Watercress Soup with Potatoes and Peas {Vegan}

If there ever was a way for watercress soup to be sexy, this would be it. Bunches of tender watercress are blended with potatoes, peas, ginger, scallions, and basil to make the perfect early summer soup.

Easy Watercress Soup with Potatoes, Peas, Ginger, and Basil - it's a healthy summer soup that's also gluten free! by @healthynibs

A few months ago, I noticed something a little strange at the farmer’s market. At one of the farmer’s stalls, there was a fish bowl with 2 goldfish inside and some plants floating on top. “What is this?” I asked.

Aquaponic farming. Have you ever heard of it before? It’s pretty cool.

It’s a way of growing crops without soil. The plants are kept on a growing bed that is connected to a large fish tank, and water flows through both units. Fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants help clean the water for the fish to swim in. Besides creating an awesome ecosystem for the plants and the fish, aquaponic farming also uses less water than traditional farming. Pretty sweet, right?

One of the things that this aquaponic farm sells is watercress. Now, the way Mama Lin taught me how to cook watercress was by boiling it in a pot of water with some pork shoulder and seasoning it with some salt. I like it, but it’s definitely an acquired taste and it takes a longer time to make.

I googled a few watercress soup recipes, and landed on this one by David Lebovitz. My goodness, it was SO tasty. I quickly polished off the entire batch of soup in a few sittings and licked the bowl each time. To put my own spin to the recipe, I loaded the soup with ginger, scallions, and basil, which helped to brighten up the flavors. I also used less watercress so that the flavor of the cress would be more muted.

Save up a few bread pieces so that you can mop up all the soup in your bowl! I’ve also dipped my baked tortilla chips into the soup, and that was also scrumptious


  • Variations: David Lebovitz’s recipe calls for a cup of peas. I tried two versions: one with the peas and one with 2 cups of baby spinach. I definitely preferred the version with the peas. The spinach, when blended, added a slightly slimy quality to the soup. I didn’t care so much for that.

Have you heard? I’m leading my first ever meal planning challenge! It’s set to start July 11th. If you’re interested, sign up here!

Serves 5

Watercress Soup with Potatoes and Peas

Adapted from David Lebovitz

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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  • 6 oz (170g) watercress (leaves and tender stems only)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 lb (450g) potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 cups (950ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1 cup (145g) peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves (about 4 to 5 large leaves)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut milk for topping (optional)


  1. Rinse watercress thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced ginger and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  3. Add potatoes, broth, water, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook partially covered for about 10 minutes. The potato cubes should be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Turn off the heat and add watercress, peas, scallions, and basil leaves. Keep stirring until the watercress has wilted. Let everything cool in the pot for 5 minutes before blending with an immersion blender or let everything cool for 10 to 15 minutes before mixing in a blender .
  5. Pour pureed soup back into the pot to reheat. Season with more salt and pepper, and serve with a splash of coconut milk, if desired.
  6. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.


Nutrition Information is for 1/5 of the recipe.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Amount per serving: Calories: 185, Total Fat 7.1g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Sodium: 642mg, Cholesterol: 0mg, Total Carbohydrate: 22g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4.4g, Protein 8.4g


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Easy Watercress Soup with Potatoes, Peas, Ginger, and Basil - it's a healthy summer soup that's also gluten free! by @healthynibs

10 thoughts on “Watercress Soup with Potatoes and Peas {Vegan}

  1. Sarah | Well and Full
    Isn't hydroponic farming so cool? I love learning about sustainable + eco-friendly methods of farming. Eat some watercress, save the planet, right? ;) This soup looks like an absolutely perfect way to use watercress, I love it!
    1. Lisa Lin Post author
      Yes! I know it's all still a bit expensive to run, but I'm excited to see the future of hyroponic/aquaponic farming. Hopefully, it can help alleviate some of the California drought woes!
  2. Zoe
    Love this! You're so right, it is the perfect summer soup and we actually tried this cold. First we have ever heard of Aquaponic farming, we will certainly be looking out for it at our local farmers market :) Cheers for sharing.
  3. Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    I saw some watercress at the market last weekend and I stood there for a moment, pondering what I'd do with it, having never tried it. Now I know! Thank you for this delicious recipe, Lisa! I eat soup year round.. chilled, warm or hot... I need to add this one to my list! Thank you for this!
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