Peel parsnips and remove tough woody core. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside. Halve a medium onion, peel it and cut roughly into sixths.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat; add onion, and saute until soft and brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped parsnips to the pan and saute with the onion until parsnips begin to brown slightly.
Add 2 cups vegetable broth and 1/2 cup almond milk, plus more as desired for creaminess. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 teaspoons ground cardamom. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until parsnips are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
When parsnips are soft, remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or food processor / regular blender) until you reach a smooth consistency.
Garnish with caramelized shallots. To prepare: thinly slice 2 shallots and saute with olive oil until soft; add 1 tsp maple syrup and cook until browned and caramelized.