Watercress Soup

SoupIrishVegetarianWatercress

Watercress soup made with onions, potatoes, a little white wine and bunches of fresh watercress.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of my earliest memories as a kid was my father taking the family out on excursions to Antelope Valley, about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles where we lived.

We used to go out there to pick pears, look at the jack rabbits, and just wander around the rugged terrain.

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There was a creek that ran along where we would hike, and in this creek grew watercress. It was rather miraculous to my six year old brain that we could find what we often ate for salad, growing over boulders, in and around tumbling and churning creek water.

“Well that’s why they call it ‘water’ cress,” explained my dad.

We loved it then, and still do now, though it seems to be more difficult to find in the market these days.

Have you ever had watercress? The real kind with thick stems and a spicy bite?

They sell some aquaculture baby watercress at Whole Foods, but I refuse to buy it because to me it’s not the real stuff. Watercress shouldn’t be delicate, it should pack a punch.

It’s great in a salad with a hot bacon dressing. It also makes a terrific soup. This watercress soup has a potato base and is topped with just a little sour cream.

Watercress Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Watercress can often be found, when in season, in the herb section of the grocery store. The bunches should be thick-stemmed, and the leaves should have a strong, peppery bite to them. The delicate, thin-stemmed baby watercress that some markets carry is not appropriate for this soup.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup white wine, chicken stock, or vegetable stock (wine or veg stock for vegetarian version)
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups fresh watercress, about 1/2 pound, chopped, stems included
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • About 6 tablespoons sour cream, stirred in, or for garnish

Method

1 Cook the onions: In a large pot, heat the butter until frothy, then cook the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Salt the onions as they cook.

cook onions for base of watercress soup

2 Add potatoes, wine/stock, simmer: Add the wine or stock, potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

potatoes cooking in stock in pot for watercress soup

3 Add watercress: Add the watercress to the pot. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.

add chopped watercress to soup in pot

4 Purée the soup: Turn off the heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour the soup in batches into a blender and transfer the blended soup to a clean pot. Be careful when blending hot liquids to only fill the bowl a third of the way, and to hold down the blender's lid while you purée the soup.

puree watercress soup

5 Season and garnish to serve: Add salt to taste, then add the black pepper. You can either stir the sour cream into the whole batch of soup, or serve a tablespoon in the center of each person's bowl.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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33 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Marina kneppers

    Can i sub the potatoes for zuchini? Im trying not to eat potatoes.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Edgar

    I buy the real stuff like you talk about at the indian market for a fraction of the price of the delicate whole foods version. love it stir fried with a little oil and garlic. thank you for sharing!

  3. William White

    Of course harvesting watercress from contaminated creeks and streams as well as poisonous plants that look like it-presents their own challenges. I grow our own in 25 gallon nursery pots from seed every year-with thick stems and bite.

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  4. Island-Life

    I love this soup, it’s actually delicious served warm or cold. Instead of sour cream or heavy cream, as some other recipes suggest; I substitute my homemade greek yogurt. It adds a nice tangy flavor. Croutons are also a nice addition as a garnish.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Beth Angell

    This sounds wonderful and I just bought a beautiful bunch of watercress at the farmers market today, so I’m looking forward to trying to make the soup. My question is: Do you use the stems as well as the leaves?

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