So, I’m currently drooling over this Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup recipe as I write today’s blog post for two reasons: The first reason being that it’s a super comforting, creamy, and cozy Fall soup that is Paleo and AIP-friendly. It’s essentially two soup recipes in one that you end up swirling together and topping with crispy fried sage leaves. Use it as a starter, a side, or even a light main course. Mmmm…
The second reason this soup looks SO delicious is that I haven’t eaten any solid food in almost 2 days. (!!!) So yeah, this thick and flavorful soup is like heaven to my starving self. In fact, gnawing on my computer keyboard is even looking appealing at this point! 😉 Perhaps I should explain…
I’m not trying to lose weight in some extreme way or experiment with diets just for the fun of it. This bone broth fast is the latest phase in my health journey. (And my least favorite so far!) In the past, I’ve gone gluten-free, Paleo, and recently, AIP. Now, I’m entering into a modified and condensed GAPS diet. This phase is (thankfully) only two weeks long and it kicked off with a two-day bone broth and water fast, which I’m currently finishing up as I write this.
So, what is the GAPS diet and how will it help my health issues?
GAPS stands for “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.” In a nutshell, it’s an intensive gut-healing diet that focuses on eliminating what is bad inside your digestive system and replacing it with nutrient-rich foods to repair the damage to intestinal lining. Our guts are like a second brain, as weird as that sounds. When something is off in your gut, it can wreak havoc on your entire body. That is exactly what I’ve been experiencing since April of this year. My hormones have been off, I’ve had heart pains and heart racing, and extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, and stomach pain.
I began the AIP (autoimmune protocol-read more about that here) in July and just last month noticed major improvement in my symptoms. Hooray! What I found out on AIP was that the main culprit behind my symptoms was bad gut bacteria, including strains of candida and pneumonia. While AIP has definitely helped ease my symptoms and build up my immune system, it alone can’t solve all my problems. So, I’ve reached the point where it’s time to attack and kill off the gut bacteria and restore my body from the dreaded “leaky gut” issues I’ve had. And so begins fasting and two weeks of GAPS.
What will I be eating on GAPS?
Two words: bone broth. Well, not JUST that, but primarily broth and broth-based soups and stews. GAPS is centered around nutrient-rich bone broth, where everything is cooked in it. So, I’ll be eating meat and non-fibrous veggies cooked in broth, with additions of coconut oil, animal fat, and limited herbs. Super basic. The point of all this fasting and soup-eating is to starve the bad gut bacteria that has been plaguing my digestive system. The nutrients from the broth and animal fats will help repair the lining of my intestines and hopefully I won’t have to deal with these issues ever again!
Even though I’ve only just begun the GAPS diet, I feel like God is already teaching me a few lessons:
1) Fasting is humbling and makes me SO thankful for what I have.
I’m a girl who loves her “creature comforts.” I’m also a foodie. If you visit my house, you will not go hungry. I absolutely love food and the joy of eating. I’m more of a “live to eat” than an “eat to live” person, if I’m being honest! While the AIP diet had limited what I could eat, I still was very blessed to get to enjoy most of my favorite foods whenever I wanted. So, having to give up all food except broth for two days, followed by simple soups for a couple weeks is a challenge! And yet, this diet has given me a new sense of appreciation for the abundance and variety of food that we have available every day. And a gratefulness for simple things like chewing and feeling full. Especially since there are many in our world who go hungry every day without a choice.
2) “Man shall not live on bread alone…”
If you haven’t noticed, part of my Fed and Fulfilled logo is from Matthew 4:4 in the Bible. I chose this tagline partly because I can’t eat normal bread due to celiac disease. (And this week, I can’t eat much of anything!) But on a deeper level, I picked it because the rest of the verse states that we should live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” This verse couldn’t be more perfect for this chapter of my life!
When Jesus spoke these words, he was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days- which I can’t fathom after struggling with a 2-day fast! Jesus was tired and hungry and being tempted by Satan, who wanted him to turn stones into bread to end his hunger. Could Jesus have easily done that? Sure. (Much like if I wanted to, I could just grab a bag of plantain chips and say goodbye to this diet!) But Jesus saw the bigger picture – that giving into his physical hunger would show a lack of restraint and willpower, which would have been contrary to God’s plan for him in that moment. Instead, he counters Satan, saying “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
How often do we need to see the bigger picture and overcome our fleeting desires? For me, quite often! Especially during my health journey. The great thing is, I don’t have to do this alone. Not only do we have a Savior who knows EXACTLY what it feels like to be hungry, weak, drained, or tired, but we have a Savior who has overcome temptation and hardships with absolute perfection, in full obedience to God’s will. And that’s because Jesus knew that he needed God’s word so much more than physical nourishment as sustenance for life. What an example for us all. In my lowest points, it’s been a comfort to remember that the Lord knows how I’m feeling, is with me through it all, and can fill me up with His healing words even when my body is empty.
3) I’ll do whatever it takes to get well!
If someone had told me a year ago that I would be eating broth and soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for half of October, I would have laughed in their face. And now, after months of liver, sea vegetables, sardines, chicken hearts, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, not much phases me with food these days! I realize how far I’ve come. I will eat any food and try any diet if it brings me one step closer to good health. Even if it means temporary discomfort. Even if it means undesirable circumstances. Even if it means radical changes to my lifestyle. Because my prayer is that one day, I’ll look back on this difficult year and realize that it was all worth it.
Life lessons aside, it’s pretty ironic that I just happened to be posting a soup recipe today, since I’ll be eating soup for the next two weeks! While I created this soup before I knew I was going on the GAPS diet, it could be adapted to fit GAPS by subbing cauliflower and/or carrots for the parsnips – see my recipe notes below. That said, bring on the soup! 🙂
To begin this Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup, you’ll want to peel and chop some parsnips. If you’ve never worked with parsnips, they are like big, white carrots. They have a sweet flavor like carrots, but are a little more firm and starchy. I absolutely love them in soup! They make a great substitute for potatoes or sweet potatoes, too.
Stick your chopped parsnips in the oven to roast while you make your soup bases. You’ll want a large stockpot for the parsnip soup and a smaller pot for the pumpkin soup. Each soup is delicious separately, in case you want to just make one part of the recipe, but I really liked the two soups swirled together!
In the large stockpot, brown the onions, then add in garlic and sage. Next comes the broth and coconut milk, which you’ll bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in the smaller pot, add the pumpkin soup ingredients and cook on low heat until warm.
Once the parsnips are finished roasting, transfer them into your large pot and let them simmer for a few minutes.
Now, the fun begins because you get to break out your handy immersion blender! (If you don’t have one, I recommend this Cuisinart Hand Blender.) The alternative is to pour the soup into a large blender, but hot soups and blenders can be disastrous, so the hand blender is an easier option!
Blend the parsnip soup until fairly smooth. I left mine thick, with a little texture because that’s how I like my soups. But, feel free to add extra coconut milk or broth if you prefer a thinner soup.
I topped my Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup with crispy fried sage leaves for a festive garnish. To make the fried sage, simply heat some coconut oil or olive oil in a skillet and pan-fry the leaves for a minute or so per side, until they get crisp and darker in color. Let the leaves dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
Once both soups are hot and creamy and the sage is crisp, pour some of each soup into a bowl and swirl them together. Top with sage leaves and there you have it! A colorful, flavorful Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup that is perfect for crisp Fall days and chilly evenings!
Since it’s officially soup season (especially for me right now!), join me this week in savoring luscious spoonfuls of Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup!
- 2 lbs parsnips (about 6 medium/large size)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4-5 cups bone broth (depending on how thick you want your soup)
- sea salt to taste
- 1 can pumpkin
- ½ cup bone broth
- ½ can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- pinch of sea salt
- 10-12 sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel and chop your parsnips and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, garlic and thyme. Roast for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- In a large stockpot, saute onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon coconut oil on medium/high heat until translucent. Add garlic and chopped sage and saute for an additional minute. Add in coconut milk and bone broth. Bring to a simmer, then add in roasted parsnips and sea salt. Allow to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and creamy, adding more broth if necessary.
- In a separate smaller pot, heat canned pumpkin and the rest of the pumpkin soup ingredients. Stir occasionally until simmering, then remove from heat.
- For the fried sage, heat coconut oil in a small skillet and add sage leaves. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until darkened in color and crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
- To serve, ladle parsnip soup into bowls, then add pumpkin soup and swirl together with a spoon. Top each bowl with fried sage leaves.
~To adapt this recipe for a GAPS Diet, substitute cauliflower or carrots for parsnips, boil them instead of roasting, and replace the coconut milk with bone broth. Remove maple syrup and cinnamon from the pumpkin soup and omit the fried sage.
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