Wild Watercress Soup

Wild Watercress Soup

A cleansing spring soup packed with the nutrient dense watercress, kale and dandelion greens, to stimulate digestion and support the liver.

A seriously nutrient dense soup today kids. But first, I had to laugh at myself this morning – my partner was trying to hustle me out the door early this morning with him to grab a coffee and have a quick stroll along the beach – but I was lost in a fascinating webinar so called back at him ’15 more minutes! I’m listening to the Parasite Summit online!’. Ah, Naturopath life! #nerd.

Anyway. In celebration of ever so slightly warmer temperatures, I thought it time to start sharing some lighter meals. To me, spring is all about re-emerging, and that wonderful feeling of energy that has been so downward and tightly coiled, finally releasing, expanding and spiralling upward and out.

Time for more nature walks, time in the very early morning sun (this is great to help re-set your circadian rhythm), greens, raw and sprouted foods. It’s also time to change methods of food preparation –  from long, slow cooking (of stews, roasts and hearty soups) to lighter methods such as steaming.

Cue this wonderful cleansing spring soup: Wild Watercress, no less.

Wild Watercress Soup: to stimulate digestion and support the liver and gallbladder. Click To Tweet

Wild Watercress Soup

Watercress is abundant at the moment and it just happens to be the number one nutrient dense vegetable on the planet (well, according this 2014 study anyway) – with a perfect score of 100! [1]. Here is a list of the top 20 according to the same study:

  1. Watercress
  2. Chinese cabbage
  3. Chard
  4. Beet greens
  5. Spinach
  6. Chicory
  7. Leaf lettuce
  8. Parsely
  9. Romaine lettuce
  10. Collard greens
  11. Turnip greens
  12. Mustard greens
  13. Endive
  14. Chive
  15. Kale
  16. Dandelion greens
  17. Red pepper
  18. Rocket/arugula
  19. Broccoli
  20. Pumpkin

Wild Watercress Soup

Watercress has a lovely pungent, peppery yet sweet taste, it is a mild diuretic and is energetically cooling. As a bitter green, it helps stimulate the production of gastric acid, enzymes and the secretion of bile from the gallbladder (the body’s endogenous laxative) – qualities shared by the bitter dandelion leaves. Like kale, it is a member of the cruciferous family, its sulfur compounds being incredibly supportive of liver detoxification pathways.

The major nutrients it contains are vitamins K, A, and C, and the minerals calcium and manganese.

The watercress I used in this recipe was pilfered straight from the parent’s vege patch – it was a slightly woodier variety than what is on the supermarket shelf at the moment, so I had to spend a bit of time picking off the leaves.

In the name of variety, I also added a cup of mixed greens to the soup – kale and dandelion leaves from my wildly overgrown garden. Fennel, leek, celery, garlic and shallots add flavour, a potato to thicken, and a generous cup of peas to add some quality plant protein.

If you’d like to add a more herbal touch – I suggest a few tablespoons of dried nettle leaves – I keep a jar on the bench top to make tea with, but often add a sprinkle to soups or stews as they cook. Nettle adds valuable minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium.

Wild Watercress SoupWild Watercress Soup

I loved the end result – light but flavoursome – and I couldn’t help but feel healthier after a big mug of something that bright green!

I hope you enjoy!

PS: I’m speaking on a panel about work life balance at the Be Pure Live Well Festival next month – the festival will be a whole weekend jam-packed with healthy food, fitness, nutrition and wellbeing, more on that soon, but pencil Oct 15-16th in your calendar! 

 
Prep time
Cook time
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A cleansing spring soup packed with the nutrient dense kale and dandelion greens, to stimulate digestion and support the liver.
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups packed watercress (woody stems removed)
  • 1 cup other greens (I used kale, dandelion leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons dried nettle root powder (optional)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 small leek (white part)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3.5 cups vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Prep: rinse greens and remove any tough/woody stems. Rinse peas under hot water if frozen. Finely slice the fennel bulb, leek, celery and shallot. Mince garlic, wash peel and chop the potato.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot then add shallots, fennel and leek, cook till softened. Add garlic, cook another minute, then add peas, potato and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook (covered) for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 mins, remove the lid and add greens, cook for a further five minutes then remove from heat and blend till smooth.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chia seeds and a sprig of fresh watercress

Wild Watercress Soup

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tag me @ascensionkitchen so I can see your creations! 

Reference:
Di Noia, J. (2014). Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables: A nutrient density approach. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11, 130390.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Glucina is a plant-based whole foods Nutritionist, Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She is a passionate advocate for food as medicine. Lauren has also formally trained as a Raw Foods Chef and has a soft spot for raw treats. 

Lauren is available for Natural & Nutritional Medicine consultations here.

  • Barbara Johnston

    Thanks for another nutrient packed recipe Lauren and your lovely write up of how it benefits our body! I really enjoy your recipes and have tried a good number of them; a few are regulars in our diet. I appreciate the time you take in explaining why they are good to eat. In this Wild Watercress Soup recipe I have a question about how this soup affects a body that does not have a gallbladder since it is meant to stimulate the bile and cleanse. Many thanks for your blog! In the spirit of good health. Barbara

    • Hi Barbara, thank you for the kind words, happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes! In your case, bitter greens are going to gently nudge the liver to produce bile (the gallbladder’s role is simply to store it once the liver has produced it). Have fun 🙂