Potage au Cresson (Watercress Soup)


In honor of Joan’s trip to Paris, we’re bringing back this classic French favorite from our archives.  Besides…what says “spring” more than freshly picked watercress?

This Watercress Soup recipe is a low-calorie variation of the classic watercress soup which is made with potatoes rather than zucchini (only 70 calories per serving). It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Home with the French Classics, by Richard Grausman. This is an essential book for any cook’s library, and makes a great shower or engagement gift. It is an intelligent, inspirational and resourceful cookbook for the beginner to advanced cook.

Serves 6


  • watercress-soup1 TBL butter
  • 3 leeks (white part only), washed and diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or prepared
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (I use milk)


1. In a 4-quart pot, heat the butter. Add the leeks and gently saute over medium-low heat until softened, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the zucchini and saute for 2 minutes without browning. Add the stock and simmer until the zucchini is just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Bring the soup to a boil and add the watercress. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute.

4. In a food processor or blender (or make it really easy and use the fantastic Cuisinart SmartStick Hand-Blender), blend the soup until smooth. Season with the salt and pepper. (The soup can be prepared ahead to this point. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. If serving the soup hot, bring back to a simmer before proceeding.)

5. Just before serving, stir in the cream (milk).printfriendly

Garnish with a dollop of low fat sour cream or splurge with crème fraîche.

Variation: Curried Watercress Soup: Reduce the amount of watercress to 1/2 bunch and add 1 TBL curry powder along with the stock in step 2.

Bon Appetit!