Wild Watercress Soup

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

Bright green watercress soup in a rustic ceramic mug with a sprinkle of chia seeds on top

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

Fresh ingredients for an easy watercress soup laid out on a wooden board

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

Mug of watercress soup on a wooden board surrounded by fresh ingredients

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.

Close up of fresh watercress, dandelion, fennel and kale ready to make watercress soupMug of watercress soup with a few dandelion flowers nearby

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! 

Wild Watercress Soup
5 from 1 vote

Wild Watercress Soup

Wild Watercress Soup: a cleansing spring soup packed with the nutrient dense kale and dandelion greens, to stimulate digestion and support the liver.

Course Appetizer, Main, Soup
Cuisine Gluten free, Plant-based, Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 334 kcal
Author Lauren Glucina


  • 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
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3.5 cups vegetable stock


  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.

Nutrition Facts
Wild Watercress Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 320mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 44g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
Sugars 13g
Protein 10g 20%
Calcium 21%
Iron 21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


If you make and enjoy this recipe, please leave a rating!
@ascensionkitchen #ascensionkitchen

 This healthy Watercress Soup is packed full of greens that support the liver. Dairy free, vegan. #watercresssoup #watercresssouprecipe #watercresssouphealthy #watercresssoupvegan #easywatercresssoup #detoxsoup #springsoup  #AscensionKitchen   // Pin to your own inspiration board! //

Di Noia, J. (2014). Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables: A nutrient density approach. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11, 130390.
Watercress soup – the perfect spring cleanse. #DetoxSoup #WatercressSoup #HealthySoup #GreenSoup #VeganSoup #SoupRecipe #AscensionKitchen   // Pin to your own inspiration board! //


Hi I’m Lauren, practising Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Nutritionist, and essential oils educator in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m incredibly passionate about food as medicine, and helping people connect with the healing power of Nature. I’ve been sharing my recipes and health articles here since 2012.

BNatMed, AdDip NutMed, BCS, Certified FitGenes Practitioner.