I originally published this recipe five years ago, and it remains one of my favorite wintertime soups. I’ve really been craving it lately, so I figured it was the perfect time to revisit the recipe and take new pics.
The original recipe called for a bit of butter when assembling the base of the soup; I have since simplified and stuck with olive oil. I also like to cut the veggies into bigger, more rustic chunks these days. This soup just lends itself to that casual treatment.
Total comfort in a bowl. That’s what this winter vegetable soup is all about.
And we’ve needed a little dose of comfort food around here, because day after day has been seriously dreary. Pelting rain, sharp gusts, charcoal clouds, rivers filled to the brim.
Once every few days, the clouds part and the sun peeks through. Everyone rushes outside to put up holiday decorations or just turn their faces up to the sun for a moment before the marble-sized raindrops return. And before we know it, they do return.
And so: thank goodness for our toasty houses. Thank goodness for pine-scented candles and cheery Christmas lights and soft flannel pajama pants. Thank goodness for the oh-so occasional sun break. And thank goodness for cozy, comforting dishes. You know, like this one.
This hearty winter vegetable chowder features a dream-team of roasted vegetables: butternut squash, parsnips, fennel, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Onions and vegetable broth give the soup a great base of robust flavor (and the vegetable broth, of course, keeps it vegetarian).
Potatoes give the soup that signature chowder creaminess without adding fat. And the earthy fresh thyme complements all those wonderfully caramelized roasted veggies oh-so perfectly.
I just love thyme in creamy winter soups. I don’t think I could quit it if I tried.
So! Storm-a-brewing in your neck of the woods? Brew up some of this soup and serve it with some warm crusty bread and a simply-dressed green salad for dinner tonight.
Oh, and top your meat-eater’s serving with a little crumbled bacon if you like.
Rustic Roasted Winter Vegetable Chowder
- 1/2 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice) (about 2 cups)
- 3 medium parsnips (peeled, cut into 1-inch dice) (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium sweet potato (peeled, cut into 1-inch dice) (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch dice) (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 fennel bulb (quartered & sliced thin) (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 medium onion (diced) (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth (here's how to make your own with veggie scraps)
- 2 medium russet potatoes (peele, cut into 3/4-inch dice) (about 2 cups) (I've also used Yukon Golds, delicious and no need to peel!)
- 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%, but anything from nonfat to whole should work just fine or unsweetened plain almond milk)
- Additional salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- More pepper + thyme leaves for garnish
- Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, and fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast until tender and browned in places, about 40 minutes, turning a couple of times while roasting.
- While the veggies are roasting, prepare the base of the soup. To a large saucepan over low heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the vegetable broth. Add the potatoes and thyme. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Pick out the thyme stems and discard.
- Stir in the roasted vegetables. Carefully transfer about 3 cups of the chowder to the pitcher of a blender. Puree until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to the pot and stir to combine. The soup should be thick, rich, and creamy.
- Stir in the milk. Place the pot back on the burner, and, with the heat on medium-low, return to a simmer, stirring often to prevent burning.
- Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve garnished with an additional turn of cracked pepper and thyme leaves. Sometimes, I'll reserve a few of the roasted veggies for garnish too.
Vegan/dairy-free option:Use unsweetened almond milk instead of dairy milk.
Meat option:Top with bacon.
Originally published December 3, 2012. Updated November 30, 2017.