Irish Vegetable Soup

Every pub, cafe, and restaurant I visited in Ireland seemed to have a version of this hearty vegetable soup on the menu. It was delicious every time I ate it, but never more so than the day I arrived in Dublin.

I was exhausted from the flight, and by the time I made my way from the airport to the hotel, it was almost noon and I was really hungry. However, I was determined to see the National Gallery before finding a place to get lunch. Luckily, the Gallery has a cafe on site. And since it was cold and rainy outside, soup seemed like a perfect meal.

I was expecting something similar to the American version of vegetable soup–a broth with tomatoes and other mixed vegetables–but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this creamy, potato-based soup.

Photo from

The recipe below is an adaptation of the one found here. I’m not much of a cook, but this soup is not difficult to prepare, and is a good approximation of what I had in Ireland. Every time I eat it, I’m reminded of the great time I had in that beautiful country, and all the nice people I met there.

Irish Vegetable Soup

4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 leeks (white parts only), washed and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup skim milk
1-2 cubes vegetable bouillon
salt and pepper to taste

In a stockpot or large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and leeks, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the parsnips, potatoes, carrots and stock or broth, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in bouillon cubes, then let cool for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. (Or puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the milk, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through.

To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls. It tastes especially good with Irish soda bread!