acidity and richness of the marsala wine and peppery bite of the turnip. As a cold soup in the summer it pairs well with finely diced capsicum, fennel fronds and finished roasted nuts and a drizzle of olive oil; in the winter it’s a lovely warm creamy soup for dipping crusty bread in.
Since this soup is pureed in the end, you can roughly chop your vegetables before adding them and shorten the prep time.
I used marsala wine but if you are unable to find marsala, then madeira, sherry or vermouth will also work with slight variations to the flavor. The fortified wine provides the acidity and a bit of added richness to the soup. For vegan marsala, try Cribari out of California or check Barnivore for other alternatives. If you’re uncertain about whether a wine is vegan, it never hurts to contact the producer or distributor and ask.
Root Vegetable & Fennel Soup For All Seasons
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
- 2 medium-size fennel bulbs, fronds attached* See Step 1
- 2 celery stalks, diced (about 4 ounces)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces pound carrots, diced
- 8 ounces (about 2 medium) turnips, peeled and diced
- 8 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons marsala wine* (see substitution)
- 5 cups vegetable stock (Edward & Sons Non-Chick’n Bouillon)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive oil and fennel fronds for garnish
Before slicing your fennel, remove and reserve 1 tablespoon of fennel fronds to be used for garnish. Then remove the stalks and the base so all you have left is the white bulb. The stalks can be saved in the refrigerator and used for making broths, the base should be discarded. Now, taking your bulbs, remove and roughly chop the outer layers. You will not use the inner core of the fennel, this can be saved for future recipes or in smoothies.
Heat the olive oil and vegan butter over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the leek, fennel and celery. Cook, stirring until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add ¼ tsp salt to draw out liquid from the vegetables. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add carrots, turnips, potatoes, bay leaves, marsala wine and ¼ tsp salt to the pot, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree in your cooking pot until very smooth. If using a regular blender, blend in small batches and return to the stove top or refrigerate afterwards. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, topping each bowl with fennel fronds and drizzle of olive oil. Soup stores well and is great leftover.
Advance preparation: This will keep for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator.
Marsala wine substitution: Other fortified wines such as madeira, sherry, or vermouth are good substitutes if you do not have marsala. Check Barnivore or contact the winery directly to confirm your fortified wine is vegan.
Garnish variations: Freshly chopped capsicum, roasted nuts, bread crumbs, fried shallots, herbs or simply a drizzle of olive oil
Almond-Panko garnish: In the photographs, the garnish is made of toasted almonds, panko bread crumbs and fennel fronds. Season them with salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake them on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 275 F until slightly golden.