Now that I’m in a culinary craze, I’m finally taking on the few cookbooks I own, the online recipes I’ve Pinned, the Tasty videos I’ve saved, and even attempted traditional South Indian recipes passed on from my family. With this abundance of recipes I had to start somewhere, so I’ve been trying to recommit to my health goals and take some notes from Jolene Hart’s “Eat Pretty”, a book that focuses on supporting wellness and beauty from the inside out by leveraging food’s nutritious qualities to do so.
I stocked my pantry with many of the glow-generating foods she suggests –greens, veggies and whole grains that are already plentiful in my pantry, but some new ones too, particularly the fruits and vegetables flourishing in Spring — green beans, strawberries, and one which I’d seen in a recipe I’d been wanting to try in another cookbook of mine—watercress.
If, like me, you didn’t know what watercress was, it’s an aquatic plant in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale, but its taste, as I learned later after cooking with it, is harsher, more pungent like mustard or radish. According to Hart, watercress can repair DNA damage and is a natural detoxifier. Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, it promotes a healthy complexion, boosts energy levels and its sulfur-containing compounds are associated with lowering the risk of major diseases and cancers, according to Medical News Today. I’m sold!
As Spring finally made an appearance this week with higher temps and sunnier skies, it felt like the perfect time to take the plunge with this super-healthy and light watercress soup recipe I’d been eyeing in my cookbook for years but had never attempted.
Tips to taste
The soup turned out to be delicious! This was the first time I’d even tasted watercress, but the natural flavors of the leaf along with the broth used to make the soup were sufficient, and I didn’t have to add any extra spices as I normally do. In fact, watercress IS so bitter and strong one suggestion I would make is to soften the flavor using yogurt or milk. Most soups call for heavy cream to create a creamier taste or soften harsh flavors, but I have found that using any type of nonfat yogurt works just as well. You could also try nonfat milk or even lite coconut milk. This particular recipe called for creme fraiche to top it off, but here too, I used nonfat greek yogurt instead (to me, greek yogurt is just as creamy and flavorful as sour cream, without the guilt). I didn’t use nutmeg, either.
- 2 bunches watercress
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 8 oz potatoes
- 40 oz vegetable stock or water
- 4 oz creme fraiche, yogurt or sour cream
- Remove the leaves from the stalks of the watercress and keep aside. Chop the stalks
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and mix well with the onion. Add the watercress stalks and the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the head, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potato is soft.
- Add the watercress leaves and stir in to heat through. remove from the heat and use a hand held stick blender or pour into a regular blender to process the soup until smooth. Reheat and season with salt and pepper
- Serve in warm bowls with the creme fraiche spooned on top.