Cooking, Light Bites, Soup
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Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup

Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup

Salsify is a most underrated vegetable. It’s ugly, and it’s awkward. It’s like a stroppy teenager that refuses to wash. It’s not much fun to prep and goes off colour really easily. Dark brown and holding onto every bit of dirt, I had some ground into my palms which took so much scrubbing, I  think I’ve lost some layers of skin. It requires a lot of TLC. Putting it mildly. 

So, why bother?

Once  you crack it and this shy vegetable shows you it’s smile, you can’t help but fall in love with it. Tender and delicate, it’s often referred to as the oyster of the vegetable kingdom as it’s reported to have a similar flavour. I find it a little nutty, and so I like to pair it with roast garlic, which I think compliments it well. Once you take the beast that is garlic with some firm roasting, so that it relaxes and releases a sweetness, it holds hands with the salsify in this soup, and they become the best of friends. They don’t overpower each other, it’s a very delicate soup.

This aside, I wanted this to be a robust little soup, thick with lots of flavour, and I really wanted it to be healthy too. So, I added lentils and a carrot and a potato, along with the base shallots. I used a light chicken stock but you could substitute vegetable if you would like a vegetarian soup. 

This would serve 4 very healthy portions. Nice with good crusty bread.


700g salsify, unpeeled
1 bulb garlic
2 large shallots or 4 small, finely chopped
2l light chicken stock
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
100g red lentils
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of thyme
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil for frying


Scrub, scrub, scrub that salsify. Peel, taking care not to strip too much of the skin. Chop into one inch sections and leave in acidulated water (water with a squeeze of lemon), so that it doesn’t discolour.

Roast the garlic. I like to roast at 180 degrees, it takes about 20 minutes. Slice the top off a bulb of garlic, exposing the top of each clove and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast and allow to cool, then squeeze each clove out of it’s papery jacket. I adore roast garlic. It should really have a post all of it’s own.

Saute the shallots in the olive oil until translucent. Add the carrots and potato for a couple of minutes. After, add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, garlic cloves, lentils and salsify.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the salsify is tender. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and blitz in a blender. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serve with some thyme leaves as a garnish. I added a swirl of olive oil but cream would work really well too.





  1. I also find it nutty, not really oystery though! I love salsify, I usually use it in a gratin but I love the pairing with roast garlic. Delicious combo. It is a total pain in the backside, but totally worth it I agree, poor ugly little sucker!

  2. Salsify – this is a really interesting artice….informative. I’ve never used it, I see it pretty often on menus in restaurants – but to be honest I’m not even sure Ive seen it in the supermarket or local Greengrocer to buy.

    Amusingly – on the BBC Food website they have this advice to the consumer searching for some salsify…

    “Can’t find it? – Try scorzonera”

    What the hell is that?!!! – sounds like some kind of skin complaint.

    Where can I get some salsify to try this recipe out?
    I’m intrigued now and have to get some.

  3. Paulineh says

    Salsify isnt easy to get in my town either but I remember seeing the name once so Ill pick some up next time I see it and try this soup out it really sounds very tasty. I just love garlic so I know I will like the soup.

    I am giving away an ebook on soups at the moment if you want to try some new recipes. You can get it at my crock pot meals site at
    Thanks for this recipe it sounds yummy and something just a little different

  4. I’ve just been reading posts about steak and chips, fish and chips and chips (National Chip Week is coming up soon). What a refreshing change. The soup sounds and looks really good. Be careful writing up your seasoning though. It sounds like something people pay serious money for on a Saturday night.

  5. browners says

    I love your photo. Great spoon. It looks delicious. I have never cooked salsify but you have inspired me to do so.

    Top stuff.

  6. Stefan says

    With black salsify at least, peel it while submerged in slightly acidic water (vinegar). No stains on hands or peeler, and no discouloring of the root.

  7. Do you know, I’m not sure I’ve ever even tasted salsify, let alone cooked with it!? Intrigued now. And how can anything combined with roast garlic be a bad thing??

  8. Salsify features in every Ramsay book I have but I also have never seen it first hand. Maybe that’s because I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I think an investigation in Whole Foods mght be in order…

  9. Helen – agreed, have never really got that oyster flavour! I could see it being delicious in a gratin, must try that soon. Thanks!

    Dan – haha! It’s just another name for it. I usually get it in Borough market, Farmer’s markets and I spotted it in Selfridge’s yesterday.

    aforfulofspaghetti – thanks! see my reply to Dan above.

    Paulineh – thanks! let me know how it goes and thanks for the info.

    Trig – thanks! Lol – l’ll be more careful with my seasoning descriptions :-)

    browners – thanks! enjoy.

    Stefan – I did that! This salsify was so caked in dirt it became part of my skin. The root was sparkling white though!

    Jeanne – you’ll have to rectify that! Roast garlic rocks. I’ve gone through 5 bulbs in one week.

    Ros – it’s actually fairly easy to find in London markets and in the department store food halls. Whole foods will certainly have it. Enjoy!

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  11. I love salsify and scorzonera.. but they are tough to prepare. I have never seen Scorzonera here in Dublin but maybe Sarah we can persuade Marc Michel to grow some for us. I believe thatit is hard enough to grow and am not going to try it myself,. Scorzonera is the root that has the oyster taste more so than salsify. It is regarded as a real delicacy in Germany (where I have often eaten it and is known there as schwarz wurtzel). It is usually simply boiled and eaten with butter. Try it sometime but make sure you wear gloves to prepare it, layer newspaper to catch the sticky stuff it oozes and remove the spines.

  12. I love salsify. It is working class asparagus.
    I had it for the first time in France during an all night meal, called a nuit blanche, for christmas eve.
    It was slathered in butter and so soft and delicate.

  13. I adore salsifies, I love this white vegetable! It is really undersestimated here in Belgium but its taste is superb! In belgium, they call this vegetable the poor man’s asparagus! I love your soup!

    • niamheen says

      Salsify is delicious! Interesting that you say that it’s poor mans
      asparagus as it’s quite expensive in the UK!

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  15. Venomkitty says

    Just made this with the salsify I got in my veg box. Any city greengrocer catering for communities of differing origins should have it, but I get it delivered sometimes which is much more handy than going looking for it!
    Extremely tasty soup – I perhaps used too much thyme so I’ll put a wee bit less in next time – but overall delicious and nutritious!!

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  17. Found your recipe whilst searching for what to do with some black salsify that came in my veg box. What a fantastic soup! I regularly roast garlic but had never thought to include it in a soup – it gives such a lovely gentle garlicky flavour, I’ll definitely be doing it again. After being scared by the salsify I’m now positively looking forward to getting it again! Thanks.

  18. I have seen these mysterious looking vegetables in the supermarket here in Belgium for awhile now and thankfully a friend with a veggie-coop box had some extra ones. In flemish they’re called schorseneren and I consider them a forgotten vegetable. A quick search for a nice dish led me to your website. How could I not make a soup where the garlic and the schorseneren hold hands?! I must admit I didn’t follow it word for word, but the result was a delight. (and the garlic lovely!)
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. My parents used to grow salsify in their garden and then my Mom would can it as she did carrots. She would then make a soup with it that did remind me of lite oyster flavor, my family knew this to be a regular vegetable and soup at our home.

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  21. Memory Russell says

    I made this soup from salsify I grew in my garden. I love it and wish I had grown more salsify!

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