Calgary Zoo’s Roasted Parsnip Apple Soup with Walnut Gremolata

Yield: Serves 3-4

There’s something magical about strolling round the Calgary Zoo on a chilly day, then nipping in to Kitamba Café for a piping hot bowl of Executive Chef, James Neilson’s, daily soup.

We’re delighted to bring you the recipe for one of his most popular, and it’s easy to make at home!


50 mL canola oil

750 g parsnips, peeled and medium diced

2-3 Gala apples, peeled, seeded and medium diced

250 g celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

7 g garlic, minced

¾ cup (180 mL) apple juice

4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock

1 Tbs (15 mL) lime juice

50 g sugar

To taste salt and ground black pepper

Walnut Gremolata (For 3-4 portions soup)

½ cup walnuts

½ cup parsley

1 lemon

1/8 tsp garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Season parsnips and apples with salt and pepper and half of the canola oil, and roast in a 350º F oven until evenly browned and tender, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  2. Sautee celery, onion and garlic with the rest of the canola oil until translucent and tender.
  3. Add roasted parsnip, apples, apple juice, vegetable stock, lime juice, and sugar, and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Puree the soup in a blender and season to taste.
  5. Walnut Gremolata
  6. Preheat oven to 350º F
  7. Finely chop walnuts to the size of rice grains, to make about ⅓ cup. Place on a dry baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring once or twice.
  8. Rinse parsley and pat dry between sheets of paper towel and finely chop to measure ¼ cup. Place in small bowl.
  9. Remove yellow part of lemon zest with a zester or fine grater. Add to parsley.
  10. Stir in cooled walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Place on top of soup, shared between the bowls.


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